Julian Freeman

Freed to live through the death of another.

Tag: TPF (page 2 of 3)

A Competent Pastor?

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
  • Young
  • Humorous
  • Outgoing
  • 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?

Pastor David Robinson of Grace Bible Church in Cambridge will be addressing the topic of what makes a pastor competent this coming Monday at the monthly meeting of the Toronto Pastors Fellowship.

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!

Preaching God


Toronto Pastors Fellowship

Pastors Delighting in God to the Glory of God Together

This coming Monday is the final monthly meeting of the Toronto Pastors Fellowship for the 2008-2009 season. While I’m sad that it will be over for the next several months, I can’t wait for Monday to come, because the paper will be great!

I’ve just had a chance to read over Pastor Darryl Dash’s paper on theocentric preaching; it is full of insights, challenges, and encouragements.

Here is a brief preview to whet your appetite for Monday’s meeting. In this section, Dr Dash is detailing the pitfalls and flaws of moralistic preaching, and showing how even sermons that are textually based may be ultimately moralistic.

In Scripture, obedience is always a response to the gospel. Application that is not rooted in gospel leads to pride if the listener succeeds, and defeatism if the listener does not. The law does not give us power to obey its commands; we need good news (the gospel), not just good advice. The Bible does contain commands, but these are always applications of the gospel.

Moralism can creep into how-to sermons (e.g. “Four Steps to Better Parenting”), but it can also creep into expositions of a text. For example, preaching the imperatives of Ephesians 4-6 will be moralistic unless we link the imperatives to the gospel described in Ephesians 1-3. God’s gift and his commands (theology and ethics) are always linked.

Make sure to join us on Monday morning at 10am to get the full paper, the Q&A, and all the blessings of fellowship. 

See you there!

Audio Review of ‘the Shack’ by Tim Challies

the-shackOn Monday at the Toronto Pastors Fellowship, during the Q&A, Tim Challies was asked to give a brief review of the bestselling book, the Shack.

Note that this review was given off-the-cuff in a Q&A session. Tim has done a thorough review of the book for you to read here.

But, if you’re lazy and would prefer to listen to a 4 minute audio review, rather than read one, you can download the audio review here.

Tim Challies’ Admonition to Toronto Pastors

pastor-train-your-church-to-think-biblically-toronto-pastors-fellowshipYesterday was the March meeting of the Toronto Pastors Fellowship–and it was a blessing!

Friend and fellow church-member, Tim Challies, brought the charge, ‘Pastor, Train Your People to Think Biblically!’ The audio and text are now both available online. Click here to check out the paper and the mp3.

Here’s an excerpt:

I think we ought to pause to draw out this point just a little bit. One of the areas where discernment most often goes awry is in this area of speaking truth with love. Those who emphasize discernment are typically able to voice the truth; it is love that is far too often lacking. Many ministers, and perhaps even you, can testify to the damage done to churches in the name of discernment. Just recently pastor James MacDonald wrote that he has seen more damage done to the church by Christians with the gift of discernment than by anyone else. Many ministers have erred themselves in this regard, emphasizing truth at the expense of love. It is here that we should remember the Bible’s injunctions to remain childlike. We can go back to 1 Corinthians 14:20 and see Paul’s exhortation to “Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.” When it comes to what is evil, we need to remain as little children, being innocent toward all evil things. Too many people who emphasize discernment spend inordinate amounts of time seeking out evil, dwelling upon evil, all in the name of refuting it. There is great danger in filling our hearts and lives with what is evil. So as you train your church in discernment,  do so in a way that encourages and edifies rather than in a way that tears down and destroys.

Toronto Pastors Conference 2009: Building Healthy Churches

Toronto Pastors Fellowship

Pastors Delighting in God to the Glory of God

We are thrilled to announce that registration for the 2009 edition of the Toronto Pastors Conference is now open!

