Friday, March 9, 2012

What to look for in your next pastor

I call John the Baptist the anti-seeker-sensitive preacher. He is not a mainstream preacher but lives on the edges of society, preaching a plain, direct message to all who will hear.

John's lifestyle

His home is in the wilderness: a dry, deserted place haunted by wild animals and demonic spirits.

You can tell from his clothing that he does not shop at Brooks Brothers; his cuisine is rather strange. When was the last time you tried to survive on locust and wild honey?

John's Preaching style
And then his message was not heart warming, sentimental or therapeutic preaching. It was politically incorrect: repent of your sins and turn to God. Why? The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:1-3)

When the religious leaders showed up to hear him, he blasted them: But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Matthew 3:7

John's qualifications
John was not a self-appointed preacher. He was appointed by God. He had no degrees from any college or accredited seminary. He was accredited by God. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah predicted his coming. He is a voice shouting in the wilderness: prepare for the Lord’s coming. Isaiah 40:3

I wonder how many churches today would hire this kind of preacher who made smug, religious people squirm and who courageously challenged political leaders to be morally responsible? Hardly anyone would hire John. And yet this is the kind of preacher that our society needs today.

What to look for in a pastor (by no means a definitive list!)
If your church is looking for a teaching pastor, look for someone who loves God more than self.

Look for someone who loves God’s word more than the praises of people.

Look for someone who believes in the power of God’s word to change human hearts.

Look for someone who cannot be intimidated, or bought, and who is willing die for the sake of the gospel. 
Look for someone who loves people and longs to see them come to Christ

Look for someone who personally hates sin in his/her life

Look for someone who wants to build a great church for the glory of God!
Look for someone with the heart of a shepherd; who will protect God's people from wolves and false teachers.