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Pastoral 2013

Biblical Guidelines on How to Relate to Your Pastors – I


Clear instructions are given in the Scriptures concerning how believers should relate to their pastors. The unity and effectiveness of a local church are greatly dependant on the good relationship between the congregation and the pastor. Therefore, the Lord provided specific guidelines in His Word concerning the attitude and response of believers to their faithful pastors. It is important that believers understand and yield themselves to fulfil the biblical instructions on this matter.

Obey your pastors

Hebrews 13:17 exhorts all believers, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

The Greek word for “obedience”, peitho, literally means “to be continually persuaded”. It emphasises that believers must be ready and willing to be persuaded by the biblical doctrines and principles that the pastor proclaims. This thought is further enhanced as we are also commanded to “submit”. When these two verbs are used together, the idea of obedience becomes all too apparent. So, we are taught in this verse that compliance to pastoral instructions is required of all believers.

It is also important for us to note that Hebrews 13:17 expects all believers to voluntarily submit to their spiritual leaders. The exhortation to “submit yourselves” is a call to make every effort to subject ourselves to the spiritual leaders whom God has appointed. Submission has to be voluntary on the part of every believer.

The world may describe submission as weakness but the Word of God views it as a spiritual virtue. It is the spiritual power that restrains all our prideful and rebellious attitudes. It is a very high and noble virtue which pleases the Lord. Submission of believers to their godly pastors promotes obedience, righteousness, unity, peace and joy in the church. In so doing, the glory of the Lord shall reign.

Hebrews 13:17 clearly tells us the main reason why members should be submissive to their pastors – “for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account.” Only submissive and obedient members can receive the full pastoral care offered by faithful pastors, who minister with their final accountability to God in view. If you remain obedient, the biblical teachings of pastors will protect you from sin and falsehood. Furthermore, the biblical guidance which the pastors give will help you to grow in faith and holiness unto the glory of Christ. So let us joyfully submit and obey our godly pastors.

Bring joy to your pastors

At the end of Hebrews 13:17, believers are exhorted to ensure that their attitude towards their pastors’ ministry would help them to “do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you”. The Greek grammatical construction of this verse clearly expresses this to be a command to all believers, that their responses to and relationship with their pastors will enable them to truly enjoy their pastoral work.

The church in Philippi brought much joy to the apostle Paul that he wrote to them, saying, “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved” (Philippians 4:1). Similarly, he rejoiced and thanked the Lord for the members of the church in Thessalonica. He wrote about them in 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.” Later, he repeated the same sentiments, “For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God” (1 Thessalonians 3:9).

If you bring grief, instead of joy, Hebrews 13:17 warns us that it “is unprofitable for you”. The Greek word translated as “unprofitable” does not only imply “no advantage” or “without special benefit”, but also “hurtful” or “pernicious”. It cautions us that we will be hurting ourselves if we cause grief in the hearts of those whom God has appointed to watch over our souls.

Remember your pastors

In Hebrews 13:7, believers are urged to “remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God”. The Greek word for “remember” is mnemoneuo, which brings to mind such ideas as “be mindful of ”, “call to mind”, “make mention of ”, “to think of and feel for a person or thing”, etc. There are great spiritual advantages in remembering fondly your pastor’s preaching, passionate pleading, prayer, private counsel, and example. Keeping them uppermost in your mind will certainly influence your life to excel in your walk with God, just as they have done.


Thoughts of Cheerful Givers

Dear Pastor,

The LORD has blessed me with the Edusave Scholarship Award last year and He has now moved me to give it to the Philippine Relief Fund ($250) and the Gethsemane Church Building Fund ($250). May the LORD be pleased to multiply it for the furtherance of His kingdom.

Matthew 6:33

God bless.

Praise and thank God for this privilege to be able to give towards the church building project. The Lord is good. He has seen us through our CRC project. He will also enable us to have a church building for His glory.

Nehemiah 2:18b – “...Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.”

“He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.”

Proverbs 19:17