As I continue my series of articles on the topic of “Pastoral leadership – What should it look like?”, I would like to turn to the very important topic of love.
A pastor needs to love the sheep God has giving him! Love for his congregation should be one of the things that fuels him when he visits those that are sick in the hospital, when he talks to those that need counselling, when he prays for them or when he visits them in their homes.
In 1 Corinthians 13 verses 1 to 3, Paul reminds us that “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” This applies also to pastors as they lead their church. If a pastor preaches amazing sermons, baptises many, sacrifices to serve his flock, has incredible faith, has helped his congregation memorize tons of Scripture and knows the Bible inside out but lacks love, then, according to God’s Word, it profits him nothing!
Love for his people should be one thing that motivates a pastor (we will look at other biblical reasons for his motivation in future articles). One motivation that has no place in pastoral ministry is doing it for the paycheque. 1 Timothy 3:3 says specifically that a pastor should not be greedy for money. When a church thinks about finding a new pastor, they need to be careful to make sure that this man will do a good job because he loves people and not because of the monetary gain.
Going back to 1 Corinthians 13, Paul concludes this chapter by saying in verse 13 that love is greater than faith and greater than hope. Churches, when choosing a pastor, often focus on the faith of the man and on his ability to bring hope to people. The apostle Paul points out that love is what matters most! When selecting a pastor, a church needs to make sure that the candidate is a man of love, even more than a man of faith.
What should pastoral leadership look like? Love!