Preparing Leaders for Tomorrow
The Christian ministry is more than preaching and teaching. To many, this is the most attractive aspect of being a pastor of Christ’s church. But it is far from all there is to ministry.
When asked to teach a two-semester class on pastoral ministry, I was provided an opportunity to think through and communicate the serious nature of presuming to call one’s self a minister of the Gospel. It is a daunting task.
Over a period of about eight weeks, seven pastoral aspirants and I spent our Lord’s Day mornings considering such topics as The Man of God and His Calling; The man of God and His Companion; The Man of God and His Character; The Man of God and His Congregation; The Man of God and His Challenges; The Man of God and His Children; The man of God and His Crown. This semester was about pastoral ministry and leadership, those aspects of ministry that undergird the preaching ministry of the Pastor. Every effort was made to challenge the students to take a serious look at their call to the ministry. The call to the ministry is often viewed from a subjective perspective, while paying inadequate or no heed to the more important objective aspects found in I Timothy chapter 3. In fact, we learned that all of ministry is guided by the objective truth of God’s Word, especially the I Timothy passage. We approached the class under the premise that what every Christian should be, the man of God “must” be. He cannot be perfect, but he must be exemplary in his personal life, his marital life, his parental life, his social life, his financial life. Our goal was to lead every man to enter and execute the ministry with the utmost care and commitment. Pray that our Lord will cause these things to bear fruit in the lives of those who attended.
But while preaching the Word is not the only aspect of Christian ministry, it is certainly primary. One cannot preach the Word effectively without the foundational matters mentioned above, but he must set his sights on preaching the Word of God effectively. This will be the focus of the second semester of pastoral ministry and leadership. The preaching of the Word is not the vocation of one who has a “gift for gab”. It is the weighty responsibility of one whose calling and consuming passion is to communicate God’s truth by the help of the Holy Spirit. This requires preparation, proficiency, and plodding, persistent labor. It requires a man to be unwaveringly committed to understanding and communicating the text of Scripture and avoiding man-made ideas of relevance and attractiveness. It requires exposition; the proclamation or teaching of a text of Scripture in its Biblical and historical context based on sound inductive study with a view to sound Biblical application.
But how. This will be our focus in the coming weeks. Pray that God’s Spirit will make it happen. “Who is sufficient for these things?” In the words of Sinclair Ferguson; “Thank God our sufficiency is in the Lord Jesus Christ.”