1 Timothy

Selecting Pastors The New Testament Way

Selecting Pastors

How do most churches go about selecting pastors? In the vast majority of cases the church forms some sort of search committee which manages the effort to find and screen pastor candidates. At a high level, the process differs little from a business’s Human Resources department which attempts to attract talented individuals who can contribute positively to the organization.

In most instances, the pastor search team evaluates the ministry resumes of complete strangers. They may get a good lead through a mutual contact who has given the candidate a good reference, but for the most part the church and the pastor candidate have no familiarity with each other. Like interviewing for a secular job in the business world, it is very difficult to gauge a person’s fitness for the role based on a few brief face to face meetings.

In essence, the church ends up hiring a stranger who interviewed well. Everyone prays that the new pastor will end up being a good fit who will help the church to grow spiritually. How does this method of selecting pastors align with the way the New Testament says we should do it? 

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in 1 Timothy, Church, Church Leadership

Holding Pastors Accountable

Holding Pastors Accountable

The church often seems to have a reluctance for holding pastors accountable. Yet, in 1 Timothy 5:19-21 we have a very clear command to rebuke pastors who persist in sin:

19 Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. 21 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. (1 Tim. 5:19–21 ESV)

This is perhaps one of the most neglected and disobeyed commands in the New Testament. There are many reasons why a congregation may be slow to rebuke their pastor. For one, rebuking anyone is a very unpleasant task. We hope that someone else in the church will take responsibility for this, but often no one will. We just hope the problem will resolve on its own.

Another issue that results in an unwillingness to rebuke a sinning pastor that “laypeople” are reluctant to hold overseers/elders/pastors accountable since the “clergy” are perceived to hold a special status in the church. Many people think the pastor has a connection to God that laypeople lack. In reality, the categories of clergy and laity are not a New Testament concept. The New Testament does not teach a clergy/laity distinction in the church!

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in 1 Timothy, Church, Church Leadership

Accusations Against Pastors


How should the church handle accusations against elders (pastors)? Paul wrote the following to Timothy: 

Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. (1 Tim. 5:19 ESV)

Seems clear enough, right? Obviously this verse is meant to protect pastors from baseless accusations and it follows the Old Testament precept of requiring multiple witnesses to bring a charge (Deut 17:6, 19:15). This seems cut and dry, but it leaves us with some serious questions.

What are we supposed to do when someone accuses a pastor of a serious offense, or even a crime, and there was only one witness? If we apply 1 Timothy 5:19 literally, not only could a church take no action, but they also wouldn’t even be able to hear the accusation. Paul seems to be saying that the charge cannot even be leveled against an elder unless there are multiple witnesses. 

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in 1 Timothy, Church, Church Leadership

Elders Who Are Good Leaders

Good Leaders
Oxen treading out grain. Photo: BiblePlaces.com

“The elders who are good leaders are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching” (1 Tim. 5:17 CSB).

There is a lot of information contained in this verse. For example, it necessarily implies that not all elders are good leaders. If the ones who are good leaders are worthy of double honor, this means there are some who are not worthy because they aren’t good leaders. In addition, double honor, as v. 18 reveals, means that the elders who are good leaders deserve financial compensation for their work. Further, there are some elders who teach and preach. This suggests that there are some elders who do not preach.

What is meant by elder? As I have pointed out elsewhere, elder is a term the New Testament uses interchangeably with the descriptions overseer, shepherd, pastor, and steward. In short, an elder is a pastor. 

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in 1 Timothy, Church Leadership, Money

People The Church Must Refuse To Help

Refuse To Help

It goes against modern Western sensibilities to say that there are some people the church must refuse to help. People often view the church as an aid organization that anyone and everyone should be able to turn to when they are down on their luck. Nevertheless, the New Testament says otherwise. There are some people the church has no biblical authority to help.

11 But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry 12 and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. (1 Tim. 5:11–12 ESV)

In the passage where Paul gave instructions to the Ephesian church to care for widows who had no one to help them, he also said the church must refuse to help other widows! This certainly goes against the grain of modern thinking. Even many Christians tend to think of the church as a glorified Red Cross. Regardless, it is not scriptural to help those who have the means to help themselves.

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in 1 Timothy, Church