A Checklist for Pastors


Ministry may be complex, but so much of what’s important isn’t up for debate. Put the central pieces in place and you will be well on your way to focusing on what matters most.

In 1 Thessalonians, Paul describes his ministry. In doing so, he sets describes the nature of his ministry while he served among them. His list provides a helpful checklist for anyone in pastoral ministry.

Do you want a strong ministry? Ask yourself how you’re doing in three areas.

A Pure Message

Read 1 Thessalonians 1 and you’ll understand the power of the gospel. Once it took root in Thessalonica, it changed them from idol-worshipers to people of faith, hope, and love (1 Thessalonians 1:3, 9). They were just baby Christians under persecution, but they already served as examples to believers elsewhere (1 Thessalonians 1:7).

All of this was a result of Paul’s relentless focus on the gospel in his ministry there.

For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. (2:1-2)

Paul made it clear that he avoided lies, corruption, and sneaky craftiness because he did not dare tamper with the gospel that had been entrusted to him (1 Thessalonians 2:3-4a).

A good question to ask in ministry: Do we have boldness to declare the gospel? Do we have confidence in its power to change lives? Are we committed to the declare this gospel even when it means suffering and conflict?

A good pastor is committed to the centrality of the gospel message, even when it costs.

Pure Motives

Some preached the gospel from motives that were less than pure (Philippians 1:15). God can still use them despite their motives.

But Paul worked to keep his motives pure:

…so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed — God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. (1 Thessalonians 2:3-6)

Paul identifies a two impure motives

  • a desire to please people
  • a desire for wealth

Paul would have none of it.

A good question to ask as pastors: Am I drawn to people-pleasing or money? How can I guard against an inordinate desire to please people or pastor for material gain? How can I preserve a commitment to serve even when it means displeasing people or taking a financial hit?

Pure Methods

Paul describes his methods of ministry in 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12). He served. He was gentle. He shared not only the gospel but his life. He worked hard. He lived blamelessly among them.

For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12)

Good questions to ask as pastors: Is my ministry characterized by service? Am I gentle? Am I letting people into my life? Am I working hard? Is my life blameless?

A pure message. Pure motives. Pure methods. None of this is surprising, but all of it is powerful. Such a helpful checklist to use to measure our own ministries and to course-correct so we get back on track.

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada