What Pastors Must Be (Character & Skills), Titus 1:8-9

What the Pastor Must Be

Nine Ways to Pray for your Pastor

What are you looking for in your pastor? What do you want him to be?  What do you pray that I am?  Here is your guide for how to pray for me as your pastor.  Here is your guide in what to expect of me as your pastor.

The Pastor’s Character

We are going to cover 9 ways to pray for the pastor. We will see these 9 fall into 2 categories.  The first six points have to do with character.  The last 3 have to do with necessary skills the pastor must have.  First of all there are 6 points of character to pray for.

#1: Hospitable

First of all the pastor must be hospitable.  Arnold Glasow said, “Some folks make you feel at home. Others make you wish you were.”

A guest of the Marriott hotel discovered that her sister had just died.  She was upset and share her sadness with a hotel employee.  The employee, named Charles, took a sympathy card to the staff and had them all sign it.  He gave it to her with a piece of hot apple pie.  The guest wrote a letter of thanks to the President of the hotel chain.  She wrote, “Mr. Marriott, I’ll never meet you.  And I don’t need to meet you.  Because I met Charles.  I know what you stand for.  I want to assure you that as long as I live, I will stay at your hotels.”

Pastors need to be hospitable. The Greek word literally means “lover of strangers”.  Romans 12:13 speaks to all believers when it says, “Share with God’s people who are in need, practice hospitality.”  Hebrews 13:1-2 makes a fascinating statement, “Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”

Being hospitable, a lover of strangers means someone had a fondness, or a soft-spot for hosting and caring for others in their own home. I think the fact that the Greek word means lover of strangers conveys someone who is always ready to open their home to anyone who comes their way.  Hospitality is the opportunity to share your home, your food, your resources with someone else.  In a small way it meant having folks over for dinner and fellowship, but, in that day it was a vital part of the spreading of the Gospel.  With the intense persecution of Christianity many Christians ended up homeless; Hebrews 10:34 says, “You joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.”  It became practical then for believers to shelter each other whenever and wherever possible.  A pastor no doubt needed to be someone who in shepherding other believers would take them under his own roof if they were in need.  While we don’t have those circumstances in West Michigan today, the spirit of hospitality and the attitude needs to be there.  You can tell.

#2: Loves what is good 

Secondly, the pastor must be someone who loves what is good. Verse 8 says, “Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good…”  But the clear implication here is that there is evil and there is good and the man of God must characteristically be attracted to what is intrinsically good.  Why? First of all because the man of God loves what God loves.  God loves what is good and hates what is evil.  SOURCE.  And so, as a man of God becomes more godly his desire for good increases.  But secondly, the man of God hates evil and loves Good because He loves God – and God alone is good.  The more you love God, the more you realize He is good, and the more you love all that is good.

There is good and there is evil. Satan’s goal to get society to call good evil and evil good starts by getting society to call everything neutral.  There aren’t things that are intrinsically good, and, there aren’t things intrinsically evil.

All that is good is a reflection somehow of God’s infinite goodness shining through the created goodness of the creation. A sunset is good because it shows the power, wisdom, beauty, loveliness and goodness of God.  If he does he will think on what is good (Php. 4:9) and will personally be conforming to what is good. Furthermore, his passion for what is good will cause him to passionately hate what is evil, as Romans 12:9 implies, “Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.”  He won’t be the kind of guy who is indifferent towards it, or is unaffected by it.  He is moved with righteous anger in the face of evil to respond to it for the sake of goodness.  But what is good?  Whatever is good is so because it reflects God who is Himself good.  Jesus said that only God is good – no one else.  That means He is all by himself good it is something made by God and accurately reflects Him as the Creator.  PICTURE:  Psalms???

#3: Self-Controlled

The pastor must be hospitable, a lover of all that is good, and thirdly, he must be self-controlled. Notice verse 8 again, “Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled…”  The word self-controlled is sometimes translated as “sensible” or “temperate” or “sober”.  The Greek word is “sophron” and it drives home the picture of a man who is in control of himself – his mouth, his mind, his emotions.

