The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil (1 Timothy 3:1-7).
Paul identified a couple of qualifications for the pastor with regards to his relationship to others. First, the pastor must be respectable. His outward life is a reflection of his inner stability. Two important questions to consider: (1) Is this a person you want to be like? (2) Is this someone you want to follow?
Second, the pastor must be hospitable. This means that they welcome strangers, especially non-Christians. This doesn’t mean that I want you all can come over after church next Sunday afternoon for pie and coffee!
The concept here is hospitality. Let me tell you this. When Christians hang out together, we call it fellowship. When Christians hang out with non-Christians we call it hospitality. It’s the welcoming of a stranger. This is evangelism. A lot of good Bible churches don’t consider that their pastor needs to be an evangelist. They think that he needs to love people and teach the Bible and drop by and have coffee or tea. Now, really, do you want the guy who yells at you for a living come over to your house once or twice a month?
Third, the pastor cannot be a hothead. Paul said, “not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome.” He cannot be one looking for a fight. He is a man of peace. The pastor must control his temper and take the good with the bad, the smart with the stupid, and the ups with the downs!
Some people just like to fight; they like to be the devil’s advocate. Those who are like that are just divisive. I’ve worked with someone like that. However, that kind of guy is not fit for leadership in the church. If we had someone on our pastoral staff right now, we would not get anywhere. We would just argue. There would be no gentleness, no kindness, no unanimity, no consensus – just arguing. But we work together – we pray together – we are like-minded on our pastoral team.
Fourth, the pastor must have a good reputation with outsiders. He must be a man who is known for his love for the Lord, for his love for his wife and his kids. He should be known for his teaching of the Word. That he’s a decent guy who loves the Lord, and it shows in all he does. He’s got his stuff in order. He’s respectable. He’s the kind of guy that we want to be like or we’d like our sons to be like, or we’d like our daughters to marry.
Because of Jesus,