Hat's Off

By Grant Phillips

I know that I am hard on pastors, probably because I have seen and heard so much from them that is Biblically shallow. For example, one stated just recently in the local newspaper, “Constant change within the world’s culture, technology and fashion demands change for churches if they are going to be relevant.” Now that sounds real pretty, but it is nothing but “politically correct” mishmash.

Now I’m going to throw you a curve ball. Instead of writing about these air-heads, I would like to take my hat off, so to speak, to those faithful men of God who are fulfilling the Master’s call. Many of us, in the articles we write, often write about the tripe that is coming from the pulpits of America, but there are many others we need to thank.

Pastors today have a greater challenge than those who stood behind the pulpits of my youth. If they actually remain true to God’s Word in their service for the Lord, they will take greater risks with their personal well-being than ever before, and it is getting worse on a daily basis.

These dear men of God are looked upon by the world, and even other churches as old school, old fashioned, out of date, ignorant, not with the times, and all the other nonsense that come from Satan’s pantry.

Maybe we need first of all to take a quick look at a pastor’s duties. Just what are they? The pastor’s primary duty is to his flock. He is to feed his flock. He is to feed his flock a well-balance portion of all of God’s Word. He is to guide them in their walk with the Good Shepherd. We could get much more detailed, but this is basically it, his duty as a pastor that is.

From my experience, I see basically three types of pastors or ministers; (1) those who are not of God, (2) those who are of God, but don’t have a clue to their true pastoral duties, and (3) those who are of God, and are actually fulfilling their pastoral duties.

The First Group:
Those who are not of God need to immediately get out of the ministry and get saved, then the Lord will direct them in their proper service for Him.

The Second Group:
This group, those who are of God, but don’t have a clue to their true pastoral duties, surely make up the large majority of groups two and three.

I actually had one tell me several years ago, that he had one duty as a pastor, and that was to get souls saved. That … is … wrong! That would be his responsibility as a Christian.

A pastor actually has a dual role, because he is a Christian and also a pastor. As a Christian, his duty is to spread the Gospel, as it is every Christian’s duty. As a pastor, his duty is that listed in the above paragraph, “feed My sheep”. This is where I see most pastoral failures.

Most sermons coming from the pulpit are directed toward the lost, while the sheep he is supposed to be feeding, sit there with an empty plate and no silverware. I could continue with this in great depth, but the intention of this article is to commend group three. So, I’ll move on.

The Third Group:
Here we have a group of men who are dedicated to preaching/teaching the entirety of God’s Word, preferably exegetically. They fulfill the Master’s call to feed His flock. The flock of this pastor is well fed and maturing in leaps and bounds in their Christian lives … because, they are actually being fed the whole of God’s Word. They are learning through the teaching of God’s Word; what the Lord expects of them, what the Lord is calling them to do in His service, about prophecy past and prophecy future, how to face life’s issues, proper service to the Lord as a family, to grow in their prayer life, how to raise their children, how to put on the whole armor of God, how to recognize what is from God and what is not, and the list just goes on and on. The point is, this flock is being fed, and therefore, it is growing in spiritual maturity. Not so with groups one and two.

These men stand up for the Truth and don’t flinch. They ignore the criticism that comes from the ignorant. They stay true to the course. They veer not from the path. Their lives are spent much in prayer, seeking continued guidance from the Master, their “boss”, the Good Shepherd.

Guess what happens while all this is taking place? The lost get saved! Now why is that? It is because this flock is being so well fed and growing so much in the Lord, that they too are spreading the Gospel of Christ, as they should be. People also get saved, because the Light from this flock shines in a dark world, and some see that Light and want to be in that Light. This is where so many pastors are missing it, but not this third group.

God bless these dear men of God! We need more of them, but unfortunately, they are few in comparison to the other two groups … very few.

Most sermons I hear are very shallow, usually taken from the same few verses, often misinterpreted, usually the same basic sermon with a different title. Not so, this third group.

What a blessing, to have one of those golden moments when you can actually be part of a message that you know the Holy Spirit is guiding. How refreshing! The only thing I have found wrong with these precious moments, is they seem to end too quickly. I guess because they are such rare gems, and hard to find, they don’t seem to last long enough.

We need to keep these dear men of God constantly in our prayers. Satan would love nothing more than to ruin their ministry for the Lord anyway he can. The attacks from Satan sometime hit their mark and take their toll. These warriors of God need the support of the ranks, and our best support is by our prayers on their behalf.

If you are blessed with a pastor from group three, count yourself very fortunate, and offer your support. The majority of Christian people I have spoken to over the years, would love to be in your shoes. It seems the question I hear the most is, “Where can I find a good Bible believing, Bible teaching church?” Well folks, without a pastor from group three leading that flock, you are not going to find it. By the way, I am not saying to follow a person. I am saying to find a pastor who knows and actually fulfills his duty to God, as a pastor.

My hat’s off to you group three.

Grant Phillips