by Dr. Ken Matto

The word "pastor" may also be translated "shepherd." This person is normally the head of a local assembly. A true pastor cares for his people from the heart and will desire to protect them from false gospels. The true pastor will not just let anyone preach in his pulpit nor will he allow any films or materials to come into the church without screening it. The true pastor desires to see his people grow stronger in and closer to the Lord. He is not threatened by those in the congregation who show leadership ability but will encourage them and help them. The true pastor lives with his people and not above them because he knows that he depends upon them as much as they depend upon him.

The true pastor nurtures and nourishes his congregation and is available to them even at off hours. He knows his accountability is to God first, and then the to church. I have use the word "true" in this essay concerning pastors and now I want to help you identify false pastors. Please keep in mind that if a pastor has one or two of these traits does not automatically mean they are false but you will know them by their fruits. The false pastor:

1. rejects the idea of accountability to anyone.

2. is rarely available to his congregation.

3. is more concerned with activities outside the church than those in the church.

4. has no care about false teachings in the church.

5. never visits anyone.

6. wants increased pay and benefits but does nothing to earn it.

7. takes orders from the power brokers in the church because he fears them.

8. preaches sermons which give no challenge to the people.

9. allows anyone to join the church without screening them. This allows easy entry for cults into the church.

10. seeks reunification with Rome.

11. allows anyone to take communion without reinforcing the fact that one must be born again to partake or they risk serious consequences as written in 1 Corinthians 11:19-34

These guidelines will give enough information to help determine whether you have a false or true pastor. If you want further information, read Jeremiah 23:1-4 and Ezekiel 34:1-20. The pastor can make or break a congregation. They can cause it to remain faithful or they can lead it astray. It is a serious matter when one man is given so much authority.