Honoring Those Who Teach The Word of God
There is a season of the year which is set aside to appreciate those who have the Christ apportioned gift of pastor. (Ephesians 4:11-16) Pastoral Appreciation often is celebrated through a world view. Like: Taking a pastor and his family out to dinner, sending a card to the pastor with names of the congregation on it or having a time of recognition during the service on a Sunday morning. Other things have been done to show honor to the Lord’s servant over the years. Yet, we still see a transition of pastors from pulpit to pulpit before seeing their work coming to a healthy completion. The church is called to discipleship, when a pastor moves on from one pulpit to the next without someone being Biblically mentored into the position of pastoring or shepherding (Greek: ποιμήν poimḗn) the people of God, then God’s best for the congregation was not fully enjoyed.
The Holy Spirit has given a gift for instructing the people of God so they may know His will for them and how to live in a manor worthy of the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 2:12) The people of God are told, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies (προφητεία prophēteía).” The person with the gift of New Testament prophecy proclaims the word of the Lord for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. (“Martin, D. M. (1995). 1, 2 Thessalonians (Vol. 33, p. 184). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.) 1 Corinthians 14:3-4 says, “…the one who prophesies speaks to the people for their up-building, encouragement and consolation…. The one who prophesies build’s up the church.” Many have been edified, consoled and aroused to service for the Lord through someone exercising their gift to proclaim the written Word of God. In this context we are honoring those who exercise this Holy Spirit gift for the forth-telling of God’s will and message. (Barclay, W. (Ed.). (1975). The letters to the Corinthians (p. 128). Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster John Knox Press.)
True Biblical honoring of the person who has the call to publicly read the Scriptures is to enable that person to devote themselves to that task. (1Timothy 4:13) The Apostle Paul told Timothy, …devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have.” (1 Timothy 4:13) The world view and influence of honoring pastors every October has not fixed the tragic results of preachers leaving the ministry of preaching the Word. Of those who would give me an answer to my question, “What is your greatest frustration?” Number one answer was, family and the congregation they serve not protecting their time to fulfill the ultimate call of “Preach the Word.” (2 Timothy 4:2)
In 1994 at the North American Conference of Evangelist, the Billy Graham team put together a great number of Proclaimers of God’s Word to Preach the Word to encourage a new generation of preachers. They were taught the message to proclaim, the character of the messenger, and the new methods to use. Logos Bible software and Sermon Central are host websites with Biblical teachings which build up and equip others to preach the Word of God around the world.
This October, how do you honor the Lord’s gift to the church (Ephesians 4:12) those who are given the charge to preach (2 Timothy 4:2) the Word of God?
Keeping Biblical Integrity in Ministerial Ordinations
God ordained ministers of the Gospel present a high level of integrity in conduct of life, in proclamation of Biblical truth, and loyalty to the calling God has placed upon those who serve Him. The Apostle Paul exhorted Timothy, “…set the example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. …devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given to you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:12b-16)
According to First Nation Church and Ministry, Kansas does not maintain a central registry of members of the clergy, and you are not required to undergo any specific formal training. People have seen this freedom presented by Kansas law on ministerial ordination as an opportunity to cheapen the pulpit. Thus, anyone can get on line, log onto different on line ordination websites, make their way through the on line process, after paying a minimal fee, have ordination papers enabling applicants to perform marriage ceremonies, do baby baptisms, and other religious ceremonies. One on-line sites writes, “Your complete ceremonial minister credentials package… includes all of the documents you’ll need to legally perform all life’s celebrations including weddings, etc. Ordination as ceremonial minister is valid and accepted anywhere in the world.” Most on line ministry ordination services do not inquire about the doctrine the applicants are teaching, examine the candidate’s conduct of life or if he/she is living in a reverent fear of the Lord. Whenever compromise is allowed in ministry ordination, people embrace false teachings, accept lifestyles that break God’s heart and continue to mislead the spiritually blind.