If you are a pastor or a church leader–or just interested in knowing how to serve to build Christ’s church–we would love to have you join us on June 1-3, 2009 at Richview Baptist Church here in Toronto.

The speakers for our main sessions will be Mark Dever and Matt Schmucker. We anticipate a tremendous blessing as these two hugely gifted and qualified men come to share with us from God’s word how he would have us serve his church.

Make sure to register early! The earlybird registration cost is only $100 for the three days of the conference. Also, if you register early there is free billeting available through some of the families at our church–but space is limited and offered first come, first served. So register fast!

Want more information on speakers, schedule, location, topic, or anything else to do with the conference? Check out the TPF website for all the details!

TPF Preview: Preaching is More Than Lecturing

One of the best things about serving with the Toronto Pastors Fellowship is that I get to read the papers ahead of time. I thought that this time I might share a tiny, little bit of that blessing with you.

Here is a sneak peek at a the paper Dr Pierre Constant will be presenting at the TPF meeting this Monday (February 9)

There are dozens of discussion-worthy ideas in the paper, but since this section in particular relates to a discussion we had here not too long ago (see Preaching vs. Lecturing), I thought I’d throw this out there as well.

As said earlier, preaching preparation involves a number of elements, from careful study of words and texts to careful study of the needs of congregations, so that when, as pastors, we are addressing the family of God, the body of Christ is built up, equipped and motivated to worship God and to serve Christ in the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.

More specifically, preaching involves teaching, motivating, correcting, guiding, leading the people of God to serve Him with joy and thankfulness, with the intention of bringing glory to the only One worthy of any glory. Paul wrote: “For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord” (2 Cor 4.6).

Moreover, when we do preach, we do more than lecture or communicate content. We equip, motivate, encourage people to act upon what they hear. We bring the family of God to worship Christ and be transformed unto His image.

Preaching, then, is more than lecturing because its aim is higher than merely bringing the hearers to an understanding of the material presented. The preacher is pastoring the people of God and moving them by the Word of God and the power of the Spirit to glory an and ultimately reflect the Creator-Redeemer God. 

The argument might be said that the comparison between preaching and lecturing is apples and oranges, since preaching is an entirely spiritual task, empowered by the Spirit of God himself. 

But this, then, begs at least a couple questions:

  1. Why do so many preachers find it so easy to lecture rather than preach?
  2. What (if anything) should we endeavour to learn from lecturers / lecture techniques that we can apply to preaching?
  3. Why are so many churches content with preachers who lecture?

Free Resources for Download

I just wanted to pass along word to those of you (especially those outside the GTA) who haven’t been able to make it out to the Toronto Pastors Fellowship meetings. Our media library contains all the messages (as well as the papers, in pdf format) that have been delivered at our monthly gatherings. There are also messages there from past conferences. Everything is available to download for free.

There are great messages to download from

  • D.A. Carson
  • Michael Haykin
  • Tom Schreiner
  • Stephen Wellum
  • Paul Martin
  • Tim Kerr
  • David Sitton
  • Charles Woodrow
  • Brad Powers
  • Stephen Kring
  • Alex Montoya
  • And many others!

In particular, I would like to highlight two messages that I think are particularly worth listening to, both preach by Pastor Carl Muller of Trinity Baptist Church in Burlington.

First is a message he preached at the 2007 Pastors Conference on the topic of ‘Balance in Ministry.’ This is an excellent admonition to pastors to maintain a close watch on their life and doctrine, and to keep a large perspective on all of life and ministry.

The second is the message he just preached at the past meeting of the Toronto Pastors Fellowship. It is called, ‘Pastor, Serve the Weak: Minister to the sick, elderly, and dying.‘ It is a phenomenal reminder to pastors that this part of our job is not a burden, but a blessing; it is an essential element of shepherding, and one that must not be neglected.

If you are a pastor, want to be a pastor, or know a pastor, these are great messages for you to hear. I recommend them all!

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