Illustration:  British statesman Edmund Burke argued, “men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there is without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

I like what John MacArthur says here: “The sensible man is in control of his mind.  He has control of the things he thinks about and does.  He does not allow circumstances or the foolishness of others to distract him and gain his attention and interest.  He not only does not become involved in things that are outright immoral and unspiritual but also avoids things that are trivial, foolish, and unproductive.  He knows his priorities and is devoted to them.”  PICTURE:  Jesus Christ kept Himself under control when on trial.

#4: Upright

Fourthly, the pastor must be upright.  This word is often translated as “just”.  The pastor must be just-IN.  J  It is also often translated as “righteous”.  It’s a Greek word meaning that something is proper, fitting, appropriate, or right.  If a pastor is just it means that he is fair.  He gives to others what is due to them.  He doesn’t deprive anyone of what is due to them, and he doesn’t unfairly give to others what they shouldn’t receive from him.  Morally equal.  Pharisees woman in adultery John 8:1-11.

#5: Holy

Closely related is the word “holy”, which the pastor must be.  Sometimes it is translated as devout, or pious.  But what does that mean?  He is set apart to God in in the purpose of his life – he sets himself apart by an act of his will and determination to obey God’s will for his life.

#6: Disciplined

The pastor must be disciplined.  He must be master of himself.  This is closely associated with self-control mentioned earlier, but, it differs in the sense of the way the pastor orders his life.  How does he manage his time?  His priorities?

The Pastor’s Skills (v9)


#1: Knows the Word

The pre-eminent skill the pastor must possess is knowledge of the word of God.  He’s a steward of God’s people, and a steward of God’s Word.  These words are not his own, but God’s.  Second Timothy 1:13 says, “What you have heard from me keep as the pattern of sound teaching…”  He is responsible for knowing the word and correctly handling it, 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed but who correctly handles the word of truth.”  A pastor who neglects the word of God in his ministry to others – preaching, teaching, etc. – is as bad as a parent who starves his children.  It is a malicious thing to the people of God to give them something other than the pure milk and meat of God’s word.  He must know the word, and build his ministry on the word of God.

#2 Encourager

Secondly, a pastor has to be able to encourage others using the word of God.  Not humanistic, cliché phrases that often lack the substance of hope.  He must be a Barnabus, warming the cold soul at the hearth of sound doctrine and shining the light of God’s word into people’s darkness.  He must give others who are discouraged eyes to see their circumstances with the glasses of God’s promises.  When you are on the stormy waters walk to you on the waters with the word of God to calm the storm within you. Mourn with you when you mourn.  Rejoice with you when you rejoice (Rom. 12:13-14).  Reset your eyes on Christ above (Col. 3:1-3).  Point you to the joy set before you beyond your trials (Heb. 12:1-3).  Come alongside you.

#3 Refutes false teachings

Titus 1:10-16, 1 Timothy 1:3; 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 4:1-3; Jude 3-4; When the lions, wolves and bears of false teachers start stalking the flock, like David the Shepherd turned king he needs to go out and meet them, fight the good fight against them to protect the flock of the Lord, keeping each lamb safe, and well fed on the pure diet of the word of God.  A grossly negligent shepherd is he who whistles out in the pasture and acts as though wolves are of no concern to him or those entrusted to him.  The unity, strength, growth, and usefulness of the flock are entirely dependent on the purity of the teaching they receive.  Paul said false teachings “spread like gangrene” (2 Tim. 2:17), corrupting those who listen, reversing any growth they’ve had and making them obsolete in the hand of the Lord.  False teachings are the most dangerous threat to the Church of Jesus Christ.  The pastor is the front line against it, wielding the sword of truth.


Will you pray for me? Will you pray these things for me?  Will you pray that I am:  Hospitable, love what is good, self-controlled, upright, holy, disciplined, am true to God’s Word, and that I skillfully use God’s Word to encourage and refute false teachers?  Will you pray these things for me?

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