A good pastor may or may not:
- Know all the best new music from the hippest indie bands
- Forward wonderful quotes about God written by other pastors
- Have a great grasp of the latest buzzwords like “gospel-centered”, “missional”, etc.
- Look like he just exited Urban Outfitters and know how to handle a man-purse
- Buy only Apple computers instead of those pesky, affordable but not-so-cool PC’s.
- Have a tattoo (in the name of cultural relevance, of course)
- Be on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.
While those characteristics are neither good nor bad, they do not…I repeat…they do not make a good pastor. It might say to others that your pastor is cool, but it doesn’t make him good. What makes a good pastor? Among many things, a good pastor:
- Loves his congregation and prays for their growth in the gospel (Phil. 1:3-6)
- Effectively and faithfully preaches/teaches the Bible; even the things people don’t really want to hear…yet they preach in a way that helps them to hear it (2 Tim. 4:1-4, Eph. 4:29, Acts 17:23)
- Leads his spouse, heads his household and honors Christ by pastoring his home before he pastors the church. (1 Tim. 3:4)
- Seeks to be a servant instead of daydreaming of how he can become a celebrity pastor like the guys he listens to, reads and sees at conferences (Mk. 10:44-45, I Tim. 4:6)
- Spends time in the Scriptures not just for his next sermon but for his soul – for growing in sound doctrine and a deeper love for the gospel (2 Tim. 4:14-15). Like Charles Spurgeon said, you cut him and he bleeds the Bible.
- Works hard and has realized a balanced life is a myth. He simply strives to be healthy, not using it as an excuse for laziness or justifying to others his inordinate amount of time at Starbucks by saying it’s how he best prepares for his messages. (Col. 1:29)
- Depends on the Holy Spirit and refuses to glide through ministry by his sheer talent and personality. (Ac. 1:8, Eph. 5:18)
I mention these characteristics because even pastors can get duped. Seeking to be culturally relevant, they can far too easily make being cool an idol. And while trendiness isn’t a sin (I intentionally used “hip” characteristics that mostly describe me), a preoccupation with trendiness is – giving too much weight to the wrong things. When we spend more time on the first list than the second, that’s when we’re in trouble. It’s also why it’s good to periodically remind ourselves what God calls his under-shepherds to do. And while you won’t find tips from God’s Word on the right haircut to get, the right songs to put on your iPod or even the right guys to quote. You will find the right qualities to pursue. And as you do, you may not be a rock star, you’ll be something much better…a pastor.