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Pastor to Pastor

Qualifications of Ministers

Here are the shepherds we need.

Calvin on the Ministry (2)

For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. Titus 1.7-9

Doctrine and life
The word “bishop” here is “overseer” and, in the context, equates to “presbyter” or “elder” (cf. v. 5). All who receive the office of elder are therefore shepherds in the Lord’s flock and ministers of His Word. Their duty is to “rule”, that is, to shepherd, the people of God after the example of Christ (Jn. 10; cf. 1 Tim. 3.17). Some have the ministry of the Word as their primary vocation, while others function largely as overseers of the flock, keeping a close watch on the souls of God’s people and nurturing them in His grace (Prov. 27.23; Heb. 13.17; 2 Cor. 12.15).

Shepherding is the primary means of disciple-making, as Jesus Himself demonstrated during His earthly sojourn.

The work of shepherding involves the use of three tools: The Word of God, prayer, and one’s personal example. Calvin understood this well, as he wrote in the Draft Ecclesiastical Ordinances: “The examination [of a candidate for ministry] contains two parts, of which the first concerns doctrine – to ascertain whether the candidate for ordination has a good and holy knowledge of Scripture; and also whether he be a fit and proper person to communicate it edifyingly to the people. Further to avoid all danger of the candidate holding some false opinion, it will be good that he profess his acceptance and maintenance of the doctrine approved by the Church…The second part concerns life, to ascertain whether he is of good habits and conducts himself always without reproach.”

Men called to the work of shepherding must be competent in the whole counsel of God and consistent in their teaching with what has been handed down by our forebears in the faith. They also must be pious, gracious, and generous in giving of themselves for the care of God’s flocks. And – note that word, “maintenance” and the present tense of “conducts” – they must be diligent to improve in these qualifications all their lives.

Resources for Shepherds
For an overview of the work of shepherding, register for the free course, “Shepherding God’s Flock”, at The Ailbe Seminary. This course is aimed at shepherds in all aspects of the life of the church. Watch this brief introductory video. Then register at The Ailbe Seminary (upper right corner on the home page) and enroll for the course. For men who enroll, we will provide a Reader to review your work and answer any questions you may have. 

Here are some resources from our bookstore which can help you as a shepherd improve in all aspects of your calling. The Joy and Rejoicing of My Heart shows you how to get the most out of your Bible reading and study. The workbook, God’s Covenant, provides a survey of Scripture as the unfolding of God’s covenant of promise with His people. And the workbook, Shepherding God’s Flock, can be a great tool for training elders as overseers of the people of God. All these resources are free at The Ailbe Bookstore.

From the Celtic Revival
“Such is the sanctity of His form, that whoever gazed upon His face would be unable to commit a sin thereafter.”

  - In Tenga Bithnua, Irish, 9th century

For what I am I was not and shall not be, and every hour I am different and never stay. For I am always moving from the day of my birth up till the day of death, and throughout the individual days of my life I change, and what things change or how they change I do not see; and I can never see my whole life in one together, and what yesterday I was, today I am not, and thus what today I am, tomorrow I shall not be...”

  - Columbanus, Sermon VI, Irish, 7th century

Read more from the leaders of the Celtic Revival (ca. 430-800 AD) in recent issues of Crosfigell by clicking here. Would you like to learn more about the Celtic Revival? Write to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and I’ll send you our free book, The Celtic Revival: A Brief Introduction, in PDF. Or go to the bookstore and order your free copy of The Legacy of Patrick (click here).

T. M. Moore

Looking for Fellowship with other men?
Perhaps The Fellowship of Ailbe might be a place for you to share, pray, and learn with other men, and to encourage them in their own walk with and work for the Lord. If you’d like to learn more about Membership in The Fellowship of Ailbe, write to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

It is our privilege to provide resources and opportunities to equip and encourage church leaders in building the Lord’s Church and advancing His Kingdom. Please pray that God will move many of those we serve through this ministry to share with us financially in its support. If the Lord moves you to give, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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