Posted by: Pastor | July 4, 2009

A BALANCED CHURCH: THE PULPIT IS THE FULCRUM

A BALANCED CHURCH: THE PULPIT IS THE FULCRUM

Pastor Terry Hagedorn, Calvary Baptist Church, Reedsville, WV

We reject the error of the Nicolaitanes, the Roman Catholic Church, et al, who create a false and pretentious distinction between the people and the pastor. Nevertheless, we recognize that there ARE two sides to the pulpit, literally and figuratively speaking. There is the pastor side and there is the pew side.

As such, the pulpit is like a fulcrum between the pastor and the people. The harmonious workings of any church depends on a proper understanding of this essential balance in the church.

If one were to ask the average church member what he or she expects from a pastor, you might hear: He should be a man who is called by God, who loves people, who knows and preaches the Word of God, who prays, who counsels those in need, who visits the sick and shut-ins, and who performs weddings and funerals, etc….

Though the average church member knows what THEY expect from the pastor, he or she is usually unable to enunciate much of anything that a pastor should rightfully expect FROM the people. (In all fairness–there is probably the same percentage of pastors who do not consider the needs of the church.)

BEHOLD, I will show you great mysteries (to the average church member): 1. How much DOES the pastor earn? 2. What are his expenses? 3. How DOES he live on this income? 4. How IS the pastor to know that: you were in the hospital, someone in your family died in Timbuktu, that you and your spouse were having problems, etc… IF NO ONE TELLS HIM? 5. How DOES the church grass get cut? 6. How DOES the church building get cleaned, maintained, painted, etc…? 7. How IS it SO hard to pastor a church- when it seems that so many know how to be a perfect pastor.

To insure a proper balance in the church, this is what the Bible teaches that a pastor SHOULD expect from the other side of the pulpit:

I. A pastor has the right to expect that the people he pastors should, FIRST OF ALL, pray for him. “Brethren pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you.” II Thess. 3:1. Prayer is essential- without prayer, all is vain. God DOES hear and answer prayer; but, you must pray!

II. Secondly, a pastor has the right to expect that the church should provide for his needs. “The labourer is worthy of his reward.” (I Tim. 5:17-18) Moreover, a church is wise to free up its pastor “to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word.” (Acts 6:4) The results being that, “the Word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied.”(Acts 6:7)

III. Thirdly, the church has the responsibility to practice God’s Word. The pastor should expect that the church he ministers to should, obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account.” (Hebrews 13:17) Also, the church should, “be… doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22) A godly pastor has, “no greater joy than to hear that (his) children walk in truth.” (III John 3)

IV. Fourthly, the pastorate can be a very lonely position. Do not begrudge your pastor any attempt to fellowship with others of like precious faith. Also, sometimes the pastor becomes close friends with one or more church members who share his likes and dislikes (fishing, hunting, golfing, etc…). Please don’t accuse him of showing favoritism or of forming a clique. EVERYONE NEEDS A FRIEND. Even the greatest of God’s servants had an inner circle of close friends. Paul commanded, “Let brotherly love continue.” (Hebrews 13:1) Also, he spoke of Timothy as a trusted friend and confidant. “For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.” (Phil. 2:20) Mark and Luke were also close friends. (II Tim.4:11) Again, EVERYONE NEEDS A FRIEND – EVEN A PASTOR! Pastors, be careful to NOT give the appearance of favoritism, though.

V. Fifthly, the pastor should expect help in promoting the Gospel and the Church. The Great Commission is given to all Christians (Matthew 28:19,20). The pastor’s main job is not soulwinning! It is ministering to the Lord and his people. Pastor, do not leave your first love. The first priority of the Apostles was “to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.” The gift of the pastor is given, “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12) Mature saints will be soulwinners. Soulwinning is the work of the church. Church member, let me ask you, “What kind of church would my church be- if every member WAS JUST LIKE YOU?”

VI. Sixthly, people should praise- express their appreciation to their pastor. “Exhort one another daily…” (Hebrews 3:13) A little bit of encouragement goes along way. There are so many discouragements in the ministry. A hardy “Amen” or “Pastor, we thank the Lord for you”- might just keep a pastor from quitting. The Apostle Paul used praise to express his appreciation for people and churches. Have you ever told your pastor that you appreciate him?

VII. Finally, people should protect their pastor. “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.” (I Tim. 5:19) If he’s godly, then the world, the flesh (carnal people), and the Devil will attack him. (Matthew 5:10-12) “My pastor right or wrong” is loyalty that’s become idolatry. However, support your pastor with your loyalty.

Let’s all remember that the pulpit, like a fulcrum, balances two sides. Dear Church member, remember the pastor’s side. Fellow pastor, remember the church’s side. God will bless a balanced church.

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