Radio Broadcast 28 August 2005

Topic: What is a pastor?

CW – In the course of talking to us about the subject
of morality and ethics last week Dr. Ford gave us some
information about the challenges facing pastors today.
Following up on that I want to put him on the spot
this week and talk about what a real pastor is.

Ford – Some people think all a pastor has to do is
prepare two or three sermons a week and spend a couple
of hours delivering them. As a matter of fact some do
not even go so far as to think about a pastor having
to spend time in sermon preparation at all. They would
be surprised to learn how much time good sermon
preparation takes. But they would be even more
surprised to learn that preaching is but a small part
of a pastor’s duties.

CW – In seminary you drew a distinction between
pastors and preachers. Not everyone called to preach
is called to be a pastor.

Ford – That is right. You have many different kinds of
callings within the preaching ministry. But for a
pastor, preaching is but a small part, an important
part, but a small part of what a pastor is called to

CW – Okay, well now we are all set to hear you explain
what a pastor is.

Ford – The best way to discover what a pastor is would
be to find out what God’s Word has to say about
pastors. For instance, one thing that amazes some
people is when they discover that pastors were not new
in the Christian faith. Israel already had pastors
among her people that gave guidance and direction to
them. One of the things that we find in the Bible is
that the false pastors among the leaders of Israel
were condemned in God’s Word, and that condemnation
was one of the messages transmitted to Israel by the
prophets who themselves often had a pastoral role in
Israel. God does not change His mind about things like
false pastors either. Before the New Testament canon
was finished there had already arisen a problem of men
who were false pastors in the Christian church, and
those who run where God has not called them are also
condemned in the New Testament.

CW – I know there is a lesson in what you have just
said and you want to share it with us.
Ford – You’re right. We can learn two fast lessons
from the study of Scripture references to what I have
just mentioned. The first is that modern pastors share
a function with Old Testament prophets who were both
forth-speakers and fore-speakers. Pastors are supposed
to be forth-speakers, speaking forth the precepts of
God to those charged to their care. The second lesson
is in keeping with that forth-speaking: they should
also mark out those false pastors that come to their
attention and condemn them, calling them by name. 

CW – I find pastors are often reluctant to mark false
pastors by calling them by name. They feel they are
stirring waters that do not make for smooth sailing.
For the sake of our listeners you need to define what
you mean by prophets forth-speaking and fore-speaking.
I am sure there are many who have never heard those
terms before.

Ford – We often think about the prophets as people who
told what was going to happen before it occurred.
Actually that was the smaller part of what they did.
But that is called fore-speaking. Telling what is
going to happen before it happens. 
We have people who are prophecy preachers today,
telling about what the Bible says is going to happen
before it occurs. They are Eschatologists. They have
given themselves to the study of prophecy and share
what they believe they have learned. They may not be
perfect in every detail, but they are accountable to
God, as any other teacher for what they say.
Some people actually claim God has given them the gift
of fore-telling things not already contained in the
Bible. If they are wrong, in even the smallest detail,
according to the Word of God they should be put to
death. I am very suspicious of anyone who says they
have the gift of prophecy, and begin to make wild
claims. I have yet to see one of them be correct all
the time, and according to God’s Word if they are
wrong in any part they are worthy of death.
The office of a pastor has the prophetic gift of
forth-telling, not fore-telling. A forth-teller is a
person who speaks forth as the oracles of God. Much of
such messages are condemnatory. They condemn the false
pastors, false prophets, and false teachings. But more
importantly they will condemn the evil acts they see
going on in the world around them. This has always
gotten pastors into trouble with the world. I would
like to give you an example.

CW – Yes, please do.

Ford – On December third 2002, Pennsylvania Governor
Mark Schweiker signed into law a bill that made
homosexuals a protected class and could cause pastors
in that state who condemn their sin to be jailed. This
is nothing new.
CW – You gave your students in one of the preaching
courses a sermon by Hugh Latimer called “The Sermon of
the Plow.” He did some forth-speaking like you are
talking about in that sermon.

