I’ve been working my way through a short booklet, “The Minister’s Self-Watch” by C.H. Spurgeon. In it, he writes the following…
It is not great talents God blesses, so much as likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.
… whatever “call” a man may pretend to have, if he has not been called to holiness, he certainly has not been called to the ministry.
And this… quoting Richard Baxter’s “Reformed Pastor”
Take heed, therefore, to yourselves first, that you be that which you persuade others to be, and believe that which you persuade them daily to believe, and have heartily entertained that Christ and Spirit which you offer unto others.
And in speaking of what type of man is fit to be in the Christian ministry…
He is not to be content with being equal to the rank and file of Christians, he must be a mature and advanced believer; for the ministry of Christ has been truly called “the choicest of the choice, the elect of his election, a church picked out of the church.”
For the Pastor
I don’t feel that I really have to say much about what Spurgeon has said… we all know the need to be what we believe and teach, and as always, Spurgeon has said it well.
For the Search Committee
There is a very real temptation and danger of looking only at skills, education, and past ministry successes when seeking a new Pastor. It’s a temptation in part because these are easier to see. But Spurgeon’s words remind us that the heart is what matters. It is the instrument of the Pastor’s calling, and must be considered far above other things.
Search Committees… do your best to find out what is in a man’s heart before you move ahead in calling him to be your Pastor. Ask the hard questions, be concerned about the right things. Make it your job to know him, through and through – so that you don’t find out the hard way that he is not the man you should have chosen. Your Lord and your flock deserve better than that!