Holy Spirit anointed leaders take serious the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to Timothy. They spend years doing the hard work of study, so they can determine their Holy Spirit given gifts. These ministerial candidates allow themselves to be examined by spiritual leaders who have proved themselves faithful to God in the exercising of their Spiritual gifts. After three to five years of study, preparation and examination comes the school of hard knocks. For a determined number of years, set by the overseers of the ministry a candidate desires to be ordained with, the candidate must prove himself/herself to be faithful: 1.) Can the ordination candidate be found faithful to exercise his/her gift through sacrificial love in trials, through the temptations of success and for the glory of the Lord. It is about Jesus, not the candidate. 2.) Can the ordination candidate pray through to a healthy completion his/her gift through “prophecy” (prophēteía) which is Holy Spirit revelation or direction in the call God has set before him/her. (Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers; Acts 13:1-3) 3.) Can the ordination candidate get others to join hands with him/her in ministry in hopes to influence others to respond to their work in the Lord? (Lea, T. D., & Griffin, H. P. (1992). 1, 2 Timothy, Titus (Vol. 34, p. 139). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.; Numbers 27:18-20; Deuteronomy 34:9) This time tested system has kept the church of Christ in line with the Apostle Paul’s instructions, “Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands.” (1 Timothy 5:22)
Ordinations embraced by the conjuncture of mankind have no influence on God called, Christ purchased, Holy Spirit anointed men and women sold out to the Glory of the Lord. Which one do you look to for spiritual nourishment, for performing religious ceremonies and Biblical truths?
There is no greater blessing than to see obedient Christians exercise their gifts under the guidance of agape love. Whether it be the gift of helps, administration, evangelism or any of the other gifts clearly described in the Bible, each one is equally important to God, useful to Jesus Christ and can be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
In 2 Corinthians 1: 11 there is a very special person that pastors are especially thankful for–prayer warriors. The greatest missionary of all time, the apostle Paul wrote, “As you help us by your prayers, then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” (2 Corinthians 1:11) Paul writes this as a statement of fact proclaiming that it was the power of God in answer to prayer that enabled him and the ministry team he was working with to complete all that God had for them to do.
Paul’s life was often in danger and it was only by the hand of God that he had been delivered out of it. Paul also wrote “…But this happened that we might not rely upon ourselves but on God.” (2 Corinthians 1:9) Yes, Paul knew that it was God who protected them through and delivered them out of their great perils. He also was not so foolish as to deny or undervalue the secondary cause. Having first praised God earlier in this chapter, 2 Corinthians 1:11 shows how Paul remembers with great gratitude the earnest prayers of many loving prayer warriors.
The greatest ministry to the pastor of any Bible-believing church is the ministry of fasting and prayer. The church that looks past the world’s way of doing business and gets serious about praying for their spiritual leaders is the church that God will use to reach the lost and make true disciples of Christ. Your pastor faces great perils every day, the flesh often tempts him, the world continually draws him and the devil attacks in many different ways. Most pastors every week search desperately for times of fasting, prayer, Bible reading and study. Spending time alone with the Lord is the pastor’s food for strength to fulfill God’s calling. Pastors, now and especially in the near future, need the faithful prayers of those they oversee for the Lord.
An American preacher became the pastor of a London Church. On the first Sunday there were many converts. For the next year the Lord’s messages were delivered with power and many lost souls came to Christ. At the end of that first year this pastor was called to the bedside of a vary ill member of the church who told him how she had passed through a period of rebellion and spiritual darkness because of poverty, lameness and sickness. Upon repentance God revealed to her that He had given her the privilege of intercession. On the Saturday night before the pastor’s first Sunday this woman spent the entire night in prayer and had done that every Saturday night since. As her weak voice ceased, the pastor knew that this wonderful child of God had most certainly ministered to him and the Lord.
October is pastoral appreciation month. Will you be the one to uphold your pastor in agape love? Sacrificial prayer warriors have the most appreciation of their pastors.