22 Questions for Pastoral Self-Evaluation from Tim Keller and David Powlison

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“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:16.

Pastoral ministry is indeed a dangerous calling. Many have been derailed or disqualified in ministry from failing to heed the Apostle Paul’s warning in 1 Timothy 4:16. To prevent damage to the church and Christ’s name, pastors must be vigilant in their personal and ministerial self-examination.

In the first appendix of Practical Wisdom for Pastors: Words of Encouragement and Counsel for a Lifetime of Ministry by Curtis C. Thomas, Timothy Keller and David Powlison provides diagnostic questions to help pastors examine their lives and teaching.

Keller and Powlison’s recommendations for what follows:

  • Read the questions carefully.
  • Think hard.
  • Pray.
  • Seek counsel from others.
  • Plan.
  • Acknowledge that others have gifts that complement yours.

Part I. Personal Qualifications of Effective Ministers: Holiness

A. Humility

1. Do you acknowledge your limitations and needs out of confidence in Christ’s gracious power?
2. Do you demonstrate a flexible spirit out of confidence in God’s control over all things, God’s authority over you, and God’s presence with you?

B. Love

1. Do you have a positive approach to people because of confidence in the power and hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
2. Do you show a servant’s heart to people because you are first and foremost a servant of the Lord?

C. Integrity

1. Are you responsible to God first and foremost?
2. Do you demonstrate a disciplined lifestyle under the Lordship of Jesus?
3. Are your family commitments a proper priority under the Lord?

D. Spirituality

1. Do you demonstrate personal piety and vigor in your relationship with God?
2. Do you demonstrate faithfulness to the Bible and sound doctrine?

Part II: Functional Qualifications of Effective Ministers: Pastoral Skill

A. Nurture

1. Do you show involved caring that comes from genuine love in Christ for your brothers and sisters?
2. Do you counsel people the Lord’s way? [i.e. using biblical principles.]
3. Do you disciple others into maturity in Christ and use of their gifts?
4. Do you give yourself to discipline and to patrolling the boundaries of the church which God bought with His own blood?

B. Communication

1. Do you preach the whole counsel of God?
2. Do you provide education for God’s many kinds of people?
3. Do you lead others to worship the Lord?

C. Leadership

1. Do you lead people into effective work together?
2. Do you administer well, creating a church that is wise in its stewardship?
3. Do you mediate fellowship among God’s people?
4. Do you create cooperative and team ministry within the church and between churches that honor Christ?

D. Mission

1. Do you evangelize those outside of Jesus Christ?
2. Do you show social concern for the many needs of people whom God desires to address?

Conclusion

“You have looked at yourself, hopefully through God’s eyes. Now work with what you have seen. If you could change in one area in the next year, which would it be? Where do you most need to mature in wisdom? What changes in you would bring the greatest glory to God and greatest blessing to other people?

Confess your sins and failings to God. Jesus Christ is your faithful high priest and shepherd. He is the Pastor of pastors. “Come with confidence to the throne of His grace that you may receive mercy and grace to help you in your time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Believe it and do it. The Lord’s strength is made perfect in your weakness.

Now what must you do? Prayerfully set goals. How will you become a more godly person and pastor? Are there people you must ask to pray for you and hold you accountable? Are there Bible passages or books you must study? Are there plans you must make? Do you need advice from a wise Christian about how to go about changing?”


Download a PDF of the entire article.

This material originally appeared in The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Vol. XII, No. 1, Fall 1993.

Kevin Halloran

Servant of the Word. Husband. Blogs weekly at Anchored in Christ. Content Strategist/Trainer in Latin America with Leadership Resources International.

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