Pastors Who Preach Right But Don't Follow Through

I am convinced that the greatest need of the hour is for God-fearing, uncompromising, truth-loving, people-loving pastors. A church without such a pastor is a sheep herd without a shepherd.

The following statement is similar to ones I have received many times over the past few years:

“Our pastor is a true man of God. He has been preaching strong from the pulpit on worldly living, such as music and dress, but it doesn’t appear to be penetrating the people’s lives. Only one or two show up for soul winning. Even the youth pastor and teachers and deacons don’t participate. The youth pastor does not preach separation from the world. Most if not all of the youth in the church are worldly and are being fed CCM and secular music at home. There is no dress code and it seems the clothes are getting worse and worse. I am afraid if I let my children participate in the youth program that they will be influenced in a negative way. I feel like out of the entire church, there are only a very few people who understand or even care about the biblical position I am taking. I’m afraid that if the preacher pushes too hard, they will boot him out.”

What is the problem here? Since I do largely agree with the statement that “everything rises and falls on leadership,” much of the problem must fall at the pastor’s feet.

Preaching right and strong is a good and necessary thing, but it isn’t enough. The Word of truth and holiness must be exemplified in the lives of the pastors and their families and in the lives of the teachers and workers.

It must be enforced through high standards for officers and workers, direct confrontation of sin, and discipline. A pastor can’t force every church member to be faithful and to dress right, etc., but he can require this of those who represent the church to the community.

If the pastor preaches against immodest dress or contemporary, worldly music or exhorts the people to faithfulness, but allows his own wife and children and his teachers and deacons and church workers to dress immodestly and to listen to worldly music and to be unfaithful, his preaching will have little authority and impact. It will be sounding brass and tinkling cymbals.

As for losing people, I’ve been a pastor and I’m a veteran church planter, and I have faced the temptation to cut corners in preaching and ministry, but I have learned that it isn’t worthwhile.

I would rather have 20 church members who love Christ and want to obey Him than 200 half-hearted Laodiceans. God can bless and empower the 20 far more than the 200. What Gideon needed was an army of true soldiers more than a multitude of nominal ones.

As for church finances, God is not poor and He will always take of that when we honor Him and His Word (Matthew 6:33), so there should be no fear of offending big givers. God is good and faithful, and He isn’t dependent on any big tither who stands in the way of His holy business.

At the end of the day, if the pastor does right before God and seeks to build a church that pleases God and seeks to please God more than man, and if that church kicks him out, God will open a better door for that man. He is faithful.

“I charge
thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:1-2).

is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 3:1-13).

About Way of Life - The name “Way of Life” is from Proverbs 6:23: “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” The biblical instruction that molds men to God’s will requires reproof. It is not strictly positive. It does not focus on man’s “self-esteem.” It does not avoid controversial or unpopular subjects. It warns as well as comforts. It deals with sin and false teaching in a plain manner. It is reproves, rebukes, exhorts with all longsuffering and doctrine (2 Tim. 4:2). This is what we seek to do through Way of Life Literature. The Way of Life preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. A mail stop is maintained in Port Huron, Michigan.

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