Pastor Training Course
Desiring A Good Work
II Timothy 3:1
A Training Course For Pastors
Lesson 1 – WHAT IS A CHURCH PASTOR?
This is an advanced course for men who desire to be a pastor of a church. Each one taking it should have a good Bible and be able to find the books in it and read it well. You should look up all the passages that I refer to and read them in full. If you have any questions please write them down as you go along and submit them with your answer sheet.
The Position of Pastor
I Peter 5:2, Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.
The flock of God in this verse is the church. The Lord sees His people as sheep that need a shepherd. The people who get saved and become part of your church need to be fed the word of God. The word “pastor” means shepherd. Just as the shepherd takes his sheep to grass and water so the church pastor teaches his church people what the Bible says and what it means. The Bible is spiritual food and water.
Let me review some things about the Bible that you might already know. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew. It was the common spoken language of the people of Israel at that time. Hebrew is really different than English. Not very many English words come from Hebrew, but a lot of our names come from the Bible and are actually Hebrew words. These include: Joseph, Jacob, Isaac, Caleb, Ruth, Deborah, Rachel, Rebecca, Michael, Mary, Elizabeth, John, Johanna, and many more.
The New Testament was written in the Greek language. Greek is very similar to English and about forty percent of the words we use every day are from Greek. This is especially true of technical and medical terms. The Jews were speaking Greek because Alexander the Great had conquered all of that area of the world about three hundred years before Christ was born. At the time Jesus lived, however, the Romans had conquered that area and their language was called Latin. Not only that but the Jews had been refugees, captives, in the land of Babylon (Iraq) about five hundred years before Christ and they had all started speaking Aramaic, the language of the Chaldeans, who ruled Babylon. Hebrew and Aramaic are similar languages and use the same alphabet. Greek has its own alphabet and Latin uses the same letters as English.
Because of all these languages we will often tell you what the original word is in Hebrew or Greek. That is the word that is inspired of God. Then we will tell you how it is used and what it means in English. The Bible is a book with words and Jesus is the Living Word. We all deal with words and language every day. Preaching is dealing with words and explaining them. There is power in knowledge and salvation comes from understanding what Jesus did for us and how to take it for our own. The pastor’s job is to take the Word of God and make it clear to the people: What it says. What it means. How it applies to them. That is what feed the flock means.
I Peter 5:2 instructs the pastor to preach and teach out of an interest in the welfare of his people, not because he is getting paid money. “Filthy lucre” means money. The pastor is to have a real interest in the congregation and their spiritual growth.
Ephesians 4:11, And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. Here we see that pastors are a gift to the church. God enables them to supply what the people need. These men are able to take the Bible and explain what it says, what it means and how it applies to the people of the church. They preach in the services. They teach Sunday School and in Bible studies in homes or whenever and wherever they have opportunity.
The Greek word translated “pastor” here in Ephesians 4:11 is used 18 times in other verses and is translated “shepherd” every other time but this one: look at Matthew 9:39, 26:31; Mark 6:34; Luke 2:8; John 10:2, 11, 12, 14, & 16; and Hebrews 13:20. The passage in John 10 is interesting to us because Jesus is our shepherd, our pastor. I Peter 2:25 also refers to Jesus: For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. Bishop means over-seer. The pastor of the church is the shepherd of God’s sheep. He feeds them, leads them, protects them, and looks after their health.
Not everyone is gifted to be able to do this. Some men are able to give good testimonies and others are able to sing and play instruments, but they may not be able to open the Bible and explain it. The Lord raises up men to serve different func-tions in His church.
I Timothy 3:1, This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. Different terms are used to describe the office and work of a pastor. Even in English we use the words minister and preacher to talk about the pastor of a church. Here in I Timothy 3:1 it uses the word bishop, which means overseer. This is someone who takes the leadership and sees that things get done.
The bishop, overseer, is the same as the elder in I Peter 5:1-4 because the words are used for the same people. The elders which are among you, I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, . . . taking the oversight, . . . It goes on to talk about Jesus: And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Oversight is just the action that an overseer does. Then the word shepherd is used of Jesus. He is the Chief Shepherd, which means that the elders and overseers are the under-shepherds. We carry on His work. He is in charge of us and we are responsible to Him. They are His sheep and we just take care of them for Him.
Just a note here to help you study this subject. When I give you a Bible reference, a verse or group of verses, it is good if you turn there in your own Bible and read the passage for yourself. Look over the verses above it and below it to get the context. Try to understand what the whole section is talking about and to get a feel for the place that the verse has in the overall meaning and argument.
