A minister must be approachable. That is to say, people must not be afraid to approach him to ask questions, or simply to talk to him. If a pastor cannot allow his opinions, his methods or his decisions to be questioned or discussed it reveals either arrogance or insecurity, or both. Here we are not talking about basic doctrines (which are neither opinions nor methods) but plans, projects, ideas and opinions on methodology and procedures. Some men keep themselves so aloof that the church members feel they cannot get near him. That is a sad situation. The shepherd must know his sheep. On the other hand, a minister needs to preserve a measure of dignity consistent with the importance of the message he proclaims. “Familiarity breeds contempt”. It does not help the cause of the Gospel if the man of God is just one of the lads, always telling jokes and fooling about. That is not to say that a minister will never tell a funny story. There is great value in humour in the right place and at the right time. But if that is what he is mainly known for there is something wrong. Incidentally it goes without saying that a minister should never tell shady or off-colour jokes, nor should he enjoy them when others tell them! One of the characteristics of an elder is that he should be “given to hospitality” so he should readily welcome people into his home. Church members should know that in the pastor they have a friend who is always ready to listen to them, counsel them and pray with them.

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