As a railroad crew transport driver, I need one thing from my pastor. That one thing is for him to be like Apollos…mighty in the Scriptures (Acts 18:24).
As a former captive to sin and Satan (Rom 6:6), my fleshly mind struggles with my default to the things of the world (Rom 7; 1 Jn 2:15–17). The renewing of my mind into the mind of Christ is an ongoing work of the Spirit of Christ (Jn 14:26; Rom 12:2; 1 Cor 2:16), who teaches me the true knowledge of Christ through my pastor (Col 2:2; 3:10), who knows the Word and faithfully preaches it to our local church.
In the world, good shepherds, who love their sheep, will find and prepare the best tablelands, producing the best grass. That good shepherd will then safely lead his sheep to that place of plenty. This is a beautiful picture that illustrates pastoral care in the Bible (Ps 23; Is 40:11; Jn 10; 1 Pet 5:1–5).
A number of years ago, I met a married couple who sold everything they possessed in Alpena, Michigan, to move to Columbia, South Carolina, for one purpose — to sit under the teaching ministry of Sinclair Ferguson. I was humbled by their hunger for the Word of God, and their willingness to sacrifice much to be in a place they knew they were doctrinally safe and fed in abundance.
I must confess; I am feasting on God’s Word from the pulpit like never before, having moved to Spokane, Washington, in 2017. Why? By the grace of God, He led us first to a tiny church family, pastored by a man of God (Acts 14:15) who loved exegesis of the Greek and theology. After a few years, we then moved to a larger church with a trio of excellent expositors. What makes our experience special is their daily dedication to saturating their minds with the Bible and doctrine.
In my estimation, simple congregations with few or no programs are best. Every Christian should have one or more men of God he calls, “pastor,” who will feed him spiritually each week. The honest pastor often confesses that he does not know how to pastor the flock because of his own flaws, so he is wise to simply feed and protect the flock entrusted to him with God’s Word (Jn 21:15–17). Glory! That is what mature believers want from a pastor.
A preacher’s knowledge of God should be evident (2 Cor 11:6), and this is because He actually preaches the Word of the Lord (1 Pet 1:25). Once you have sat under such a man of God, you can no longer tolerate a diet of cotton candy, in giant carnival tents, led by the circus masters committed to entertaining goats with fodder.
A pastor is entrusted with the unfathomable riches of Christ (Eph 3:8), which alone is the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16). In other words, a pastor has the keys to the kingdom of God, and may it never be that he does anything but unlock the mysteries of Christ, in the Gospel, for the souls of the flock gathered to him (Col 4:3).
Pastors must be preachers, and faithful preachers are the best pastors. Each of my pastors is eager to preach the Gospel to us (Rom 1:15), having been entrusted with it (1Thess 2:4), being made a minister (Col 1:23), who preaches Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor 2:2), along with Jesus and the resurrection (Acts 17:18).
One thing I know: my pastors would experience woe, if they did not preach the Gospel (1 Cor 9:16), being fervent in Spirit (Acts 18:25) to boldly proclaim the kingdom of God (Acts 28:31), and to call all men to repentance and faith (Mk 6:12; Acts 5:31; 11:18).
I know my pastors love me because they preach and teach me the truth that is in Jesus Christ (Eph 4:15).
Behold the man (or men) appointed to know God’s will (Acts 22:14), the faithful steward of the Gospel of grace (Acts 20:24), pleasing to God (1 Thess 2:4), offering a ministry of conviction and exhortation (2 Tim 4:2), sent with beautiful feet (Rom 10:15) to bring glad tidings of great joy to our local church.
And I love the fact that their libraries are robust. The bulk of each pastor’s friends reside with him there on the shelves around his desk. A few times a week, after consulting with his aged friends from days gone by, one of my pastors emerges from his war room to declare the whole purpose of God to us (Acts 20:27). In this, he, nay, they make me glad. Each man of God is surrounded by men of God — living and dead.
I am in a good place, and my hope, dear reader, is that you are too. Find that man of God who provides the one thing you really need if you are not now sitting under or him…or them.
Spokane Valley, Washington
March 2, 2022