A person almost could go his whole life these days without calling on a pastor. Think of it. If he’s getting marriage, he’ll call a justice of the peace. When he goes through a life crisis, just hire a professional counselor.
Need some weekly inspiration? Just look to TV personalities or pick-me-up books or blogs. If he becomes ill, hope that a hospital staff member will visit and care. If he’s in deep trouble, he’ll just contact an attorney. Finally, when he dies, a licensed funeral director will handle all of his “final needs.”
Yes, society today has outsourced much of what pastors do. I suggest that is a wholly bad thing. Despite these particular functions of the office of the pastor, there is no true substitute to having someone you call “pastor.”
The office of pastor dates all the way back to the early Church. The Bible says, “And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness” (Eph. 4:11-13).
Yes, a counselor can be of great help, but pastors are ministers of the Gospel and speak from the power of God’s Word, which alone can give peace. Sure, you can get a secular wedding, but apart from the Church, a wedding loses its sacred quality and sense of accountability.
Beyond these necessary duties, the pastor does so much more. On my grandmother’s fridge a sign hangs that says, “No one notices all I do until I stop doing it.” That idea applies to pastors. Beyond preaching on Sundays, officiating weddings and funerals, making hospital visits and sharing the Gospel with people who do not know Christ, pastors do so much more.
The office of the pastor was instituted by God for our good (1 Tim. 3). Because of this, I recommend three life actions you can do now to take God up on this gift:
- Find a biblical, godly man at a Bible-believing church (Southern Baptist for example), where there’s a man leading, feeding and caring for the flock that you can call “pastor.”
- Pray for your pastor every day. The devil is walking about like a dangerous lion seeking to devour people, and the pastor is an easy target. Pray that the Lord would protect the pastor and his family.
- Look to the One above the pastor. Even the best pastor is human and temporary. No man lives forever, and no man is without sin. Every good pastor is trying to get you to seek the Lord Jesus Christ with all of your heart, so take his advice and live that way.
If every pastor were to disappear overnight, the world would never be the same. No matter how well-qualified, no other vocation can truly replace the ones we call “pastor,” and we need pastors more than ever today.