About one year ago I was ordained by Grace Bible Church of Conway as one of the pastors. I have been a member here since 2011 and grew in service and responsibility over a few years before being ordained. I’ve learned a lot over the past year but what I’ve learned were not new concepts but rather a deeper and experiential understanding of ministry realities.
Pastors do not run the church.
I am a firm believer in a plurality of pastors to serve as the leaders of a local congregation. (Acts 14:23,Titus 1:5) However, pastors are not sufficient in and of ourselves to carry out the work of the ministry. If I have learned anything this year it is how limited I am in my ability to serve the body of Christ. Simply put, there are needs that I can not meet. For instance, what do you do when someone is diagnosed with cancer or is struggling with sin? I can preach my heart out and give proper words of encouragement or rebuke but I am continually reminded that this is Christ’s church, these are his people. I have a responsibility to labor well but I need the comfort and power of the Spirit. Perhaps this is why pastors are to give themselves to the ministry of the word and prayer. (Acts 6:4) It is easy to preach but impossible to change hearts without the work of God on His church. If I am not praying, I am failing. The ministry must be one that relies upon God.
God owns your time.
The Christian life is one of stewardship. Our time, just like finances and every other gift we have been given, are not to be wasted but to be used well for the glory of God. This is a truth that I was previously aware of but have been increasingly conscience of. As in all vocations, we must work “heartily as for the Lord.” (Col 3:23) Here are two practical applications I’ve experienced. 1. The need in front of you may not be the most important. You must discern a priority of needs. If not, you will find yourself always busy but feeling like you never get anything done. 2. The first hour of the day is the most important. How you start your day is likely how you will finish. If I am going to be spiritually productive, I must spend the first hour “setting my mind on the things above.” (Col 1:2)
Ministry is urgent.
“He said to his disciples “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few,” (Matt 9:37)
This last lesson is short and simple. There always seems to be more work than ability. There is a vast need for the proclamation of the truth of the gospel. In a world of hurt and deception, words of truth pierce with life giving news of hope. The gospel needs to be proclaimed loud and clear and the church needs to be equipped for that purpose.
Now, its time to get to work.
Grace and Peace,