The church, or the Body of Christ, today is split and fractured into literally countless denominations, fellowships, associations, and the like. Many of them will not allow fellowship with a brother or sister from another church or denomination. Many pastors, church leaders, and ministers tend to be very judgmental and look down their noses at others, who do not belong to the same group as they do. They are proud and arrogant. Too many are prone to “judge their brother” because of doctrinal errors on minor points (or what some might call “major points”), when they themselves have major problems with attitudes, hidden sins, and a wrong spirit. They control the flock with false teachings and doctrines, fleecing them financially, and in doing so, these leaders cause major wounds and hurts in the people!

So, before you commit or submit yourself to a church and its leader or leaders and support them financially, it is important that you should follow these guidelines:

• First of all, a church leader or pastor must be a man and not a woman! (See 1. Timothy 3:1) Why? Because the Bible does not allow women to teach men or have authority over them! (See 1. Timothy 2:12)

• Secondly,

“A church leader must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall!” 1. Timothy 3:6 NLT

• Thirdly,

“A church leader or pastor’s life must be above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?” 1. Timothy 3:2-5 NLT

• Furthermore, a church leader must care for the flock of God that is entrusted to him. He is supposed to watch over it willingly, not grudgingly — not for what he will get out of it (moneywise), but because he is eager to serve God. He should never control the people assigned to his care, but lead them by his good example. (See 1. Peter 5:2-3)

• A church leader should never impose the Old Testament Law of Tithing on the people, obligating them to pay 10% of their income, and in doing so, binding them to his church or ministry. Why? Because the Bible clearly says in the New Testament that,

“You must each decide in your heart how much to give!” 1. Corinthians 9:7 NLT

And,

“On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned!” 1. Corinthians 16:2 NLT

• A church leader must preach the word of God! He must be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. He must patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage the people with good teaching, leading the people into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ! (See 2. Timothy 4:2)

• A church’s leaders’ responsibility is to equip the people to do God’s work and build up the church, the body of Christ! (See Ephesians 4:12)

ONLY if a church leader or leaders pass the above qualifications, can you obey them joyfully and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your soul, and they are accountable to God. (See Hebrews 13:17)

The Bible says that you should,

“Remember your leaders who first taught you the word of God! Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and trust the Lord as they do.” Hebrews 13:7 NLT

It also says,

“Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them.” Galatians 6:6 NLT

And furthermore that,

“Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” And in another place, “Those who work deserve their pay!” 1. Timothy 5:17-18 NLT

Conclusively, we should always be like the people of Berea in the Book of Acts, who searched the Scriptures day after day to see if what the apostles Paul and Silas were teaching was indeed the truth! (See Acts 17:11)