Ford – Yes, and he was burned at the stake in 1555.
His last words to his companion in death Hugh Ridley
was "Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the
man. We shall this day light such a candle by God's
grace in England as I trust shall never be put out!" 
We find legislation being passed all about us to make
sinful behavior a thing protected from the clear voice
of truth. This is nothing we have not seen happen
before. The world never learns to not sin, but the
preachers of God’s word find in the days when the
world protests loudest, Christian pastors have their
finest hours. Things like the attempts to muzzle
pastors through the enactment of laws only give the
real ones an opportunity to shine forth with greater

CW -  You have already made it plain that a pastor’s
job is not an easy one. But I suspect you have a lot
more to say about what a pastor is.

Ford – Yes I do and much of it is not likely to be
popular. When we get down to what a pastor is supposed
to be we find that the revelation of that shakes the
status quo in most of the churches round about. But
everything I have to say I can back up with the Word
of God.

CW – I believe we manage to shake someone up with
every broadcast we make so we might as well get on
with it.

Ford – In the Scripture a pastor is called an overseer
or bishop. He is a person who has oversight. In other
words he runs things. He is characterized as the
undershepherd of that Great Shepherd, the Lord Jesus
Christ. In the church where he is pastor, he takes the
oversight of that church. Everything that goes on
within a church is a spiritual matter, and the pastor
is supposed to exercise oversight over it all. A
shepherd when grazing sheep looks out for where it is
good for sheep to graze and steers them in that
direction. When the pastor or shepherd sees a problem
or danger it is not a matter referred to a committee
of sheep to decide on, the shepherd takes definite
action in determining in what direction the flock
should go.

CW – Sounds like you are saying deacons don’t run the

Ford – Among other things. If deacons are doing their
jobs, they are more like sheepdogs following the
shepherd’s direction. They are not lords over the
church. Concerning the pastor people are admonished to
hear them and obey.
Now I know some have used the Hebrews passage as a
means to wrongly control Christians. This is why
churches should be careful when they get pastors in
the first place. You need godly, God called men to be
your pastors, but when you have them they are to be
obeyed. Hebrews makes it clear the reason: They watch
over the souls of the people in the church as one who
must give account before God.

CW – For our listening audience information, Dr. Ford
is referring to the teaching contained in Hebrews
chapter 13.

Ford – Pastors have a duty to be praying for the
members of their congregation on a regular basis.
Hebrews teaches that pastors must give an account of
the people God has given them to watch over. I can
tell you that it is no fun when you go into the prayer
closet with the intent of communing with God
concerning some matter on your mind and the Lord wants
to talk with you about some particular person in the
church. Most church members have no idea that for real
pastors such accounting is even taking place. They
look at pastors and think they are people who really
have it made, living an easy life. Very often pastors
find themselves having problems with church members
and then when they go to be refreshed in the prayer
closet they find that God is first waiting to do
business with them before He gives them His peace.

CW – If people knew how much work was involved in
pastoral ministry, few would want to be a pastor.

Ford – There are a lot of people who run where God has
not called. The average work week for a real pastor is
76 hours, almost double what most people work. And,
that is just the average. Some weeks a pastor feels
like he has forgotten what sleep is. If he forgets
what prayer is, he is ruined.

CW – There are a lot of people who do get ruined. The
statistics on people leaving the ministry annually is
really amazing.

Ford – Some people leave because they should have
never been in the ministry, so their departure is a
good thing. Others leave because they become
discouraged in the ministry. Some of these spend years
getting back into a spiritual and emotional condition
where they can return to a pastorate. Some are never
able to. And, to be honest with you, for some who
falter the hand of God is removed and they no longer
have the calling to the pastorate upon them.

CW – What is the main reason for pastors leaving the
ministry? Can you give me a list of principle reasons
for pastors quitting?

