10/22 1 Timothy 3:1

1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.

The words "pastor," "overseer," and "elder" are used interchangeably in Scripture. Though aspiring to be a pastor is a noble task, I have found that most people who ask for the title are unfit to take on the role. In the church, a leader is servant of all. The world often thinks of leaders as those who give orders and are served by others. Biblical leaders are ones who are spiritually mature enough to recognize the example that Jesus set of servant leadership. They serve the Lord first and then the flock, which is the Lord's body.

Paul goes on to list all the qualifications that they should have: 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, managing his household well, obedient children, thought of well by outsiders, and not a recent convert. That is a pretty strict list! Most pastors or elders don't think they measure up to all these requirements, but their honesty about themselves is a sign that they are sober-minded.

Pastors and elders should be chosen because they are already doing the work of serving and teaching the flock, not because they are popular. It is the outward working of their spiritual maturity that is seen by the other elders that suggests they should be considered. Then they should be examined by the elders to see that they meet the qualifications and have sound doctrine. The elders may invite them on a trial basis to pray and seek the Lord's direction with them as an equal. This was the way of the early church. We have strayed from it to our own detriment. The CEO style pastor who hires co-pastors as employees to expand the business of church is behaving in an unbiblical and dangerous way.

Consider: If one man is in charge of everything, who keeps him accountable and asks him the tough questions?