What makes a pastor competent? What is it that equips him for his task in ministry?
A quick look at the job postings from a lot of churches across North America list all kinds of requirements.
- Good with time management
- Gifted & dynamic speaker
- Good with young people
- A seminary degree
- And the list goes on…
Are these really the things that make a pastor competent for his pastoral responsibilities?
I’ve just finished reading through his paper and I’m extremely excited to hear him present it and then to discuss it with the other pastors.
Here’s an excerpt / sneak peek:
It is in this context (2 Tim 3.1-5), the weakness of Timothy and the degeneration of a godless culture, that Paul calls Timothy to a simple yet profound task: “Preach the Word.” Is that it? Well, yes and no. Yes, preach the Word but no, the preached Word must be accompanied with godly character (2 Tim 3.10-11).
Paul has just made the task even more daunting, if that were possible. He has called Timothy and all subsequent pastors to preach the Word in a thoroughly pagan and rebellious, uninterested and hostile culture. You will need to have faith, patience, great love, and endurance. In short, godly character. Again, who is sufficient? Paul answers this question in some of his final words to Timothy: ‘But the Lord stood by my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will be me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever’ (2 Tim 4.17-18).
But what if we tweaked the question? “OK, we know we are called to preach the Word and it will come at a cost. But is there any encouragement to preach the Word? Or more specifically, what makes us competent for the charge of preaching the Word of God?” Those answers lie in our passage in 2 Timothy 3.16-17. Paul answers the question in three ways.
First, Paul reminds Timothy that the power of the Word does not lie in the preacher of the Word, but in the nature of the Word. “All Scripture is God breathed.” This Word is the living Word of God, breathed out of the mouth of God into the hearts of the writers. What we hold therefore, is the very Word of the living God. What a beautiful expression: God breathed. Scripture’s source is the breath of God or conversely, Scripture is the result of the breath of God.
When the pastor stands to preach, it is as we read in Exodus: ‘The Lord said to him [Moses], “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say (Exodus 4.11-12).’
The Lord will help and the Lord will teach through the God-breathed Scripture. Here lies the great hope and responsibility – the great hope is when we preach we are taking God-breathed words to the people; the great responsibility is to do exactly as Paul exhorted Timothy: “preach the Word.”
If you want more you’ve got to be at Richview Baptist Church this coming Monday at 10am. Hope to see you there!