Summary: A Pastors advice to his son on the day of his ordination to the Christian ministry. Son, keep close to Christ; keep close to your people; and by the grace of God seek to bring the two together.

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The Call to Pastoral Ministry.

Service of Ordination into the Christian ministry

Scripture readings: 2nd Corinthians 4:1-10, 16 – 18; 1st Peter 5:1- 4.

There is so much that could be said at this time, but my message can be summed up in the words of advice that a pastor father gave to his son on the day of his ordination. “Son, keep close to Christ; Keep close to your people and by the grace of God seek to bring them together.”

First of all: Keep close to Christ. The Bible says, guard your heart. And at the heart of your ministry there must be a personal relationship with your Lord and Savior. The world is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men and women. With God, people are more important than programs or methods.

As church leaders we cannot possibly fulfill all the demands made upon our time. One thing I've learned the hard way is the importance of setting priorities in ministry. After four years of full-time ministry I was suffering from a breakdown in health and emotional burnout. Then I committed myself to the priorities of prayer, people in need and proclamation of the Gospel in word and deed. I have not always followed these perfectly but the discipline has literally changed my life. I suggest that your priorities be like the spokes of a wheel with Christ and the word of God at the center. The hub is the most important part of the wheel. So the hub or center of your life should be your devotional life, your time spent in prayer and personal Bible study.

No Christian is greater than his or her prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing with his or her own soul and the souls of their people. God has to do the work in us, before he can do a work through us, because the work that we do flows out of the life that we live. Ministry without character, without integrity, is only religious activity! It simply will not last. I believe your character in Christ likeness will be your greatest asset over the long haul. Remember, talent is a gift but character is a choice.

There is something awesome and wonderful about one's ordination into the Christian ministry. It is a recognition by members of the body of Christ that here is an individual called by God to communicate by word and deed, the unsearchable riches of Christ. For you................... this service is not the end but we trust the beginning of a very fruitful and meaningful ministry for the glory of God and the building of Christ's Kingdom here on earth. I was glad to hear you say that you really felt called by God to this special ministry. There will be times in the days and years ahead when you will need that strong call of God to fall back upon, especially if and when things get tough. Vance Havner once said, “In today's world, a pastor needs three things: the mind of a scholar, the heart of a child and the hide of a rhinoceros. Your hardest job is to learn how to toughen your hide without hardening your heart or softening your brain.”

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