Quotes about Pastoral_Ministry-Candidating
1. While we will regret setting the bar below the standards of Scripture in recognizing men called to the eldership, we can also in our zeal set it artificially higher than the Scriptures, and fail to recognize that some of the best gifts grow in ministry.
2. Especially remember that “able to teach” (1 Tim. 3:3), with its corollary of being able to “rebuke” (Tit. 1:9, i.e. to use the Scriptures for the ends for which they were given [2 Tim. 3:15-16]) does not specify an arena. Some are “able to teach” who are not suited to regular public preaching.
3. Look for men whose lives exhibit the spirit of, as well as an intellectual grasp of, sound doctrine. Orthodoxy with approachability is a great desideratum in an elder (approachability being the very least that “hospitable” means; Tit. 1:8).
4. Pose the most neglected question—”Do outsiders think well of him?” (1 Tim. 3:7)—and ponder why that question is important.
5. Choose those who are already “among” the flock, and the flock “among” them (1 Pet. 5: 2). Moral, domestic, occupational, didactic qualifications being met, ask, “Does this man love the flock and is he beloved by them?” Commitment to corporate prayer is often a litmus test.
6. Avoid appointing those who would commit to loving the flock if they were asked to be elders. Better by far to have men who love the sheep than men who love being shepherds (the former will become the latter, but not vice-versa).
7. Seek men who are simultaneously gentle but prepared to be courageous, and prepared to suffer if need be—to get in front to protect as well as behind to follow! An elder must be capable of both biblical rebuke and gentle restoration (Gal. 6:2). Quieter men, with quiet hearts, are worth their weight in gold and may astonish us by their wisdom.
8. Ask the question, “Would our church be willing, if need be, to pay this man a stipend to labor among us as an elder?” The answer may tell a great deal about his ministry in the flock and his esteem in their eyes.
9. Consider how well a man’s life echoes the principles of the Lord’s shepherding in Psalm 23.
One of the lessons I’ve learned and re-learned in more than one church is the danger of selecting a man to serve as elder who has a history of protracted, repeated, and/or unresolved conflict. On more than one occasion I have overlooked conflict in a man’s life, reasoning either that it was justified by the circumstances, a function of immaturity that has been outgrown, or foisted upon him as the innocent party. The fact is, however, that even when circumstances or theology vindicate his side of the conflict, a man can still be a quarrelsome man. This may demonstrate itself in a lack of gentleness, a propensity to taking rigid positions when none are required, an inability to lose graciously, or simply an over-love of debate. Whatever the form it takes, quarrelsomeness is a serious impediment to effective service as an elder; unchecked it is a clear disqualification (1 Tim. 3:3).
The best way to identify potential elders is in the normal flow of church life. They are evident by their response to what’s being taught; by their willingness to serve; by the abundance of spiritual fruit in their lives; and by the many ways their giftedness is manifest in the church before they are ever singled out for leadership.
There’s a good and vital reason Paul said, “Lay hands suddenly on no man” (1 Tim. 5:22). The biblical qualifications for elders are all characteristics of godliness and giftedness that must be proven over time. A man may instinctively know how to make a good first impression. He superficially appears to be keen-thinking, knowledgeable, mature, or supremely gifted as a teacher. But he could actually have serious character flaws that would disqualify him from eldership, and these sometimes become plainly evident only through long-term patterns of behavior. It is vital therefore that church leaders “first be proved; then let them use the office” (1 Tim. 3:10).
1. There are many who profess to know Christ who are mistaken. What evidences do you have that you have been given life by God?
2. What does it mean for a person to love God? In what ways do you see true biblical love toward God demonstrated in your life? Do you see true biblical love toward God in the lives of your wife and each of your children?
3. How does your wife feel about your commitment to pastoring?
4. Why do you believe God wants you in the pastorate?
5. Closely examine each of the Bible’s qualifications for pastors and deacons (1 Tim. 3; Titus 1:5-9; Acts 6:1-6; 1 Pet. 5:1-4). Which are you strongest qualities? With which requirements do you have the most trouble? Why do you believe these areas of difficulty do not presently disqualify you from ministering? (Note the phrase “must be” in 1 Tim. 3:2.)
6. A pastor is charged by God to preach to the church and to shepherd the people in a more individual way. Which aspect of the ministry appeals to you the most? What are some specific ways you could be helped to develop your skills in either of these areas?
