Pastors & Elders
Don’t Do Sin
“17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages.’” (1 Tim. 5:17-18)
Moreover, just like an ox that’s working hard should be able to feed on the grain that it’s treading out, so too full-time pastors and elders should be taken care of and paid if needs be. Especially when they preach or teach.
It’s the same thing regarding a worker that deserves his wages. That seems fairly straightforward, right?
But these verses beg 2 questions?
First (1), what if an elder doesn’t preach or teach? Do they still deserve to be honoured? Yup. Second (2), what if an elder doesn’t direct the church well? Do they still deserve to be honoured? Yup.
Maybe you’re wondering, do I still have to honour an Elder who does a bad job at directing the church? Yup, him too.
Perfection Is Not the Expectation
During the first few chapters of 1 Timothy, Paul outlines clear instruction regarding the heavy responsibility that pastors and elders carry for the church. They’re chosen to lead because of their character.
And yet, never once is there a Biblical foundation that these men must be perfect.
Scripture teaches us that only Jesus is perfect, which means, pastors and elders will sin. At some point in their leadership, they will sin. And they may in fact, direct the church negatively because of that sin.
Elders & Pastors In Trouble
“19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.” (1 Tim. 5:19-20)
When (not if), a pastor or an elder has committed a sin they should still be honoured, even during the process of dealing with that sin. Because of the Spiritual responsibility that they carry, making an accusation against an elder is a very serious matter.
According to this passage, there must be more than one account of the sin that has been committed. This is a protection for a pastor-elder team.
Protection, Responsibility & Consequences
With that protection of multiple witnesses, comes responsibility and if needs be, difficult consequences. If an accusation against a pastor or an elder comes out to have 2 or 3 witnesses, then the process of restoration can be a difficult one.