Ford – The main reason for pastors leaving the
ministry is church members that wear them down and
finally wear them out. I have heard it said on several
occasions about a pastor that he was the greatest
thing in the world for the first two or three years,
and after that he was not available to the members
when they needed him. That is a sign of a pastor that
got wore out before he even had time to really learn
his people. Getting to really know a congregation
takes a pastor about seven years. Most leave for a new
church before they truly learn the people they came to
serve in the old one.
	The second reason is problems within the pastor’s
family. Some of those problems are also related to
church members, but one of the main reasons is the
tremendous demand the pastorate makes on the time of
pastors. Behind that come reasons common to other
people like financial problems. A pastor with a
doctorate is one of the lowest paid doctors around,
but it can take a pastor as long to get to, say a
doctor of theology, as it takes a medical doctor to
earn his degree.
	The third reason in order has to do with spiritual
reasons. One of the great failures of churches is a
failure of the members to uphold their pastors in
prayer. But in the end it is the responsibility of
each minister to keep his own spiritual life alive. In
fact, if he does not do so, he cannot effectively
carry out the duties of a pastor.

CW – We are now well into our program, and we have
learned a lot, but we have not yet fully answered the
question about what a pastor is.

Ford – In Ephesians we are given a picture of pastors
as pastor-teachers. The pastor is supposed to be the
first teacher in the church he leads. He is not only
the undershepherd after the Lord Jesus Christ, he is
the chief teacher. Many pastors fail because there is
a lack of teaching content in their messages, and they
never actually conduct times of teaching where they
instruct the church. 
I have known some otherwise good men, who failed when
they stood before their congregations because all they
ever delivered was salvation messages. While I agree
with many evangelists that a good many churches are
filled with a great many lost people who are merely
religious, feeding a steady diet of “ye must be born
again” will not help these people because they have
already learned to tune that out. And, it will not
build up the body of the born again who want to hear
the words that tell them how then they ought to live.

CW – So pastors are supposed to be leaders and
teachers in addition to preaching the Gospel of
salvation. But we need to form a more complete picture
of what the pastor is.

Ford – Paul gave a wonderful picture of a pastor when
he spoke to the Philippians concerning himself. What
he said was: “Those things which ye have both learned,
and received, and heard, and seen in me, do:…” Paul
recognized that in the ministry, and particularly in
the pastorate, the man of God has a responsibility to
do some teaching; he has to fulfill his
responsibilities while maintaining a good report among
men, so what is heard about the man of God is good,
and finally he has to do some living, so that he is a
living example of what it is he is talking about.

CW -  Paul’s statement comes with a promise too, “and
the God of peace shall be with you.” That is a promise
to the people following a pastor who does such things
that God will be with them.

Ford – That is exactly right. There are great
blessings, most of which are spiritual that comes to
the faithful man of God. He needs those blessings on
this earth, but they are also the kind of things that
last through eternity. The people who do not have such
a man as their pastor cannot receive the blessings of
God’s peace being upon them for following a faithful

CW – So you would say that a man who does not try to
be a living example of the Lord Jesus Christ is a
false pastor?

Ford – At the very least something has happened to
that man to move him away from having God’s plan for
his life fulfilled. When a man is not concerned about
following Christ and is not concerned about the people
he ministers to, the people who have him as their
pastor are in trouble.

CW – So what are some of the things we will see a true
pastor doing?

Ford – The very first thing he does is get to know his
people. That takes time. There are techniques for
doing this, and I cannot go into all that here. Like I
said earlier it takes about seven years to really know
an average congregation. But one of the things a real
pastor does to get to know his people is involve
himself in the life that they live. That requires
visiting them and learning what their concerns are.
	Some people do not like to be visited because they
are afraid their sins will be exposed. People have
been caught living in fornication, and even watching
pornography when the pastor has come to visit. But
that brings up another job of the pastor; confronting
sin in the congregation. A pastor who truly loves his
people cannot ignore their sin. When it becomes known
to him he has to confront it.
	This brings up another job of the pastor. Counseling.
The pastor should be a counselor. Some counseling is
given when the parishioner comes to the pastor for
advice. At other times counseling is given without it
being asked, because the pastor is looking out for
their souls relationship with God. Weak church members
make for a weak and ineffective church.
	One of the hardest jobs is being there for people in
the crisis of their lives. There are all kinds of
crisis situations people have to face. I am not just
speaking about when people die. People get married,
divorced, lose jobs, buy homes, lose homes, get hurt,
all sorts of things that present challenges. The
pastor needs to be there when those things happen.
Sometimes all people need from the pastor is his
friendship and knowledge of his care. But they need to
have it.
	Real pastors are very busy people. They need help
from congregants too. If the people in the
congregation do not tell the pastor what is going on
he might not learn about a need until it is too late.