The Old Testament uses the word pastors. Jeremiah 23:1-2, Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! Saith the Lord. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them. This passage is a warning to the ones who were supposed to be taking care of the believers in Israel. The prophets, priests and Levites were to teach the people and lead them to worship the Lord in the temple. They were not doing this and had even turned away to idols them-selves.
These verses illustrate that the word pastor means shepherd and that the believers are God’s sheep. The meanings of words are determined by how the words are used, so whenever we want to understand what a word means we look at verses where it is used and see how it fits in with the rest of the context. Meanings of the English words do not always line up with the meanings of the original Hebrew and Greek that the Bible was written in.
This passage in Jeremiah 23:1-4 also shows us the great importance that God places on the care and feeding of His people. We need to take the responsibility seriously and do the best job we can.
Qualifications for the Office of Pastor
The qualifications for the position of pastor are listed in several places. I Timothy 3:1-7 lists qualifications for the overseer, and verses 8-12 for deacon. A deacon is a minister. Deacon is the actual Greek word. Other places it is translated as servant or minister. A pastor ministers the word of God. That is, he serves it up as food, spiritual food, when he preaches and teaches it. So the pastor should be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach, Not given to much wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; . . . Not a novice, . . . a good report of them which are without.
The difference between an overseer (bishop) and a deacon (minister) seems to be that a deacon (minister) has the primary duty of teaching the word and the overseer is in charge of managing the affairs and taking care of the administration of the church. The offices could overlap in small churches, but in Acts 6:1-4 the apostles wanted the people to choose someone to manage the care of the widows while, he said, we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. “Ministry” is the verb form of the word deacon. So then, it appears that all of the men associated with the work of the church should be free from sinful habits and practices and should look upon all the tasks as spiritual duties. This is especially true of the leaders. Holiness and righteousness should pervade every action, from teaching to serving food, to construction and even driving the vehicles.
Titus 1:6-9 has a list of qualifications similar to I Timothy 3:1-7. It includes blameless, . . . not accused of riot or unruly, . . . not selfwilled, . . . a lover of hospitality, . . . Holding fast the faithful words as he hath been taught. It repeats the admonition to be the husband of one wife. This would seem to rule out men who had several wives at the same time or who had been divorced and re-married.
Examples of Pastors in the New Testament
The first church in Jerusalem had the apostles to serve as their pastors. Acts 13:1 lists other men who ministered at the church in Antioch, around three hundred miles north of Jerusalem. These were: Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen and Saul. Acts 14:23 records how Paul and Barnabas ordained them elders in every church when they were returning from their missionary journey. So the elders were the pastors who cared for the churches. They had the responsibility. The apostle Paul and his co-worker Barnabas went back to their own home church in Antioch, Syria.
Apollos is another man who helped the churches. Look in Acts 18:24-28 where a Christian couple, Aquila and Priscilla took him aside and taught him about Jesus. These two had a church in their home you know (I Corinthians 16:19), but we are not told that Aquila was a pastor. Apollos went on to preach and teach. I Corinthians 3:5, Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed. It does not say he was a pastor, but he “watered” the church and was counted among the ministers.
Timothy was appointed as pastor of the church at Ephesus by Paul. II Timothy 1:3, I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia. The advice he writes to him is to a man who is pastoring a church. Paul had experience at that because he pastored the churches he started until he had trained and appointed other men. On his second missionary journey he had three other men with him that he could leave in charge of the churches while he went on to new areas and these men (Silas, Timothy and Luke) could organize the churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. The principle is set forth in II Timothy 2:2, And the things that thou has heard of me among many witnesses the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. The church depends upon men who make it their business to follow Jesus and take care of His people, the church. We trust that you are one of these men. We will pray for you and give you all the help we can.
The Jewish Christians were exhorted in Hebrews 13:17, Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account. Pastors must answer to God as to how they have fulfilled their responsibilities to their people. They need to have services that meet the needs of the people for worship and Bible study, organizing classes, training and supplying teachers to reach the different age groups, counseling with those who seek biblical advice, leading evangelism efforts, setting the example of life and godliness, comforting the ones in grief, officiating at weddings, funerals, child dedications, praying with ones in need and much, much more. It is certainly a “work” as it says in I Timothy 3:1.
