Sunday, 16 June 2019

The Work of Pastors

Scripture: Ephesians 4 v 11 - 15: "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
 12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
 13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 
 14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
 15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:"

The Pastor is a Shepherd who cares for his sheep, his congregation, who loves them and rejoices in their victories and grieves with them in times of loss.

The Pastor feeds his sheep with the Bread of Heaven, the Word of God and his true role is to form disciples of Jesus out of each of his sheep.  Sheep follow so they need to follow by example, by instruction, by training.

Pastors must perfect the saints (born again Christians) for the work of the ministry.  There were no seminaries back in the day of the Apostles.  The church was the training ground, the on-the-spot schooling, that guided disciples into the anointed ministries that the pastor's wisdom and prayers revealed was God's will.

I have heard that many seminaries are like cemeteries.  That dedicated and fired up Christians enter with great expectations but hit a wall once they enter them.  The enemy knows where to catch aspiring ministers of God, and with few exceptions he is waiting for the new recruits.  

We need to get back to God's way of doing things, of in-house training, of pastors selecting the cream of the crop and working with them according to their talents.  Putting them into areas in the church that enhances their talents and enriches those around them.

Separate the prayer warriors and get them to lead those who come to prayer meetings.  Find those who are gifted to teach and let them run the Bible studies.  Find those ladies who are excellent carers and task them with visiting the elderly and the sick, bringing the needs to the prayer group.  

Pastors manage your flock God's way and you will turn them into true disciples, fervent evangelists, praying pastors, diligent teachers, effective prophets and some apostles worthy of the name.  The Holy Spirit will work with you and your congregation will be your helpers.  It will take many burdens off your shoulders and give you the opportunity to do the work of the ministry.

Our closing prayer is from A.W. Tozer:

Gracious Father in heaven, I am a pastor in the flock of God and I confess that I am a troubled man. It is too late in my ministry for me to be engaged week after week with men and women who do not hear Thy pleading voice. 
O Lord, we often wonder if Thou wilt be forced to turn from those who have heard all of the Bible truths over and over again, in order to find willing and responsive listeners elsewhere? 
We recognize that Thou hast given us plain warnings in Thy Word. We remember all too well that the Jews of Jesus' day held stubbornly to their attitudes of presumption: "We are Abraham's descendents. We know who we are. If God is going to bless anyone, He is going to bless us." 
Yet at that very time those same self-serving men were planning to kill their promised Messiah, the eternal Son whom Thou hadst sent in the fullness of time. We pray earnestly, 0 God, that we may not be found among those with hardened hearts, no longer able to hear Thy voice.

A. W. Tozer Sermon: A Prayer of Concern