CW – What about when pastors know there is a problem
and do nothing about it?

Ford – I guess you could call it ministerial
Sometimes some problems need to be approached like the
British Bobbies do trouble. (Bobby is what the Brits
call their policemen) A Bobby might see a fight going
on down the street, so he casually walks down to where
it has gone on. By the time he gets there the two
fighters have wore themselves out, so the Bobby either
gives them a lecture or makes an arrest. The Bobby has
not ignored the problem in the hopes it would go away,
but he has timed his interjection into the problem
where he can do some good.
Other times the pastor needs to take a proactive role.
He needs to get in there right away and shed some
light on the problem. It might make some people mad
for a time, but they will respect his intestinal
fortitude (what we call guts). The one thing that is
sure is that problems unattended grow.
Not a few pastors have allowed problems to grow and
reoccur till finally they are out of their pastorate
wondering what has happened. A lot of pastors move
churches every two or three years on their own
account. As soon as the honeymoon period between
pastor and church is over they move. This way they do
not ever have to face down the problems. They just
leave them and let them grow in the church.

CW – What about when churches are not growing or there
is a turnover in membership?

Ford – This is also a sign of a problem. Especially
when you see people that once were active in the
church become inactive, and even leaving the church,
you know there is some sort of problem that needs
tending to. That is a pastor’s job. 

CW – The more you talk the harder you make being a
real pastor look.

Ford – Being a pastor is both a profession and a
calling. We have not even touched on the Scriptural
qualifications to be a pastor. But the difficulties of
the duty of a pastor is one of the reasons that the
Bible’s outline of qualifications should be rigidly
adhered to. God did not have Paul, who was an Apostle
not a pastor, give the church the requirements to
qualify pastors for nothing.

CW – A lot of people are challenging Paul’s list of
qualifications today.

Ford – But I have not heard anything about God
changing His mind. The people who seek to reinterpret
Paul have had to go so far as to invent a false
history and social structure for the Jewish people to
try to justify their error. No, the qualifications
mean exactly what they say in your King James Bible.

CW – I take it that you are not setting on any
ordination councils for women then?

Ford – It is impossible for a woman to be the husband
of one wife and blameless. God had no female pastors
in the Old Testament, and He has none in the church. I
wrote a book called The Exalted View of Marriage where
I addressed that issue. I got my belief through a
literal understanding of Scripture. Those who hold
such errors have to twist the Word of God.

CW – Thank you Dr. Ford. That certainly has been
instructive. We all have a bigger picture of the work
of a pastor after this broadcast.

CW - I want to follow up and give you some information
on the subject of the Supreme Court taking away
private property rights. We talked about in an earlier
broadcast. I refer to the Kelo case, which established
the power of government to steal personal property for
private gain. 
	The Kelo case came about because the city of New
London, Connecticut seized private homes and land for
the purpose of private development. The Supreme Court
endorsed this theft, and in this confused day and age,
that makes it the de-facto law of the land. 
	And now the politicians, who run the organized
criminal band known as the City of New London, are
charging the victims of this theft "back rent" for
daring to continue to occupy their own property during
the time when their case wound its way to the Supreme
Court. That's right. People who are having their
property stolen from them are being charged rent for
using their property by the very people who are
stealing it from them. 
	It's time to hammer Congress. It's time to demand
that they do something to stop legalized theft. It's
time to demand that they impose stiff penalties for
any government entity that steals private property. An
amendment called Downsize DC's enforcement amendment
to S. 1313 has been proposed. Send your message to
Congress, demanding this action. 
	If we do not stop this the next property taken may be

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