We will be covering all these subjects as you continue with the lessons. Let me point out now, however, that the book of Revelation starts out with three chapters to churches. Jesus is seen walking among the churches, represented by the candlesticks. The stars are the angels of the seven churches (Revelation 1:20). “Angel” is the Greek word and translates into English as messenger. These messengers of the churches seem to me to be the pastors. They are the ones who deliver the message of the gospel, the word of God. These stars are in his right hand in Revelation 1:16. The pastor of the church is so very important that God gives him special attention and protection. He has gifts to use to minister to the congregation. It is such a great privilege.
If you are pastoring a church or if you want to pastor one then trust the Lord to guide you in it. The church is God’s plan and purpose for today and you are in the center of His will. No other endeavor on the face of the earth is as important. Put your all into it and give yourself to it. Study the Bible and meditate on it all the time so that you can minister it well. Never back down and do not get discouraged. Be a good representative of the Creator God.
A Review of the Words for Pastor
- Pastor – means “shepherd” and refers to the action of caring for the sheep, feeding them, leading them; Greek word: poimen
- Minister – means “servant” and has the meaning of serving food, doing household chores and when applied spiritually means preaching and teaching the word of God; Greek word: diakonos
- Elder – refers to the leadership role that comes from being older and more mature than others in the congregation; Greek word: presbuteros
- Overseer – also called a “bishop” in the King James Bible, it refers to the task of managing or doing administration, “over-seeing” a program, activity, or the church in general; Greek word: episkopos Topics Covered In This Course:
- These terms seem to be interchangeable but each refers to a different function of a pastor.
- The Biblical Basis and Qualifications of a Pastor
- Duties of a Pastor
- Preaching and Teaching the Word
- Organization and Leadership
- Doctrine and Defense of the Faith
- Evangelism and Church Growth
- The Pastor As A Role Model
- A Pastor’s Home and Family Life
- Problem Areas for Pastors
- Church Services and Music Ministry
- Baby Dedications
- Missionary Sending and Support
- Fellowship With Other Churches
- Pastoral Counseling
- Working With Youth
- The Children’s Ministry
- Getting Ordained and Licensed
Lesson 1 – Desiring A Good Work
Fill in all the blanks. Answer all the questions. Be sure and read all of the Scripture passages referred to in the lesson.
Who is the “flock of God” ____________________________________
What should a pastor feed his people? _______________________
What language was the Old Testament written in______________
How about the New Testament ______________________
What language do you know mostly from names______________
Why did the Jews speak Aramaic?___________________________
Jesus is the Living ______________
There is ___________________in knowledge.
The pastor takes the Bible and explains what it ______________,
What it _______________ and how it ______________________.
The pastor should not preach just for ________________________.
Who gives pastors to the churches? _______________________.
What does “pastor” really mean? ___________________________
Did you look up the verses that refer to “shepherd”?_________
Who is the shepherd in John 10:14? ________________________
Who is the Bishop in I Peter 2:25? __________________________
What does “bishop” mean? _________________________________
Give four words that all seem to describe the pastor?
In I Peter 5:1-4 what relationship is there between Jesus and us? _________________________________________________________
What does “context” mean? __________________________________
What people were the “pastors” of Jeremiah 23:2?
This passage shows that pastor means ______________
It also shows that we need to take the work caring for our church people very _________________________
Name two places where qualifications of a pastor are listed ______________________________and _________________________
Do you think anyone perfectly meets all these? _____________
“Deacon” is the Greek word usually translated ________________
The difference between a deacon and an overseer is __________
“Ministry” is the __________ form of the word ________________
“Husband of one wife” seems to rule out _____________________
The first church had _________________for pastors.
Antioch had at least ______________ pastors.
Paul and Barnabas ordained _______________ in the churches.
Aquila and Priscilla had a church in _________________________
______________ is named as one of the ministers.
It seems that _________________ pastored at Ephesus.
Where can you find the principle of godly men teaching faithful men who can teach others also? ____________________________
Name at least ten responsibilities of pastors:
To whom will pastors have to give account for the way they pastored their churches? __________________________________
In Revelation who are the stars? _____________________________
Are you pastoring a church now? ____________________________
Do you plan on being a pastor ? _____________________________
What kind of Bible do you use? ______________________________
Can you read well?_______________________________________
How did you get saved?
Please tell us about church work or evangelism you have done. Things such as teaching Sunday School, Youth ministry, tent meetings, tract distribution and so forth.
What questions do you have about the Bible, church ministry, Christian living, other religions, and things like that?
Post Office _____________________________________________
State__________________ ZIP _____________________________
Mail to: Bible Mission to Native Americans
P.O. Box 599
Dallas PA 18612-0599