“This saying is trustworthy: ‘If someone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a good work'” (1 Timothy 3:1 NET).
A person who wants an undemanding job may have many potential employment options. However, the office of a church overseer is not likely to be one of them.
As we’re told in the passage quoted above, a person who aspires to this office is someone who seeks a good and honorable position. However, this job responsibility also involves work- the type of work that is often difficult, exhausting, or painful. You see, an average person who attends church on Sunday morning may not see (or appreciate) the challenges that a Pastoral leader may encounter throughout the rest of the week.
For instance, an overseer may spend much of his time visiting and consoling those who are hospitalized, institutionalized, or home-bound. He may also be called upon to counsel those who are working to overcome addictive or self-destructive behaviors. A good congregational leader must demonstrate wisdom, compassion, skill, and perception to effectively respond to these needs.
A bishop is also entrusted with the responsibility to comfort the grieving, offer healing to the broken-hearted, and support those who are suffering from deep emotional pain with grace and sensitivity. He is often available at any hour of the day or night to respond to emergencies or provide spiritual and emotional support to those in need. In addition, he must work to develop a wide breadth of knowledge in many diverse areas in order to provide an informed opinion to those who seek his advice.
The Scriptures also identify many other responsibilities that are assigned to these church leaders. These include…
- Preaching and teaching the Word of God (2 Timothy 4:1-4). Preaching is generally associated with an exhortation to righteousness while teaching involves the act of communicating the Scriptures in a manner that others can understand, remember, and apply. A good church leader must often engage in many hours of study and preparation in order to fulfill these important responsibilities.
- Examining and rendering decisions on issues related to spiritual doctrine and practice (Acts 15).
- Identifying and commissioning those who demonstrate God’s call to leadership (Titus 1:5).
- Identifying and commissioning others to assist in serving the practical needs of the church community (Acts 6:1-6),
- Assisting in the area of financial oversight (2 Corinthians 8-9)
- Overseeing the general welfare of the church (1 Timothy 5:1-22).
These are all responsibilities that fall under a congregational leader’s job description but may go unnoticed (and unappreciated) by others.