Summary: A sermon to those who are entering the pastoral ministry.
"Lessons To Be Learned From A Minister’s Minister"
The perfect pastor preaches exactly 20 minutes, then sits down, He condemns sin but never hurts anyone’s feelings. He works from 8 AM to 10 PM in every type of work, from preaching to custodial service. He makes $60 a week, wears good clothes, buys good books regularly, has a nice family, drives a good car, and gives $30 a week to the church. He also stands ready to contribute to every good work that comes along. He is 26 years old and has been preaching for 30 years. He is tall and short, thin and heavy set, handsome. He has one brown eye and one blue eye; hair parted in the middle, left side, and right side, dark and straight, blonde and wavy. He has a burning desire to work with teenagers, and spends all his time visiting with older folks. He spends all his time with a straight face because his sense of humor keeps him seriously dedicated to his work. He makes 15 visits a day on church members, spends all his time evangelizing the unchurched, and can always be found at the office.
There is, no doubt, all sorts of advise available today on how a minister can be sure to fulfill his calling. But I think one will be hard pressed to find better advise than that given to Timothy by Paul. One would be hard pressed to find anyone better qualified to give advise on the ministry than the Apostle Paul, who was, indeed, a "minister’s minister."
1. Paul’s Exhortation - vs. 1-5
As Paul indicates in verse 5c, if one will give his attention to the things Paul exhorts them to do, he will "discharge all the duties of his ministry." There are six things Paul mentions in this exhortation to Timothy. He says that the minister must give attention to . . .
A. Preaching God’s Word - v. 2a
"One of the best proofs of the inspiration of the bible is that it has withstood so much preaching."
- A.T. Robertson
Too few pastors give proper attention to the chief responsibility that is theirs to fulfill week in and week out. Don’t neglect this great responsibility and privilege. The preacher has opportunity to influence more people at one time when he preaches on Sunday than he could possibly do through visiting in homes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some advise:
1) Be real in your preaching - be yourself.
2) Be responsible in your preaching - remember your responsibility to:
A) The context of Scripture
B) The congregation of the saints
C) Christ, our Savior
"I preach as though Christ was crucified yesterday, rose from the dead today, and is coming back tomorrow!"
- Martin Luther
3) Be relevant in your preaching - 3 characteristics:
B) Explanation - The challenge of preaching is to take truth that is and make it truth that matters.
B. Preparation for service - v. 2b
"He who ceases to learn cannot adequately teach."
Too many preachers enjoy hearing themselves talk. We have two ears and one mouth, therefore, we should listen twice as much as we talk. Since preachers are called on to talk so much, it is all the more important for us to listen and learn from others. Preparation for service does not end when one graduates from school - it is a life long commitment.
C. People-Centered Ministry - v. 2c-4
A pastor must remember that he is not in the theology business or the church administration business; but he is in the people business. Therefore, a pastor must seek to:
1) Love his people
2) Listen to his people
3) lead his people
A) Encourage them toward maturity.
B) Equip them for ministry.
C) Empower them for mission.
And in the midst of it all, don’t forget that the most important people in the church for you to love, listen to and lead is your family.
"If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?"
- 1 Timothy 3:5 (NIV)
D. Positive mental attitude - v. 5a
It has been said that "a leader is one who keeps his head when everyone around him is losing theirs." The pastor needs to "keep his head," if he is to be effective for God. The key to this is an attitude of positive faith.
Todd Hunter conducted an in-depth survey on pastoral success. All the pastors he researched were hard workers. But some of them were had lasted, while others had not. The difference? 95% of those who had lasted had continual positive attitudes, while 82% of those who did not had continual negative attitudes.