The Pastor is Called to Lead
Leading by Modelling

The chief way in which the pastor is to lead is to be the very example and model of following
Christ. Unlike the popular but erroneous adage, “don’t do as I do, follow Christ”, he should
rather follow the way of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I
also am of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1). He must be worthy of emulation by a conduct that is exemplary
in all areas of his life.

The first area in which the pastor must lead is that of doctrine. 1 Timothy 4:16 says, “Take heed
unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save
thyself, and them that hear thee.” The pastor must first be well grounded in the sound doctrine of
the Scriptures, and to live out that doctrine in his life. He shall then be able to point God’s flock
to the true doctrine of the Scriptures and to follow the same path. By doing so, God’s people will
be guarded from the winds of false doctrine that swirls in this world of darkness. If God’s people
imbibe in wrong doctrine, it will lead to wrong practice and a defamation of the name of God. On
the other hand, if God’s people is led to sound doctrine, this in turn leads to sound practice, and
God’s name will be magnified in the midst of His people.

Other areas where the pastor is to lead in modelling is found in Paul’s exhortation to young
Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12. Timothy was facing struggles in the pastorate because some were
despising his youth. How was he to overcome this challenge? Paul’s advice – “Let no man
despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in
spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Tim. 4:12)

There are therefore five areas in which the pastor is required to set a godly pattern:
1. In word (ἐν λόγῳ). This refers to the pastor’s written or spoken words. These words
must be pure in motive, content and spirit.
2. In conversation (ἐν ἀναστροφῇ). This refers to the pastor’s lifestyle and daily behaviour.
It must be a reflection of Christ-likeness and to be unspotted from the world. He must
show forth what it means to live by every word of God (Matt. 4:4).
3. In charity (ἐν ἀγάπη). To have a fervent love for God and His people, loving in deed and
in truth.
4. In spirit (ἐν πνεύματι). The pastor’s life must be under the control of the Holy Spirit.
5. In faith (ἐν πίστει). This refers to faithfulness and loyalty in the service of the Lord. It
also requires the pastor to constantly exercise his faith in God’s Word.
6. In purity (ἐν ἁγνείᾳ). Abhorring that which is evil, cleave to that which is good. This
word can also refer to how a pastor is free from sexual indiscretion.

Leading in Administration

The pastor’s obligation to lead in administration has been covered in the first section of the
pastor’s duty. “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they
who labour in the word and doctrine.” (1 Tim. 5:17) He has the responsibility of setting the
spiritual direction of the church while working lovingly and respectfully with the ruling elders as
well as other church leaders towards this direction.
The fact that the pastor has to lead in administration is evidenced by the pastoral epistles which
were given specifically to the pastors, so that they may know how to organise the church in a
manner that pleases God. 1 and 2 Timothy are written so that pastor Timothy may know how to
conduct himself in the Lord’s house (1 Timothy 3:15). Thus, stipulations on church polity and
administration are set forth in these epistles, including the qualifications of elders and deacons of

which the pastor must oversee. Similarly, in the epistle of Titus, Titus was asked to “set in
order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city” (Titus 1:5). Thus, the
responsibility and the burden of the administration of God’s house falls on the pastor, of which
he is most privileged to have spiritual men who love God to labour alongside him in these
matters. The Lord will bless His work in the church when there is unity in the leadership
according to this divine pattern.

The Pastor is Called to Comfort

In Psalm 23, the LORD is portrayed as One who comforts the sheep (23:4). Similarly, the
pastor as the under-shepherd is also involved in the ministry of comfort. It will thus do the
pastor well to consider the spirit of Psalm 23 and apply it in the pastoral ministry.

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for
thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my
head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in
the house of the LORD for ever.

The chief way for the pastor to minister comfort is via the pulpit, for true comfort can only
come through God’s Word. See 1 Thessalonians 4:18. As the pastor expounds God’s gracious
Word, the Holy Spirit as the Comforter will apply the words into the hearts of the people as a
balm to hurting hearts. Other areas of the ministry of comfort includes the pastoral visitations,
hospital visits as well as conducting vigil services and funerals. While ministering, the minister
must always bear in mind that God’s Word must be ministered, for there is no true comfort
outside the God of all comfort and His truth. It is not just any visit, but a visit to establish God’s
Word in the hearts of His children, that they may be truly ministered with God’s comfort. He
must always be aware that only God is the true source of comfort. “What is your only comfort
in life and death? That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in
death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious
blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way
that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things
must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal
life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for him.” (Heidelberg Cate-
chism Question 1)

Alongside the ministry of comfort is also the ministry of restoration. When believers sin against
the Lord, they live a life of misery and miss out on the sweet experience of fellowship with
Christ Jesus. Therefore, such ones must be admonished and corrected, so that they will walk
rightly with the Lord again. Once again, the chief means of achieving this is via the pulpit
ministry. However, there may be times when the pastor is required to counsel sinning members.
When these members express a desire to repent, the pastor is to show forth the way of
correction, and to help them to be in sweet fellowship with God again.
(To be continued)

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew