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Thursday, March 24, 2011

What I want and expect of my pastor

By Bill Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service

SCOTT DEPOT, WV (ANS) -- Spring has sprung and the planting season has begun. It is also that time of the year when many pastors may give serious thought to going to another pastorate, or being sent to another church by their superintendent of bishop. Pastors with children at home often want to move in the summer time so as not to disrupt a child’s school year. It may also be the time when young college and seminary graduates go to their first church.

It is an exciting time for both pastors and churches. There is always a degree of anxiety. What do churches look for and expect from a pastor?

I asked one layman and leader who has served his church in a variety of ways, “What kind of pastor do you want? Here are some of his “wants” in his pastor.

1. “I want my pastor to preach Bible based sermons every time he steps to the pulpit.” Forget about trivia, sports, headline news and personal opinion. Help me understand what God expects of me.

2. “I want my pastor to be an example for all, in the way he has a command of the language in the country where he serves and have compassion for everyone. To be well dressed and physically fit. I want to be proud of him or her and always pleased to introduce my pastor to my friends, business associates and community leaders.

3. “I want my pastor to be in control of the entire church he serves. To be in charge of the worship service. I want him to inform the music director that it is not necessary for everyone to stand for extended periods of time while singing. I can sing and worship God seated as well, and often better, than I can standing and having my weekly physical workout. There are often older congregants who physically are not able to stand more than five minutes if that long.

4. “I want my pastor to seek God's guidance as he plans and prepares budgets, building projects and programs to serve the entire church and community. Must be a praying pastor.

5. “I want my pastor to make no apology for preaching and teaching about tithing and giving generously in addition to the tithe. I want him to emphasize the generous giving of time, talent and treasure to serve others. Our financial responsibility cannot be taken lightly. We must daily remember, ‘To whom much is given, from him much will be required’ (Luke 12:48 NKJ).

6. “I want my pastor to be a strong supporter of missions throughout the world, but to fully understand that important mission fields exist close by and often in the shadow of the local church.

7. “I want my pastor to remind me and others of the contributions of parishioners who served and serve our country to protect our freedoms and especially the freedom to worship God.

8. “I want my pastor to take time to be with his family and to have a special day for his spouse. Go to the ball games, musical programs, fishing, have a picnic, take vacations with the family. Teach us by example.

9. “I want my pastor to be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, be more powerful than a locomotive and faster than a speeding bullet." If he can do that, he will be just like my pastor, Dr. Hayes Wicker, First Baptist Church, Naples, FL

My brother, E. Franklin “Whitey” Ellis, BS, MA, EdS, retired educator, contributed much to this column and adds, “My apologies to the women who pastor many churches all over the world, for referring so much to men, but I do include and appreciate your ministry equally.

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Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist, and convention and conference speaker on every continent. He is the writer of more than 2,000 newspaper and magazine columns, articles and contributions to books. He is also a widely known motivational speaker and pulpit guest who utilizes enjoyment of life and just plain fun and laughter while speaking to high school, university and professional sports teams as well as to business and professional groups of all kinds. His keen understanding of human problems makes him a favorite speaker for youth, parent, and senior adult meetings. He is accompanied by Kitty, his wife, favorite singer, editor and publisher.

For information on becoming a subscriber to the Ellis Column for your newspaper or magazine, you may contact him at: BILL ELLIS, P.O.Box 345, Scott Depot, WV 25560 or by calling: 304-757-6089.

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This story is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of the ASSIST News Service or ASSIST Ministries.