The longer I am in pastoral ministry, the more I grow in my conviction that expositional, shepherd-preaching truly is God’s primary, ordained method to feed and nurture his people. As a preaching pastor in Christ’s Church, I have grown in my desire, above all else, to be faithful to the Word of God in every aspect of my shepherding ministry, particularly the preaching of God’s Word.
Let me share five thoughts and personal convictions the Lord continues to grow in me. I pray you will consider them for your own life and preaching ministry.
Conviction #1: Every preacher should be humbled at the calling God has placed on our lives to preach His Word.
Perhaps more than any other time in my life, I feel the weight of preaching God’s Word. While this is a fearful thing, it is at the same time a very good thing. I need to fear the Lord as I seek to feed His people from His Word. I need to always feel the weight of the responsibility I have as a shepherd-preacher, as do you. I pray the Lord will use each of us to faithfully proclaim His Word, that His people might know the love, grace, and joy of Jesus as they live to glorify the King. Moreover, I pray the Lord would continually humble me as I approach the text, week in and week out. I pray he would be the center of all my preaching and that the fame of Jesus would be the end goal of all I say from the pulpit. I pray the same for you.
Conviction #2: We need more shepherd-preachers who are willing to serve the same congregation for the long haul.
In studying the likes of Charles Simeon, Cotton Mather, John Stott, and John Piper, among others, I am reminded of the absolute importance and blessing of long-haul pastoral commitment to a local church body. In a time when many pastors rarely stick at one particular church for more than three to five years, it is always refreshing to read of so many pastors who remained in the same location for 30, 40, even 50 or more years!
Reading about the many ways the Lord uses the same congregation to mature men as both pastors and followers of Christ as a result of staying with one congregation for years, is inspiring and convicting. Reading of the various struggles and joys that come with this kind of pastoral commitment is both encouraging and challenging to think about for my own ministry context and the work God might do in my life and the lives of others over the long haul.
Conviction #3: There is great power in living a life of genuine love as a preacher.
The most vital and potent aspect to a preacher’s effective pulpit ministry is living a life of genuine love amongst their flock on a daily basis.
We were created to be people who love others sacrificially. To do unto others as we would have them do unto us. To love our neighbors as ourselves. Surely, this is true for those of us called to give our lives away in pastoral ministry. The most explicit way Jesus demonstrated this kind of love throughout his earthly ministry was in humbly and sacrificially serving others. Jesus did not come to be served (though he could have), but instead he came to serve.
There is no other time when you and I are more like Jesus Christ than when we sacrificially love and serve others in our congregation. To love people sacrificially means loving them until it hurts. To love those no one else loves. To help those in our churches no one else wants to help.
It is not enough for you and I as shepherds of God’s people to simply see the needs of the flock. Many people see the needs. We must take action and serve willingly and joyfully as representatives of Jesus to our people.
I pray, by God’s grace, that the Lord will help us to more consistently demonstrate Christ’s love through humble service of the leaders, members, and visitors within our congregation. I pray God would help us to be known, not simply as “the guy who preaches each week,” but as the chief servant and lover of our people! I believe this kind of authentic, joyful, Christ-like love for others will glorify the Lord and cause others to seek to love people with radical, sacrificial, Christ-like love.
This love is the kind that brings credibility and power as we stand up to preach to the flock each weekend.
This post originally appeared on Mark’s blog, Preach Lead Love.,
Published March 10, 2020