Paul has good advice for Timothy on pastoring a church.
One of the most important parts of being an effective pastor is having a godly support team. Different churches have different names for them, but in the translation we’re using, the words bishop and deacon are used. Their functions and qualifications differ, but the bottom line is that they must be men of God, as evidenced by having healthy families, no addictions, and wives who are also worthy of respect.
Having been involved closely in the church world for many years, I can attest to the value of having high standards for who is selected for one of these positions. And the difficulty that can arise if one of these men fall down in an area of morality.
Also, if the men are godly, the advise and support they give to the pastor will be trustworthy, allowing him to lead with the confidence that they have his back. Since so few pastors have peers that they can rely on, this team can be of great benefit.
Paul says that the Holy Spirit says that in the end times, believers will desert the Christian faith. Here we go again. Doesn’t that sound like a prophecy for today?
This is happening on at least three fronts, in my estimation.
First, people who profess to be Christians are discounting Biblical teaching when it doesn’t suit them by saying, “I know what it says, but it surely doesn’t mean that.”
The second front is this: Many people are leaving church. They just don’t attend any more. They feel like there is nothing there for them. They think they’ve heard it all, and they’d just rather stay home on Sunday. Paul said in Hebrews 10:25, “We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming.”
Church attendance is a necessary part of the Christian life. If you are feeling bored or like you aren’t getting anything out of it, my suggestion is to ask your pastor how you can get more involved as a volunteer. I guarantee that you’ll begin to feel more connected.
What’s that? You say you’re already doing too much in church? Then maybe you need to ask for a break. Maybe you’re trying to minister from an empty vessel. That can happen, too.
Whatever the case, whether you’re not involved enough or you’re too involved, the answer is not to just up and quit. Whether you know it or not, you need the body, and the body needs you.
The third front on this deserting of believers from the Christian faith is the phenomenon of megachurches being led by preachers who have pretty words to say but nothing having to do with the Gospel. Messages that make you feel good about yourself, but never urge you on to follow Jesus or live a godly life. A life that sometimes involves personal sacrifice and turning away from sin. Jesus said, “Wide is the path to destruction, but narrow is the gate to salvation.”
Listen carefully to your preacher. Does he rely on the Word of God for his messages, or does he just say things that sound good? Test what he says against Scripture. If the two messages don’t agree, which one do you think is wrong?