“So You’re About to Call a Pastor!” – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13


One of the most important things a church ever does is to call a senior pastor. The decision has far-reaching consequences for all involved . . . and for the kingdom of God.

Sometimes people view a pastor as a spiritual superhero; like one of the Avengers who steps in to do the impossible job and save the planet. But pastors aren’t superheroes. In fact, they are far from perfect. There is no such thing as perfect pastor because there is no such thing as a perfect Christian.

God has designed that churches should be led by pastors.

Pastors are God-called men.

Pastors are men called by God to specific ministry. In his address to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:28, Paul spoke of pastors as men who had been “appointed” by the Holy Spirit.

Pastors are God-gifted men.

A pastor is a man gifted by God to fulfill the work of ministry in a local church. Ephesians 4:11-12.

Pastors are God-given men.

A pastor is a man given by God to the local church. Ephesians 4:11-12: “and he gave some to be . . . pastors and teachers.”

Pastors are God-qualified men.

1 Timothy 3:1-7 lists the spiritual qualifications for a pastor. He must be qualified in matters of character and conduct.

Pastors are God-accountable men.

Hebrews 13:17 reminds us that all pastors must one day give an account to the Chief Shepherd, Jesus, for their work.


Pastors are responsible for 3 things according to 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13:

1) “Labor” – Pastors must work hard to fulfill the ministry God has called them to fulfill.

2) “Lead” – Pastors must lead and manage God’s church.

3) “Instruct” (“Admonish”) – Pastors must preach and teach the Word of God to the people.


Churches are responsible for 3 things with respect to the pastor according to 1 Thess. 5:12-13:

  1. “Recognize” (“Appreciate; Honor”) them. Because of their office in the church.
  2. “Regard highly in love because of their work.” Because of their work in the church.
  3. “Be at peace among yourselves.” To preserve unity within the church.


Notice how Paul speaks of pastors as those who “labor among you and lead you.” They are “among you” in the sense that the ground is level at the foot of the cross. They are people just like you. They too are a part of the fellowship of the church.

But they also “lead you.” They are responsible and accountable to God for the leadership and management of the church. This is the tightrope all pastors walk.

Pray they keep their balance and not fall off!

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3 thoughts on ““So You’re About to Call a Pastor!” – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

  1. Dr.Allen, Thanks for sharing from your heart Sunday Night about the condition of the church (the body of Christ). It truly confirms what I have been saying for quite awhile now to family, friends, and people I have come in contact with who are deeply concerned for the direction that we are headed in.

  2. Gary Friessen in that old best seller, Decision Making and the Will of God, has a chapter on calling pastors. He argues against this idea that pastors are called. Now I will say, I think he does not do justice to Acts 20:28. Nonetheless, I cannot find another Bible verse that clearly shows that the Holy Spirit, that God, is involved in the calling of pastors. To build this pastoral calling doctrine from just one verse in Scripture troubles me a bit. This is especially true since the verse is in Acts. Reading Acts one needs to ask, is the passage descriptive or prescriptive, or both. Since Acts 20:28 seems to stand by itself on this pastor calling doctrine, I could see someone saying that it is just descriptive only.
    Bottom line, I would like to hear more support for this idea that pastors have a call from God. Thanks

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