Recently, I received a text message with 12 types of pastors in Africa. But the list needed to be reorganized and reduced a little. Here are the seven most common pastors I have seen these days.
1. The Illogical Pastor
Description: He preaches without clear terms because his mind is not clearly organized. Therefore, he can talk generally about repentance, redemption, faith, humility, heaven, salvation, or God, yet he is never really able to give a simple definition of what these things are and what they are not. His mind is like a closet with many thoughts inside, but they are not placed carefully on the right shelves. He has never studied logic, and sometimes he even denigrates clear thinking. He has even told his church members to “stop using your mind, and start using your spirit” or something similar to that.
Basic motives: He wants to serve the Lord, but he does not want to take the effort to discipline his mind.
Demerits: Since Jesus commanded us to love the Lord with our minds, this man is doomed to fail at the most important command. Eventually, his church may grow, but if you ask the people on the way out the door what they learned, it will always be some form of a cliché rather than solid, time-tested, exegetically derived theology.
Way out: Carefully define every word especially the important words in each passage before you preach. Make the goal of every sermon the point of the passage rather than what someone else said or what will make the people shout, “Amen.”
2. The Lawless Pastor
Description: He talks much about grace so that his sins and the sins of the most important givers will never be fingered. He also loves the line, “Do not judge!”, but he hates Jesus’ words, “Judge righteous judgment (John 7:24).” This pastor overlooks the clear statement that women must be silent in the church, that they must not teach men, that they must learn in submission. He does not bother to obey the command that at the most only three may speak in tongues at a single church meeting and every time, they must have an interpreter. He ignores the fact that if pastors have unbelieving children or have divorced they must resign immediately. And many other laws, this man (or woman) sidesteps.
Basic motives: Peter tells us that their motives are greed and love of sin (2 Peter 2:14).
Demerits: Since he is an antinomian (lawless one), he will ultimately hear Jesus say, “Depart from me, I never knew you, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matt. 7:23)
Way out: We must begin taking every command in the Bible seriously. We must obey it whether we lose friends, whether we have small churches, whether we suffer, and whether we lose money. God’s approval is more important than man’s approval.
3. The Sensational Pastor
Description: This man loves a show. He will dress to please the people. His pictures always shows his rings and jewelry. He holds the microphone even if he is only preaching to 50 people because he likes the superficial look and sound. Everything he does is copying show business from the sinful state of Hollywood.
Basic motives: This man is so immature that he models his ministry off of television rather than the apostles. He has watched more hours of TV than he has spent reading his Bible. He can impersonate T. D. Jakes and Pastor Chris better than he can quote Peter or John.
Demerits: No church can come to the fullness of the stature of Christ (Eph. 4:13) with a man like this.
Way out: Turn off the TV. Put it in the trash. Throw out the dish. And begin reading your Bible until you are terrified of God’s holiness, mesmerized by His grace, humbled by your sin, captured by His love, filled with His Spirit, and ready to suffer hardness as a good soldier.
4. The Church-growth Pastor
Description: He judges every decision based on whether more people come to the meetings. A sermon was good only if people liked it and more people come back. Another pastor is a “man of God” and has the “anointing” if he has a large following. The number of “likes” on Facebook is more important to him than if he is obedient to the laws in the Sermon on the Mount.
Basic motives: Simple, Jr. high love of popularity. This man has never grown up so now he desperately wants to be loved by people rather than being content with God’s love toward him.
Demerits: This man will break more and more commands of Scripture in order to attract a crowd. Bring in worldly music? Sure, if more people come. Overlook sexual sin in the church? Sure, if more people come. Ignore false doctrine from guest speakers? Sure, if more people come.
Way out: This man needs to see God like the children of Israel in Deut. 5:25. Where they cried out in terror that they would die if they ever saw God’s glory again. He needs to learn the fear of the Lord (Pro. 1:7), and true holiness without which no one will see God (Heb. 12:14).
5. The “Fire” Pastor
Description: This man shouts “fire” throughout his sermons. He can repeat this single word 20 times in a sermon. He will also mix it with other words like “blessing” and “breakthrough” and “success.”
Basic motives: Since he has not studied, he does not know what to say. He is like Ahimaaz who ran to speak to David, but he had no message (2 Sam. 18:29-30).
Demerits: He will lead his people away from the gospel by teaching them to look for external entertainment.
Way out: Study the Bible. Say only what the text says. Let it be your master in the pulpit.
6. The Politically Correct Pastor
Description: His sermons never offend anyone because he is very careful to always speak about general themes. He does not mention Hell or the sins that would send a man there. He does not rebuke African traditional religion on one hand or transgender foolishness on the other. His convictions change from day to day according to polls or news stories. He is afraid to apply the Bible to economics or spanking children or male-headship or entertainment.
Basic motives: The fear of man drives this man. He could never rebuke his superiors who pay him or his inferiors who validate him.
Demerits: Without courage, he will not tell his people that there is only one way to God. He will not tell them that we are all barbarians before we had the gospel. Because he withholds hard truths, his people will be lost.
Way out: Read your Bible marking all the places where men and women were courageous for God. Ask Jesus to make you bold as a lion (Pro. 28:1). Fix your heart on revival rather than comfort and popular acceptance.
7. The Biblical Pastor
Description: This man cares more about humility than huge offerings. He teaches the Bible verse by verse rather than the TV preacher frame by frame. He is hard on his own sin, bold for the truth, gentle when he is wronged, and full of love for the lost. He would rather see someone saved than receive a large gift. He could not be paid enough to lie. He studies theology more than sports. He reads well because he first of all a teacher.
Basic motives: He loves and fears the God of the Bible. He thinks much about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. He finds joy in God.
Demerits: This man will likely not be popular. He will suffer like all who live godly. He will give away his wealth to missionaries sooner than live a flashy life.
Way out: Sin. If this man gives in to sin, he will be like Samson with his hair shaved. He will quench the Spirit and spiral downward.
When the Lord comes, a great number of men will be shocked to find out they have been false pastors all along. But there is still time now to change! Now, we have the chance to repent of foolish, unbiblical practices and return to the real power of God through the gospel in the book of Acts.