I once belonged to a church. The pastor was a good man, if a bit on the overbearing side at times. He even personally accompanied me and my wife to our hometown to marry us one Saturday afternoon in June a year or two ago. His wife is one of the most gracious, motherly, and intelligent people you would ever want to meet.
There, indeed, is a lot to admire about this man. He is a very influential man in town, who works for the city. He is heavily involved in the correctional system, particularly interested in getting formerly incarcerated persons to transition back into the world of work. He carries a doctorate degree, but doesn’t use the title “Doctor.” In fact, he’s so down to earth he would rather be addressed by his members as “Pastor” or “Dad.”
But God used a book, “Repositioning Yourself,” by T. D. Jakes, to let me know that he was not exactly MY pastor–at least anymore. For when I would leave his church, I would feel that I was not fully being used to my capacity. I sang in the choir week after week. And that is all I did. I would have grown old doing the same thing, week after week after week.
Additionally, I wasn’t exactly down with the way he was treating my wife. She was a unique gem full of aspirations and talents all her own. I believe that Scripture in the Bible that says that your gifts will make room for you. Well they certainly weren’t making room for her there! For instance, she wanted to teach a home Bible study. The pastor got mad and told her no she couldn’t do it, even if it were an event she was doing in her own name. Also, she wanted to do something in the community and asked for his support. At first he acted interested, and then allowed the thing to flounder.
Thus, I felt that it was time for a change. God told me to change churches. Also, He knew I needed to alter my paradigm was about what a pastor was, and I needed to learn how to identify my Man of God. For we all need one. In fact, I will venture to say that not only do we need a Man or Woman of God. We need spiritual Parents who have our backs spiritually as well as materially. Your Man and Woman of God will be more of a spiritual mother and father to you. Your pastor will say things that resonate with you on a very deep level. They won’t always say things you like regarding you, but they will give you the word you need for the season God has you in, as you progress in your walk with him. Your preacher will not be perfect, but he or she will live a lifestyle that will serve as an example for you, one you wish to emulate.
Indeed, any old fool can get up and preach a sermon every Sunday. Just because the Man of God hops into the pulpit and delivers a feel good message week after week, gets you shouting, laughing, crying, and falling out, doesn’t mean that they’ve left anything of value with you. They need to be interested in forming a relationship with you, a friendship you can learn and grow from. You need to feel a father/son, or mother/daughter connection with them. In fact, there are people at the church where I go now that call our pastor and his wife, “Mom” and “Dad.” That implies a connectedness, an intimacy with them that promotes learning, growth, and even the acceptance of correction and discipline when it’s appropriate. That is what any good earthly parent would do. And so it goes about our spiritual parents. It is great when you have a pastor who prays for you daily, sees you slipping into a bad relationship, and is able to tell you, “Hey son (or daughter)…I know you love Corey,and he’s a nice kid, but he just ain’t the one! He is not saved, he can’t keep a job more than three days, and he is going to cause you a lot of tears.” Now when you’re in love with someone, those are hard words to take. But thank God you have someone in your life who is looking out for you. Indeed, the job of a good pastor is to “keep watch for your souls,” according to Hebrews 13: 17. There we are told to “obey them who have rule over you” for that very reason.
Moreover, this person’s words should resonate with you–whether he/she is speaking over the Pulpit, or to you personally. According to Isaiah 30: 21, “Your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way…walk ye therein.” That is to say, the number one question to ask yourself when you hear this person speaking is, “Is the Holy Spirit confirming what this person is saying?” A word of warning here is in order: The Holy Spirit will NEVER, ever confirm anything that is against the Word He has written.
Your pastor, then, needs to be a person you can obey. For the Man of God is to be obeyed. The Word of God says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6: 1). Our pastors are our Parents in the Lord. When my Man of God told me that he wanted to train me for work on the sound board, part of me thought, “Me? On the sound board?” I went ahead and learned how to do it. I learned how to tape sermons and music. And now I am doing it like a champ, enjoying every minute of it. I needed to trust him enough to know that he had an unction from God, who let him know what is best for me in this season of my life.
Your Set Gift also must be a man of Vision. For your Bible says, “Without a Vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29: 18). If the Angel of the House doesn’t know where he is going, how can he or she guide you into seeking God about His Vision for you? Dear Saint, He has a Vision for you. Recently my wife received a revelation of what her Vision was. She has a heart for the homeless, and a burden from God to help them. Yes, indeed, you need to be hooked up to a person who will not give you a Vision, but to help you seek the Face of God for your Vision. Each person must have a focus, a theme. Each person on this Earth is placed hereupon to solve a very specific problem. Martin Luther King, for example, sought to bring an end to racial injustice and oppression wrought upon people of colour by Jim Crow laws. President Obama has a vision of putting everyone back to work by reviving our economy. Mrs Koolbreeze has the assignment of easing the hunger and homelessness problem in this locality.
But I digress. I say all this to say that the Servant of the Lord in your church must have a heart for you finding your Vision, or your assignment. In order for him or her to be able to do that, he or she must be a man and woman of Vision himself or herself.
Finally, your leader must be capable of leading by example. Is your Man of God the husband of one wife, for example? According to I Timothy 3: 2, he must also be temperate, soberminded, of good behaviour, apt to teach–not given to drunkenness, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome…”(3: 3). Read these verses and find out if he or she measures up. If he doesn’t, he is not the Man of God for you. Find another place to worship–and fast.