Please take five minutes to watch this video of excerpts from Dr. Adrian Rogers. It was produced by Love Worth Finding Ministries. All I can say is: Thank you Lord! What a Savior!!
I was reading a blog the other day with a post by Thabiti Anyabwile entitled: Everything I Know about Pastoral Ministry I Learned Riding with Pastors, that really spoke to me. In the blog, he addresses pastoral wisdom gained over the years, with much of it coming from just listening to other pastors talk as he traveled with them in an automobile. I suppose there is much to be said for actually listening to what others are saying once in a while rather than immediately contemplating how we will respond. Anyway, I have been unable to get away from one particular bit of wisdom shared in the blog:
“Teach and pray. Love and stay.”
That’s a short summary of pastoral ministry from Mark Dever. Teach the people
God’s word. Pray down heaven on the people. Love the people. And, if possible,
stay with the people over the long haul.
Take just a moment and let that sink in. There is an abundance of wisdom in that simple approach to ministry. In fact, I would go so far as to say, every pastor ought to make this a priority in their own ministries. Let's consider these four essential elements and the enormity of such thinking.
Teach - I will admit, something within me caused me to pause and think about that one for just a moment. I was raised under the perception that a man hadn't preached unless he had ran the isles, sweated his shirt wet, and because of his tendency to "spit" while preaching, those who knew him would try not to sit on the front row. I was raised around that type of preaching, and have no problem with it, if that is the way the preacher is wired. However, it is beneficial to incorporate teaching into preaching. I have heard some say certain individuals were more of a "teacher" than they were a "preacher." That is referring to style, not content. Men we need to consistently, and passionately, feed our congregations a steady diet of the Word. Take the time to study out a passage, or better yet, a complete book of the Bible, and teach that to your people. They will thank you for it. We have not been called to preach current events, or the latest social trends. We have been called to preach the Bible.
Pray - This one seems to be a "no-brainer" but I fear we fail in regard to prayer many times. I know the Lord has dealt with my heart concerning this responsibility as of late. We must be committed to pray if we are to honor the Lord and see fruit among our people. We must be men of prayer, not just an hour or so before we preach, but every day. We need to pray for our people, their needs, our services, those who serve alongside us within the church, and for those who do not know Christ as their Savior. I am convinced the lack of power in our lives and services is directly related to our lack of prayer. Make prayer a priority!
Love - It is imperative that we love people if we are to be effective in ministry. I know that some are easier to love than others, but we have been commanded of our Lord to love others as we love ourselves. I heard that a preacher once said, "Ministry wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the people." Sadly, I fear many preachers have developed that mentality, even if they are unaware of it. We must love our people, regardless of where they are in the journey. We must love them in the good times and the bad, when they agree with us and when they don't. Pastor, love your people in such a way they will know you love them. How long has it been since you told your congregation you loved them? I don't do it as often as I should, but I do tell Fellowship I love them from time to time.
Stay - I realize there are no perfect churches because they are all made up of imperfect people. Every church has its problems. You may be in the midst of trouble right now, but I can assure you, there will be problems at any church you pastor. We must be sensitive to the leadership of the Lord. When He reveals our ministry is finished in a particular place, we must follow wherever He leads. However, we must not jump ship before the Lord is finished with us in a particular place. I know men who are enjoying the best years of their ministry right now, but they were forced to endure some difficulties along the way to get to where they are. We must be committed to staying where the Lord has placed us as long as it pleases Him! If you know you are where God called you to serve, serve faithfully until He releases your burden.
These were just a few things that I have been dealing with this week and I hope they have been a help and challenge to you in the ministry you are currently serving. Preach (teach) and pray. Love and stay!
I have been thinking lately about the changes we are forced to face in life. Most people don't do well with major changes in life. We tend to be creatures of habit and enjoy things remaining relatively the same in our lives. Change requires us to step outside our comfort zone and embrace something new or different.
Although I had experienced changes along the way, my life had remained within the bounds of comfort, until a few years ago. I had lived in the same area all my life and had attended the same church since I was saved as a young boy, until I went to pastor Pilgrim Baptist Church. Pilgrim was a ten minute drive from our house, so even then, life was comfortable for me and my family. Then the Lord called us to serve in Mount Airy, approximately 75 miles from where I was born and raised. (I always try to keep things in context. I am aware many have been called of God to relocate half-way around the world, and to them, 75 miles would be local.) But, for us, it was a major change in our lives. Three years have now passed and God has been faithful to us as we continue this new path in life. It may seem difficult for some to understand, but I am as happy now as I have ever been. I have learned that contentment is not obtained through physical locations, but being where God wants you to be. When we respond to God, by following Him in faith, He will provide what we need, even in a new environment.
Change is once again looming on our horizon. Makayla, our oldest daughter, graduated from Mount Airy High School last Saturday and she is planning to attend East Carolina University in the fall. Greenville is a four hour drive from Mount Airy. I am very proud of Makayla and the young woman she has become. She wants to pursue a career in nursing and I am certain she will do well. However, it will be difficult to adjust to her not being with us as before. Once again we must walk by faith and trust the Lord. I am confident His grace and guidance will be sufficient.
I have no way of knowing what you are facing in life at this moment, but I am certain the Lord does. He may be leading you in a path that is completely outside the bounds of comfort for you. If so, embrace the changes that lie ahead and follow God by faith. Change is inevitable in all our lives, but our Lord has promised to never leave nor forsake us. As long as you are walking with the Lord, He will provide for you and supply the peace you need as you face an uncertain and sometimes uncomfortable future.
I am Chris Benfield, pastor of Shady Grove Baptist Church in Boonville, NC. Here you will find some of my thoughts, particularly relating to the church and serving our Lord.
If you would like to subscribe to the blog, click the RSS Feed tab above and it will allow you to subscribe.