Cox What is the Ministry of Oversight?

What is the ministry of oversight?

by Missionary David R. Cox

This is a brief sermon (8 pgs) that presents many topics on this page. I will not reproduce this booklet on this page but make comments on sections instead.

A. Administration or Government (the office of Pastor)
B. Job Description of the Pastor
1. Feed the Sheep
2. Warn and Protect
3. Pastoral Watch Care
C. How does a man enter the office of Pastor?
D. Disqualification and removal
E. The Qualifications or Requirements of Pastor


A. Administration or Government (the office of Pastor)

Let’s start off by saying that some groups of people (individual churches, and particular groups like the Brethren, Mennonites, Anabaptists, some Bible Churches, etcetera) have a particular rejection of the office of pastor. I have visited and fellowship with some of these types of people in Bible churches (and an internet discussion group I participated in for a while), and they are good people basically. Their basic thinking is that pastors are unbiblical, so they establish a Presbyterian type of government on the premise of co-equal elders instead of a pastor.

Let me note here that for all the theory people put forth for co-equal elders, I have never once seen it actually in practice and functioning. I have seen churches with an elder board, but they always go back to a single elder being “in charge”. They shun the term “pastor” because supposedly it is tarnished with anti-biblical concepts, and in their opinion the term itself is in antibiblical, but the concept of a single elder being in charge still has to be imposed because chaos is what happens when things do not get channeled through a single source “at the top”.

Let’s note also that the word “pastor” is a biblical term. However you wish to consider it, it is not an unbiblical concept. The fact that there are a host of unbiblical pastors out there I do not for a second deny, but I cannot accept throwing out the “baby with the bathwater”. The term that God gave us to use is “pastor” we should use it. Concerning the abuses by pastors, this should become a matter of great concern for every pastor, and he should teach against the abuses of pastors even though he personally is not abusive.

We as pastors or those in oversight should be keenly aware of the marks of bad or poor ministers of the gospel as well as being well studied on the duties of those in oversight, and the warnings to us from God.

God’s warnings to those who are Pastors (see Cox Biblical Pastor.pdf)
The Biblical Defense for the Ministry of Oversight (Pastor) (see Cox Biblical Pastor.pdf)

2002-05-30-Spiritual-Shepherding.pdf (342 downloads )

Download Biblical Pastor.pdf

BiblicalPastorv2.pdf (31586 downloads )

B. Job Description of the Pastor

The tasks or job description of a biblical pastor falls basically into three categories.

    1. Feed the Sheep

The first is the primary one, to spiritually feed the sheep. This speaks mainly to his pulpit ministry of teaching and preaching in the church. The food much be beneficial to the sheep and not just filler food. The pastor must prepare the meal (dig it out of the Scriptures). It must not be something that is out of the context of the Bible (it must be a study of Scripture about a passage or topic), and it must not violate the intent of God’s will on the matter. This means it must harmonize with the Bible’s teaching on this matter and not contradict the Bible on other matters.

The Ministry of Feeding God’s Sheep (see Cox Biblical Pastor.pdf)

2002-06-04-Pastor-Job-Description-Num-27.pdf (388 downloads )

    2. Warn and Protect

Next his duty is to warn and protect. This speaks of interdiction, or setting up oneself between the sheep and the danger. This means that when the sheep wants (because of the deception of the danger) to go to the danger, the shepherd must present himself as an antagonist of sorts, attacking the danger in the eyes of the shepherd. The old saying, “Stand for nothing and fall for anything” reflects on the fact that Pastors must be bold in declaring where the Bible stands on issues. Being neutral or silent on matters only shifts the responsibility and blame on nobody. But the Pastor has that responsibility before the Lord to take care of the sheep and make sure they do not fall prey to dangers.

Warning and Protecting God’s Sheep (see Cox Biblical Pastor.pdf)

    3. Pastoral Watch Care

The final duty is Pastoral Watch care or Visitation in the biblical sense of the word. A shepherd did this usually at night while returning to the fold. They used a sheepgate which is a stretch of wall some yards long with a narrow gate in the middle. The sheep stick close to the shepherd, and he comes to the gate and sits down there in the gate. The sheep can easily go around the wall (because it just ends some 5 or 10 yards in each direction and you can walk around the end) but the sheep don’t do this because they don’t want to get so far from their shepherd). The shepherd sits down and then grabs the closest sheep and looks it over, puts balm on their wounds, takes the stickers out of their wool or cuts them out, and does whatever is needed to attend to the personal individual needs of that particular sheep. Once finished he pushes the sheep behind him through the gate where it stays until the shepherd has done this to every sheep in his flock.

This is the biblical picture of pastoral visitation. It is laughable to consider this and consider the great failure in cases of big churches with 1,000+ people. How can a pastor comply with his duty in caring individually for the sheep when the sheep fold grows so large? Real shepherds divide the fold, but in our competitive bigger is better age, we just close our eyes to our pastoral duty.

The bottom line here is, whatever is wrong spiritually in the church member’s life, the pastor visits the member and fixes what is wrong. The only reason why it is not fixed (over a long period of time) is because the member refuses the pastoral watch care that the pastor gives.

Biblical Watchcare “Visitation” (see Cox Biblical Pastor.pdf)

C. How does a man enter the office of Pastor?

Firstly, Paul says in 1 Tim 3:1,

1 Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

So at some level, the entering of the office of pastor has to be within the individual. What this really settles to is that a man has to be called of God, and he must be qualified. This is a touchy matter for many people. Some say that he has to go to a Bible college, but we have to insist that what is not in the Bible cannot be binding on us. It may be an excellent suggestion, but it is not absolutely essential.

If we examine careful the requirements of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, neither set of requirements has anything like going to a Bible school nor learning under a specific man. Rather than that requirement, the Bible insists on spiritual qualities within the individual. It is highly important not to miss the fact that the deacons requirements come after the pastor’s requirements in 1 Timothy. It is thought provoking that deacons have requirements on their wives but pastors do not. (Maybe pastors’ wives have to maintain the home, and that would be a requirement.) But I think that deacons were the ones doing a lot of the distribution of helps, seeing to the needs of the individuals, etc. In that ministry, the wife should be along with the man. Then that makes sense.

Practically speaking as a pastor of 40+ years, the reality of their salvation and the calling of the individual are the two things that I have seen that make or break a minister. So many preachers just are not saved, or do not engage fully with the Lord in their Christian life. That works out in many other things that are a higher, or a high priority in the preacher’s life that ruins things down the road. Money and security is often what causes preachers to become less useful for the Lord. Their “bent” on finances seems to smack their professed beliefs about eternity because they personal life does not back up what they preach.

Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

If everything we obtain and retain in this earthly world we will one day be stripped of, then why all the fuss over getting it and enjoying? Preacher, check your own life to see if your life is a living example of what you are telling other people.

But the entering into the ministry is more than ever needed and important, and less and less well qualified men are entering the ministry. Yes there are a lot in the ministry, and more every year, but are they men of God? It doesn’t seem so, because the work of the Lord in general seems to be growing more neglected than ever.

D. Disqualification and removal

See my tract

E. The Qualifications or Requirements of Pastor

Download the Qualifications of Pastor

Cox-Biblical-Pastor-v2-2002-10-21-1.doc (391 downloads )

F. The Transmission of our Faith Across the Generations

One of the concepts of all pastors should be, “When I die or step down, who will take over and continue the work of the Lord in my place?”

Download The Transmission across Generations

2002-06-03-Transmission-across-Generations-1.pdf (358 downloads )