What makes a great Priest/Pastor/Minister?

27 11 2007

On the 15th of November I posted a question about what makes a great Priest/Pastor/Minister and what makes a great church. Through this blog and Facebook I received 54 amazing suggestions. In this post I summarise the feedback on the first part: what makes a great Priest/Pastor/Minister. It is very interesting to see that few mentioned anything about leading worship and nearly all of the comments were about attitude: the sort of person the leader should be.

When worship was mentioned it was mostly about preaching: where the feeling was generally the sermon should be powerful and personal, speaking directly into the life of those listening.


So what makes a great church leader can be summarised into 6 points:

  • Be real and authentic

you are who you are, people want to see how God has worked in your life, and how God is working in your life. Leaders over the years have suffered from unrealistic expectations of how they should be. But like everyone else, leaders are humans who struggle from time to time. Jesus before his death prayed to God, ‘take this cup away from me.’ The humaness of Christ feared what was about to happen.

  • Read the Scriptures and pray constantly

Be connected to the source. Out of this will flow understanding, peace, confidence and clarity. Through Bible reading and prayer the leader is exposed to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Jesus knew intimately the scriptures of his day. Christ also made times for prayer.

  • Be a servant

Serve the community, serve Christ, not yourself. Jesus washed feet, don’t be slow to get involved in the basic tasks.

  • Caring

Offer genuine and active care. Be proactive, be attentive, go the extra mile. Don’t just react but be intentional. Care in a way that speaks to the root issue, don’t be distracted by the presenting issue. When Jesus encountered the Samaritan women at the well she asked for water and he offered living water, which is what she really needed.

  • Wonderful listener

To quote Bishop Tom Brown of Wellington Diocese, people can tell when you aren’t listening. Listen in a way that people feel valued and appreciated. Listen behind the words, ask questions, be inquisitive, seek to understand. Jesus encouraged the people not only to listen but to understand.

  • Set a vision and inspire people to move towards that vision.

Be passionate, creative and focused. Discern where God wants to take the community you lead and then share this vision in a way that inspires those around you. The disciples followed Jesus for they believed in what he stood for and where he was going.

Stay tuned for the post on what makes a great church!




6 responses

27 11 2007
Rev Bosco Peters


I am pleased that you are surprised that worship was little mentioned!

Worship has slipped significantly in our consciousness as Anglicans. It used to be central to our perspective – there was a concept of common prayer.
Now worship does not even feature in our five-fold mission statement!
I would have thought that worship of God would have been central to our Christian mission statement! Numero Uno!
And study, training, and formation in worship be central to us whatever our order: lay, deacon, priest, or bishop.

Your surprise gives me hope.

In Christ


28 11 2007
Phyllis Tickle

I’m with Peter Bosco on both the slippage and the sense of encouragement that he gains from Mark’s surprise. But I also am inclined with delight toward the #2 point of intimate prayer and scripture reading.

That is, I suspect the distinction between corporate, liturgical worship and private [whether liturgical or not, as in the offices] worship may have not come into play here in the thinnking of many of the respondents. They just may regard prayer and intimate engagement with scripture as requisite and prior to any liturgical role played by a good priest. For them perhaps the latter presumes the former, or the former assumes the latter….pt

28 11 2007

These are good points, but I think you are right to pick up on the need for worship, indeed it is an often neglected pastoral concern.

28 11 2007
Craige Gravestein (Snerbert Sands)

Well distilled. I guess on the worship front that could be added to point two in terms of the application of personal spiritual disciplines. One must be a worshipper to appreciate its value and to lead worship. CG

1 01 2008
Mark Sims

A late comment.
First to be a great priest one has to be a Christian, born again. Acts 4:12 (NASB)
12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Acts 16:31 (NASB)
31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Seems obvious but some try to be sanctified before they are justified.

Secondly, relize that as a believer (a saved one) that you are a priest. This applies to all Christians not a select few.
1 Peter 2:5 (NASB)
5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

Thirdly recognizing your position in Christ…. live it out.
Colossians 2:6 (NASB)
6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

Being filled with the Spirit of God we should walk in obedience to our risen Lord and so display Christlikeness.

18 12 2008

I am always interested in peoples concept of leadership in the church. In particular the ‘position’ of Pastor/priest/apostle etc. What I find most intriguing is that what the church has so long propagated and what we see in the bible are two different things. In reality church leadership looks very little like the new testament teachings and examples and more like the temple and the priest of the old testament.
It is interesting that Paul never addressed the ‘pastor’ (singular) at the congregations but the ‘elders’ (plural.) I have had people say to me and indeed I used to repeat the line: ‘You can’t have more than two heads, otherwise you have a monster.’ Then it occurred to me one fine day that if Christ is the head of the Church and He leads through the Holy Spirit… if we then have a priest or pastor do we not actually have a monster?
The problem in the body of Christ, to me, is simply this:
1. There is a dualism that exists, the called to ministry group and the rest.
The clergy laity distinction. Which quite simply is not biblical.
2. The disenfranchising of the believer because we have created positions of intermediaries between God and man.

When we realise that the NT talks about servant leadership not hierarchical leadership and what that really means. That Christ can actually directly lead the fellowship of believers and that overseers are called to watch over and not be over, that apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are functions not titles. That the enemy knows that if you have a pastor lead fellowship he just needs to take out that one and the rest will stagger. That by serving and equipping (Eph 4:11) that believers will become true priests and be fully empowered by the Spirit of God. That we are not really called to lead people anywhere but rather introduce them to Christ in the fullest way as we all have the ministry (service) of reconciliation.

And finally that the gospel is not the sole property of the academics but it is alive through the Holy Spirit in the hearts of man.

I know it is shooting the sacred cow, but I have ‘lead’ (served) fellowships like that in Africa and seen for myself the joy of when we allow Christ to be a persons shepherd (pastor) and the Holy Spirit to be their teacher. The reinfranchising and empowerment of the believer is long over due. So my ‘ministry’ is to serve others to reach the fullness of Christ by pointing them in the direction of the cross. Only when they meet Him in person will we see true change in a believers life, otherwise we only have believers and not disciples of Christ.
We are all priests, all called, all anointed, all empowered. We are all equal, only our functions differ and we need to get down from our man made structures, humble ourselves before the Lord and server others in love and power. Only then will we have unity in the body of Christ as we all become one has indeed He is one. Through the Holy Spirit in us.

If anyone would like to respond feel free on dcdeane@yahoo.com

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