7. What are your methods for involving yourself in the lives of your people as their shepherd and overseer of their souls?
8. What activities characterize your evangelistic interest? What is your approach to personal evangelism? corporate evangelism?
9. What is your approach to counseling? How do you handle your counseling load?
10. What are your specific and regular practices regarding the spiritual disciplines (e.g., personal prayer, Bible study, meditation, stewardship, learning, etc.)?
11. How would you describe a successful pastor? How would you describe a successful church?
12. How is the pastor held accountable? What relationships in your life currently provide accountability for responsible attitudes and behavior, both personally and as pastor?
13. Who are your favorite Christian writers, commentators, theologians, etc.? Why? What books have you read in the past year?
14. Describe an instance when you made attempts to reform the church in some significant area. What were the results? What did it cost you personally?
15. Describe your leadership style. What have been some weaknesses? Strengths?
16. When you have met with opposition, has it been mostly related to your style of leadership, your personality, your beliefs, or something else?
17. According to your observations, what doctrines need special emphasis in our day?
18. What is true biblical repentance?
19. What is true biblical faith?
20. Explain justification by faith. What is the difference between the Catholic view of justification and the biblical view?
21. Please explain your view of sanctification. What are the various means God uses to sanctify the believer?
22. Can a person have Christ as his Savior without submitting to Him as Lord? Explain.
23. What is your position on the inerrancy of Scripture?
24. Explain the biblical term “baptism of the Spirit.” When does this baptism occur?
25. What are your views on baptism by water?
26. How does the Bible relate the sovereignty of God to salvation?
27. What does the Bible teach about the extent of man’s depravity?
28. What does Christ’s atonement accomplish?
29. What does the Bible teach about the perseverance and preservation of believers?
30. What is the proper use of the Old Testament law?
31. How do you articulate your present view of end-time or eschatological issues?
32. Do you believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin? What is the significance of your belief?
33. What is your interpretation of the biblical teaching on Hell?
34. Do you believe that the events described in Genesis 1-11 are factual or symbolic?
35. What does the Bible teach concerning spiritual gifts? Please delineate your views about prophecy and speaking in tongues.
36. What is your view of divorce and remarriage? How strictly will you follow this view in practice?
37. What is your view of the phrase, “The bishop [pastor] then must be…the husband of one wife” (1 Tim. 3:2)?
38. What are your requirements for performing a marriage ceremony?
39. Please explain your views on church discipline. Relate any personal experience.
40. How would you handle a case of scandal or immorality by a church member?
41. What is your view on abortion?
42. Many children who appear to be converted at an early age show no evidence of knowing Christ later. How do you handle children when they come to you for counsel concerning conversion? What is your advice to parents?
43. What is a useful plan for receiving new members into the church? What are prerequisites?
44. What are your views on styles of church music?
45. Who should direct the worship of the church? Why? Which methods of leading corporate worship are appropriate? Which are inappropriate?
46. What does the Bible teach is the purpose of the church’s weekly gathering?
47. What are your views regarding raising money for various projects within the church? Should the church solicit those outside the church?
48. What are your convictions about the local church and debt?
49. What does the Bible teach about women in pastoral ministry?
50. What does the Bible teach about how churches should make decisions?
51. How should a pastor and his church relate to other churches locally and (if denominational) to the larger body? Do you feel comfortable cooperating with other denominations? Do you draw any lines?
52. What are the biblical responsibilities of elders? Are there any distinctions between elders, pastors, and overseers? If applicable, what distinctions exist between staff and non-staff pastors?
53. What are the biblical responsibilities of deacons? How are deacons and elders to relate?
54. What emphasis do you give to the leadership of fathers with their families, especially in terms of family worship? Do you personally engage in family worship with your wife and children?
55. What is your missionary vision for the church? How are you currently demonstrating missionary interest and involvement? (Jim Elliff and Don Whitney)
It is…tempting to appoint someone who is theologically brilliant and agrees with the doctrinal position of the church. But we need to remember that Paul especially stresses character qualifications for elders (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Tit. 1:5-9). We need elders who are theologically faithful and who live out the gospel in their everyday lives. We must not sacrifice the latter simply because the former is present, for the words of elders must accord with a godly life.