Summary: The first message at the beginning of a new ministry provides an opportunity to explain one’s approach to ministry and preaching.
My Ministry: First Sermon of a New Ministry
Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister
First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO
My name is Roger Thomas and I am your new preacher. I am proud to be part of you, to live and work with you. I hope in time that you will able to say that you are proud to have us as a part of you.
As you know we have been moving all week. It has been a week of hurrying up and waiting. The moving van arrived five hours late on Tuesday to load our furniture. It then arrived a day and a half late to unload us finally getting here Friday afternoon. But we are here and only a little worse for the wear.
The piles of cardboard boxes are gradually disappearing. I must admit, however, that I did have to go to the garage this morning to find a tie to wear to church. But this too will pass, eventually.
I want to express our gratitude for all of the many kindnesses that so many of you have shown to Rose and me. We are especially appreciative for all the work that has been done on the parsonage. It is simply beautiful. We know that a lot of hard work has gone into getting it ready. Many of you have reached out to us, expressing interest and concern about how things have been going. Many of you have prayed for a speedy sale of our house in Aurora. We are happy to report that we signed a contract on the day before Thanksgiving and will close shortly before Christmas. We have been overwhelmed with the warmth and friendliness of the church and community. Thank you!
Today I begin my ministry with you. As I do, I want to layout my mission and goal and purpose in ministry. I want to expose for you my deepest convictions. I want to make some promises that I will do my best to keep in the years ahead. I want to tell a bit of who I am and what makes me tick.
To do this I want to examine a passage of scripture that I consider my life text. I don’t remember why or when, I just know that for over twenty five years I have regarded this passage as one of a handful of scriptures that explain for me what ministry is all about. My text is Col 1:28-29. I want to read a sampling of the entire first chapter of Colossians to set it in context. Please follow along.
“3We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints—5the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel 6that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. (Col. 1:3 through Col. 1:6)
9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col. 1:9 through Col. 1:14)
25I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—26the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.28We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. (Col. 1:25 through Col. 1:29).
This little letter by the Apostle/Missionary/Church Planter Paul of Tarsus was written to a band of Christian believers to encourage them in their faith and strengthen them for the task of shining bright for Christ in a difficult and challenging world. He begins with his appreciation and aspirations for these believers and then explains his ministry for them. He explains what makes him tick, what turns his crank, what keeps him going in ministry. I want to claim those same ministry passions for my own today. Note in these two verses Paul’s five ministry passions. Whatever your life’s work in some way these same passions can and should be yours as a follower of Jesus Christ. They are mine as a preacher.