Happy New Year! I thought I would begin the new year on my blog with a word for my fellow preachers/pastors on the task of faithfully serving in ministry.
Over the last year, I’ve encountered a lot of chatter on whether or not our task should be leading or following. In other words, should we be concerned primarily with casting vision, coordinating and equipping people for the vision or should be concerned with being disciples of Jesus. Perhaps I have misunderstood the case and if so, then please correct me.
With that being said, it seems like we are painting an issue into an “either/or” question that, at bare minimum, should be viewed as a “both/and” concern. Wherever there is an organized group of people, such as a local church, there must be leadership casting vision, coordinating efforts to accomplish this vision, and equipping people to live that vision out with their gifts/talents. From a Christian and church perspective, that vision needs to be a gospel-sized vision that is wholly dependent upon God. However, the leadership must first be fully committed disciple of Jesus. So it seems that this is a both/and issue.
However, in my estimation, simply saying that we are followers of Jesus and leaders of Jesus’ people does not fully describe our task. Whatever we think about how much the “job description” of ministry has deviated or evolved from the practice of Apostolic Christianity, what we have today is what it is. Further more, it’s not likely to change unless abruptly abandon many local churches as if we’re just wiping the slate clean (which, in my judgment, would be terribly wrong), we are left with the “Preacher/Pastor” who may serve with a team of “associates” as well as serve with a group of elders/shepherds and recognized ministry-leaders (deacons).
As the “Preacher/Pastor” we are called to preach and teach from the scriptures. That is a task that requires of us to wear the hats of a prophet, priest, and pastor, depending on what the circumstances are. We are also called to the task of counseling with members, be it marriage counseling, grief counseling, conflict resolution, etc… Then there is the evangelistic, disciple-making aspect where we are making connections with visitors and people in order to help lead them into a deep faith in Jesus. We are also often asked to be the church’s representative to the community, acting as the liaison between the church, community, and whatever third-party may be involved in whatever circumstance. Lastly but most importantly, we are still called to be faithful to our spouses and children, recognizing that they are our first ministry.
Of course, all of this requires attention to prayer, scripture, devotion, etc…
Therefore we recognize the task of ministry as one that demands great responsibility of us. None of that responsibility can be accomplished faithfully without faithfulness to Jesus Christ first but none the less, we have a great calling that demands great responsibility of us.
You, who are my fellow Preachers/Pastors… You inspire me! I read your tweets, Facebook status-updates, and blog posts. I am both challenged and inspired to faithfully serve in my own calling to ministry. Now I just want to encourage you to recognize what you likely are already aware of, the comprehensive task of ministry we have.
Be faithful to that task! Be faithful to that for which you have been called and may God , the Father, Son, and Spirit, bless your ministry throughout 2012 and beyond!