Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
These verses outline for the church (for our consideration the “multi-generational” church) four traits to observe in their pastor:
Character – Family – Competence – Reputation
Character: above reproach, not a womanizer, calm and cool, respectable, hospitable, sober, gentle, kind, not a money hungry fool, and not a brand new believer.
Family: devoted solely to his wife in all areas and in control of his kids.
Competence: able to teach and solid manager of people.
Reputation: has a good relationship with “outsiders.” Unchurched people know him and like him.
There is MUCH here we could dissect and discuss. But think about this last trait for a second and what Paul says about it in verse 7. Paul says pastors must be well thought of by those on the outside. Why? So he won’t fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
This is huge. . . So important. Critical.
What does Satan want? Lost people (“outsiders”) to stay lost. If pastors are well thought of by lost people, what does that say about his ministry? His preaching? His spirit around those who don’t go to church? I find it very interesting that Paul doesn’t say the pastor has to remain well thought of by all in the church, but by those outside the church. One doesn’t have to look very far into the life of Jesus to see why this is the case. Who did Jesus get the most angry with? Church people. And who seemed to love Him the most? Lost people. Why? It seems that many of the churched people forgot what it was all about. And it seems that Jesus had a spirit (“the” Spirit!) about Him that helped lost people know that sin was killing them. He loved them too much to let them continue in sin without lovingly be confronted with truth – to set them free.
Think about it: if a pastor is NOT thought well of by outsiders, then more than likely his ministry is marked more by legalism and arrogance than by love, truth, and grace. It doesn’t mean the pastor is to compromise and welcome everybody as church members. There is a reason Paul still calls them “outsiders.” But it does mean that the man leading the church should do so with both grace and truth. With love and holiness. With right doctrine and right devotion.
Satan would LOVE it if the outside world hated the pastor and the church. But he would HATE it if the truth of the Gospel was proclaimed with zeal and love and fervor and grace and urgency. “Outsiders” may not yet see why we believe what we believe, but they sure do know love when they see it.
Remember, being well thought of by outsiders is a GOOD thing and a mark that his ministry is despised by the evil one.
Please, please, please – pray for your pastor.