God’s people deserve their pastors to be the best they can possibly be, with the resources of brain and character he’s given them.

There are qualities a pastor is expected to have to successfully build a great church.

A great pastor will be:

1. Caring
My college principal used to say, ‘Your people will forgive any number of bad sermons, but they will never forgive you if you don’t visit them when they’re ill.’ One of the tasks of the pastor is to minister to the sick and dying. It’s sometimes really hard, because you feel you have nothing to offer, but God does more through you than you realise. And it’s not just in the crisis times, either; good pastors are aware of people’s needs and involved in their lives.

2. Studious
Not everyone’s a natural scholar, but pastors should be readers. They should read commentaries to deepen their Bible knowledge, and books of theology and spirituality by writers they trust to feed their minds and spirits.

3. A communicator
The teaching office is key to a pastor’s role. For many, this means preaching Sunday by Sunday. Most churches have sermons, whether they last five minutes or over an hour. And while genuine pulpit wizards are few and far between, every preacher can bring something to the task. Honest answers to the three questions: what does the text say? What does it mean? And what does it mean to me? can make any sermon worth hearing.

4. Disciplined
It’s a strange role, in that so much of what the pastor does is about things that don’t look like work. Sitting in someone’s armchair drinking tea, or reading a book, or spending time on Facebook, can all be ministry. They can also be self-indulgence. Great pastors structure their day while leaving room for God’s surprises. They don’t work themselves into the ground, but they are productive and effective too.

5. Prayerful
Nothing a pastor does is worth doing unless it’s backed up with prayer. The vertical relationship with God is vital to the horizontal relationship with God’s people. A pastor is called to serve a church – but first of all, he or she is called to serve God. When that connection’s broken, so is everything else.

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