Pastoral Ministry

2000 Sermons, 25 Years - Some Observations (Part 1)

My filing system shows that I recently preached my 2000th sermon. This year I will complete 25 years of pastoral ministry. Praise God for His grace. I want to write down some of the things I have learned along the way. I think I’ll do it in 3-4 separate posts, including what I have learned about preaching, about ministry and churches, about people, and about God.

Here are some things I have learned about preaching, in no particular order.

Preparing and preaching a sermon is like having a baby. You labor over it for many hours, sometimes right up until the minute you start speaking, and then it is born. If you’ve prepared diligently, something good will come out. It isn’t always pretty, but it has potential.

6181 reads

Every Pastor is a POET

From Paraklesis, a resource of Baptist Bible Seminary (Summer, 2014). Used by permission.

What exactly is the pastor’s job? Some churches expect their pastor to speak 20 times a month. Another church demands only three sermons each month. In some churches, the pastor cannot delegate the setting of the temperature on the thermostat. Different churches go to the other extreme and require the pastor to preach and do not let him do anything else.

One pastor took a survey of his church members to find out what their expectations were for how he spent his time. One person put down more hours than there are in a week for the pastor’s average work week.

While tradition plays a role in understanding what a pastor’s job description happens to be, it is the Bible that should prescribe the details of the pastor’s job. God has designed the office of pastor, elder, or overseer. If churches are out of balance or are missing some of what is needed, they will suffer loss in their ministry. The acronym POET is a helpful learning device for remembering what the Bible teaches about the pastor’s role in the local church.

2027 reads

Barna: "less than 10 percent of pastors" willing to speak about controversial issues they believe the Bible addresses

"Many theologically conservative pastors agree the Bible speaks to key issues of the day, but research indicates only a handful of them say they will speak [about these issues]."

5726 reads

So You Want to Be in “The Ministry”

When I was in college, a lot of my friends were preparing to go into “The Ministry.” Some were full of holy zeal for mission work, some had plans for pastoral ministry, and some were simply caught up in the whirlwind of surrender. The “Preacher Boys” dated and married the girls called to be “Pastors’ Wives” and we all dreamed of future service.

Somehow when the dust had settled, I found myself married to one of those “Preacher Boys” despite no pressing need to be a “Pastor’s Wife” or to be in vocational ministry. Our first years together were spent finishing up school, going through the process of ordination, and eventually launching out into “The Ministry.” But nearly a decade and a half later, I’ve learned a few things. And most of them bear no resemblance to what I thought I knew.

I was reminded of this today when I read this piece from Jared Wilson about watching one of his parishioners waste away in hospice. Wilson is a popular blogger and author, but he spends most of his time in the trenches as a pastor, and this piece particularly captures the realities of ministry. The pain, the heartbreak, the inexplicable hope of the gospel. The joy of watching people triumph over death through the power of Christ.

We didn’t talk about these things in college.

13605 reads

Pages