What occupies the majority of your time as a pastor?
If you’re assignment and giftings are anything like mine, you probably spend large blocks of time working toward the next opportunity for spoken ministry.
However, every pastor and every pastoral assignment is different. With these certain differences, each of us must decide where the majority of our time should be proactively focused.
I certainly recognize that I have a responsibility to develop our leadership and lead the congregation I serve. Recently though, I have come to the conclusion that as the leading voice in the pulpit, there are three things that I must do.
Assuming every person in your audience is in a right relationship with God is eternally dangerous. Presuming every individual in your congregation is presently right with God is just as erroneous. Of course, the smaller the congregation, the more accurate your discernment could be in this matter. However, I don’t mind the risk of offending the unchurched or the over-churched in my congregation. I sense a divine mandate to tell each person how to get right with God.
Sometimes I know exactly who needs to be taught and what they need to be taught. Usually, I sense the leadership of the Spirit. He’s guiding me to teach believers from a certain theme or topic. Other times, I might sense He wants me to teach through a book of the Bible or simply preach a few messages from a certain portion of Scripture. But at all times, I know God has called me to teach believers how to live right for God. I accomplish this by staying in communion with Christ and staying in His Word. Because of this compulsion, I rarely allow myself to get too involved with other outside interests.
Every believer needs to learn how to go about personal evangelism. And I cannot assume that they will acquire that desire on their own. By preaching to inspire and teaching to empower them, I must equip the believers under my care to obey the Lord’s charge to missional evangelism. After the conversion, there is an obvious need for discipleship. But I cannot personally disciple every believer in my congregation, and I’m not supposed to either. If I attempt to personally disciple every convert, I am robbing other members of the Body of Christ from being able to fulfill their calling. Plus, I am unintentionally keeping my congregation small. Therefore, I must fulfill my pastoral charge in such a manner that I equip others to do the work of evangelism and discipleship.
Actually, I believe that the task of every God called Gospel minister is three-fold. Tell unbelievers how to get right with God, teach believers how to live right for God, and equip growing believers to do the first two.
I don’t mean to make the pastoral call sound easy to accomplish. It’s actually accomplished in spite of much difficulty over a lengthier course of time than what we desire.
However, it sometimes helps me to reduce ministry to a simpler form. In this way, I can wrap my mind around it all and de-stress over the enormity of the call.
What about you, pastor? What occupies the majority of your time and what activities must you accomplish through your spoken ministry?
3 Things Every Pastor Must Do was written by William Strickland. He currently serves as Lead Pastor of Harvest Christian Center in the small town on Cantonment, Florida. He is also the Founder and Content Manager of “a different perspective.” William’s over twenty-five years of varied ministry experience include a seven-year tour of duty as a denominational executive, twelve years as a bi-vocational pastor, and a short stint as a radio evangelist.