The pastorate is the most unique job in the world–there really is nothing like it. One minute a pastor is asked to explain the glorious plan of salvation to a person who is lost and far from God. The next minute a pastor is asked to find a foster family for two cats that belong to a church member who can no longer care for them. In pastoral ministry, no two days are ever alike and seldom does any day go as planned. Someone once said that flexibility is the key to flight–aeronautically that principle is true, ministerially that principle is equally true.
Over the past few weeks, I have been teaching Pastoral Theology in our Sunday evening service at Calvary. One of the references that have been helpful in preparation for the series is a book that was written by John MacArthur and the faculty of The Master’s Seminary entitled, Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically. The book is well written, is very practical, and would be especially useful if you have men in your church who would like to gain a better understanding of pastoral ministry. In the introduction to the book, Dr. MacArthur provides the following eight reasons he loves to be a pastor. I have adapted some of his point and I thought it would be encouraging to share these with you.
- Preaching is the chief human means God uses to dispense His grace. The apostle Paul commanded Timothy to “preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:2). We have the privilege each Sunday of proclaiming God’s message to His people, a message of grace, by which God saves people and transforms lives.
- We can be consumed with study and communion with God. While we may get to preach only three hours per week, we can study thirty. The hours we get to spend each week in God’s presence are a high and holy privilege.
- We are directly responsible to God for the lives of the people He has given us to shepherd. We have a relationship with our people like that of a shepherd and his sheep. We watch over their souls as one “who must given an account.” (Heb. 13:17)
- We are also accountable to the people in our church. Everything is exposed to them: our life and family, our personal strengths and weaknesses–everything. We should cherish that accountability, and it should encourage us to reflect Christ in everything we say and do.
- We are challenged to build an effective leadership team from the people God has put in the church. We are tasked to build with the people God has called to our churches, few of whom are wise, mighty, or noble by the world’s standards (1 Cor. 1:26). God reveals the greatness of His power by demonstrating that the world’s nobodies are His most precious resources.
- The pastorate embraces all of life. We share the joy of parents over the birth of a child, as well as the pain of children of the death of a mother or father. We help celebrate at a wedding, and we comfort at a funeral. Often, we go beyond our sermons to stand in the gap for God in the lives of people.
- The rewards of this life are marvelous. We feel loved, appreciated, needed, trusted, and admired–all a result of being an instrument God has used in the spiritual progress of His people. Your people pray for you and care deeply about you. We owe a debt of gratitude to God for that. We are honored to be a channel through which the grace of God, the love of Christ, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit can become real to people.
- We should be afraid not to be a pastor. When God called us to this ministry, we committed our lives to Him and His plan for us. This is an obligation we should strive to keep until and unless God releases us from this calling.
Pastoring is not always easy, but it is always worth it–even when our emotions are telling us otherwise. Brothers, be encouraged in your calling, knowing that God is using you to impact souls for eternity. There is no occupation on earth like that of being a pastor, and God, by His grace, has chosen us for this special task, so press on!
*Adapted from John MacArthur, introduction to Pastoral ministry: how to shepherd biblically, John MacArthur and the Master’s Seminary Faculty (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc.), xiii-xiv
Below is the second message in the above mentioned series: