Since the major impulse for pastoral ministry is the desire to do the work, I thought it might be helpful to describe what pastoral ministry looks like. I believe that you will see that the most pressing concern of being a pastor is educating the church in the Scriptures.
Since I have been altogether unsatisfied with modern Sunday School literature, I have taken it upon myself to write material for our church. Right now, I am preparing lessons from Hebrews for the adult Sunday School class. They are my guinea pigs for the lessons. I am doing this because I am convinced that we need a more exegetical approach to Sunday School; something with a little more meat to chew on. I also teach that Sunday School class every morning. I have targeted this class because this is the age group that will have to produce the leaders of our church. I can simultaneously model teaching and demonstrate how to study the Bible at the same time.
I also teach a Discipleship class on Sunday nights. Currently, we are going through Mark Dever's Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. While it is not an 'exegetical' study, it is certainly biblical and systematic. Dever's excellent book demonstrates and reiterates the very points that I am attempting to model as pastor: Exegetical, expository preaching is the bedrock of forming a healthy church.
Most importantly, I spend time during the week preparing for the two sermons I deliver on Sunday morning and Sunday night. Currently, we are going through James in the morning and Mark in the evenings. It is during the preaching of the Word that I demonstrate my passion for its truth, the beauty of its power, and the seriousness of gospel proclamation. I view those two sermons as the most important things that I do all week. In that time, I reach more of the church than at any other time. Also, it is the pinnacle of my worship for the week; I both dread and rejoice at the prospect of preaching each Sunday.
Besides these things, I also have the privilege of visiting the sick and the healthy. I go to surgeries, and I make home visits. On a good week, members invite me over or we open our home to someone. These are times of fellowship and opportunities for discipleship. I treasure these times, and I endeavor to make the most of them. I am also helping to oversee the beginnings of a men's ministry, and I help with the women's ministry. That means when all the women are occupied in Bible study and fellowship, I can to help keep the nursery. We are also about to begin a small group men's Bible study in my home, and I'm trying to figure out now exactly when to do it, what to do, and how to get the word out.
If you look at this list of stuff, I hope that you will notice a pattern. That is, you might think that I am obsessed with the Bible. I teach it, preach it, write material for it, talk about it, encourage its study, and etc. If you think that, it is only because it is true. I am staking my life on the fact the the Word of God has the power to change lives. If I could boil down my life into one thing, one passion, one dream, it would be that the people that I shepherd would be a people who love the Scriptures and have learned to handle them responsibly.
Do you have the desire to teach the Bible in such a way? If you have this desire, then you may fit the mold of an overseer. Further, I believe that this desire to teach is evidenced by an insatiable desire for learning. Are you a devourer of theological books? Do you read every piece of material you can get your hands on? Do you have endless questions? Do you spend a significant amount of time pondering Biblical questions and quandries? These are also the marks of a good teacher and shepherd.
THe list of things for a pastor to do are not here exhausted, but I believe that they are an accurate reflection of pastors ought to be doing. If you are of the mind that you are gifted to shepherd the flock of God, these are some of the responsibities that you will have to shoulder. If this delights you, then I say go for it, brother
We Must Do the Impossible
6 months ago