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11 Pastors You Need to Know

NOTE: This article originally appeared here on Scott Postma’s blog.

Recently, I wrote a post titled 10 Pastor’s I’m Concerned About.

It definitely touched a nerve.

I wouldn’t say it went viral, but it made a few laps around the blogosphere to say the least.

One of the questions that surfaced repeatedly in the comments was what I thought a pastor should be like—one I wasn’t concerned about.

I pondered this for a time, and meditated on the Scriptures, because I didn’t want to just repeat what I had already written. What I came up with is, I believe, a healthy list of traits, characteristics and philosophies of pastoral ministry. At the very least, they are ones that encourage me.

I didn’t focus on the biblical or otherwise denominational qualifications as those are the focus for another kind of post. Rather, I focused on the ideals I would look for in a pastor—ones I felt I should strive for in the pastorate.

These ideals serve as guardrails for my own personal growth, but perhaps they will also serve the request of some to share what kind of pastors I’m not concerned about.

And just to forewarn you, this is a blog post and not a theological journal. Of course there will be some broad-brushed generalizations. And, there will be what seem to be false dichotomies because there is not room to explore every nuance. Consider these talking points, launching pads for further discussion.

Oh! And because I’m the author of the post, and I’m a male, I will be using male pronouns (a modern writing standard that suggests using the pronoun associated with the author’s gender).

So, without further ado, here are 11 traits of pastors that encourage me.

1. I’m encouraged by the pastor who sees church planting as the mission of the church.

The mission of the church is making disciples of Jesus, and I’m encouraged by the pastor who sees congregations, not just converts, as part of ministry.

There is good research—and 2,000 years of experience in church history—that suggests meaningful discipleship takes place in younger, smaller churches where the mission of the Great Commission is the central focus. Of course, “smaller” is subjective, but according to the experts and historians, 150-200 congregants offer the most intimacy and efficiency, simultaneously, for rich meaningful discipleship among believers.

2. I’m encouraged by the pastor who loves the people he serves.

When the pastor genuinely loves the people he serves and sees their pains as his pains and their celebrations as his celebrations, their struggles as his struggles, he will do the most good in the world.

This is, no doubt, the most taxing part of the ministry, but I believe it’s this sort of meaningful relationship that gives the pastor permission to speak plainly with the people he serves. It opens the door to teach and speak truth into the lives of those he loves.

And he won’t have these kinds of relationships with people if he is gunning for the next step in his ministry career.