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What to Expect from Your Pastor

1. A full-time effort (if your pastor is engaged full time). It seems unlikely to me that any pastor could do justice to the position in less than 50 hours a week. For me it took longer; for some, it might take less. But to cover the long list of a minister's duties takes time, and lots of it (1 Thessalonians 2:10-12).

2. Your pastor need not be the best preacher in the world, but he or she should never step before an audience unprepared. That takes reading, Bible study, prayer and practice (2 Timothy 4:2).

3. A shepherd should know the sheep and their needs. In other words, the pastor should care for you, be a good listener, full of compassion, and a seeker after wisdom (John 10:14).

4. Your pastor need not "know it all? but must be secure enough to search for answers, even if the answers lie with another pastor (Proverbs 4:10-12).

5. Your pastor needs to be a person of faith and prayer. A prayerless pastor is a powerless pastor (Matthew 17:20-22).

6. Your pastor should be a person of courage, willing to confront evil and injustice. A cowardly pastor is not in close fellowship with the Lord. Pastoring is not for the faint of heart (2 Timothy 1:7; Joshua 1:9).

7. Your pastor and family should be an example to the congregation. No, they do not need to be perfect! The kids need not be the best behaved in the church. The spouse need not head every committee. But they do need to be a family, totally committed to the principles of the Word of God regarding the family unit (Ephesians 5:22-6:4; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9).

8. Your pastor should spend time training and equipping others to assist in the ministry of pastoral care. We are not all called to be evangelists, but we all are expected to know how to share our faith. Your pastor must prepare you for the responsibilities of lay ministry by helping you find your gifts (2 Timothy 2:2).

9. Your pastor should teach the value of Christian stewardship. If you grasp the significance of tithing your time, talent and treasure, it will not only open up God's special resources for you and your family, but it will also ensure the blessing of God upon your congregation. He promised to pour His blessings upon you (Malachi 3:1-10; 1 Corinthians 9:6-8) in response to your stewardship.

10. Your pastor must be a person of integrity. There should be no hint of immorality (Ephesians 5:3-5).

11. You should expect your pastor to be vulnerable and transparent, willing to admit when mistakes have been made, and committed to continued growth in every aspect (Psalms 139:23, 24).

12. Most important of all, your pastor must be committed to personal holiness. So many clergy are successful by the world's standards but woefully lacking when it comes to a relationship with God (Psalms 51:10-12; Romans 3:22).

"Pastors at Risk,? by H. B. London Jr., with Dean Merrill, Focus on the Family, (Colorado Springs, CO, 1994), pp. 9-10.

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