Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pastoral Interview


The following questions are from a interview I did with a student at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.

1) What is the most important thing for a pastor to know?
Genuinely Knowing Christ (not a false convert) and that God is the goal of the Gospel (not life enhancements). Thus his ministry must be based on proclaiming the Gospel through exposition of the Word. (Eph. 4:1-4). One could say the same thing by stating “please or love God first, not men” in all you do. (Hebrews 11:6, Revelation 2:4-6).

2) What has kept you going when things are going hard in the ministry?
Knowing that God has called me to be a disciplemaking pastor. There is nothing else I can do in life (or want to do).  Also the purse joy of having a vision to fulfill the Great Commission. There is no greater cause to live and die for than what is going to last for ever (God, the Word of God and the souls of men).  To the degree you don't have an eternal perspective like that, you will tend to quit ministry. (Colossians 2:23-29)

3) What have you found most helpful to know Christ more?
The pure joy of knowing God through Christ and the pursuit of my happiness in God (which makes me a rabid Christian Hedonist).   How can one live in a world of sin and be continually happy without Christ?  Life would have no meaning without Christ.  I would just exist to amass stuff and things and then die. This all comes through pursuing Biblical theology.    You cannot say you love God and live for God without having right belief. (Psalm 27:1-4).  As Charles Haddon Spurgeon is famous for saying, "Wrong belief is sin."  It is particularly true and devastating when one believes wronging about the character of God.

4) Is evangelism or discipleship most important in building a church?
Both are the most important. You cannot separate them. Evangelism is part of the subset of Discipleship (or I rather call it Disciplemaking) and the call in Evangelism to salvation is a call to be a disciple of Christ. Salvation belongs to those who are disciples of Christ (There is no salvation without being a disciple of Christ).  The stewardship of the Gospel in disciplemaking must be multiplied through evangelism as well as through training.  In the end everything the church does is discipleship (or disciplemaking) because they all serve the Great Commission and since all Christians are disciples. Second, it is not the job of the pastor to build the church, that is God's responsibility.   It is the calling of a pastor to proclaim the Gospel through speaking the Word in whatever context he can – church gatherings, worship services, bible studies, street preaching, visitation, one on one disciplining relationships, Sunday School, small groups, etc., and leave the result with God.  As Jonah 2:9 says, “Salvation belongs to the Lord.” The local church's commission is to produces disciples not widgets. And God uses means, such as pastors and leaders, to engage in gospeling the Word into the lives of people who will reproduce themselves in others. (Ephesians 4:15-16, 2 Timothy 2:1-2)

5)How do you find good staff and or good leaders?
The best way is to raise them up within the congregation. You have to look for men who have persevered in trials, exhibited patience with people, shown a passion for God and his glory, been commited to the centrality of the Gospel, loved proclaiming God's Word, have deep convictions about their biblical theology, have been involved in ministry to people, and faithful in what is asked of them to do.  They need to be observed as mature disciples in character similar to the character traits of an of an elder (1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9). I look for people who are already feeding God’s sheep God’s word (Jn. 21:15-17), guiding the sheep (1 Tim. 4:16; 1 Pet. 5:3, Heb. 13:7), and protecting the sheep from attackers (Acts 20:27-29; 2 Tim. 4:3-4; Tit. 1:9), while protecting both themselves and the church through the wisdom (Prov. 11:14; 24:6).

If you must go outside the local church where you serve, then the best way would be to develop a disciplemaking relationship with a person that you want on your team first in order to see if he is faithful in what you ask him to do. (Luke 22:26).  One must be constantly seeking to establish new relationships with those already faithful, available, and teachable in the ministry that they are currently service in both inside and outside one's current church or ministry setting.  

You must make sure that your staff and leadership affirm your theology and philosophy of ministry.   If there is not purity at the top leadership level of the church in theology and philosophy of ministry, the church will experience unneeded conflict and separation. The higher up in ministry leadership in the church that a person holds, the higher standards of theological and philosophical unity is required.

6)What do you find that brings you most Joy in your Pastor-ship?
After knowing Christ it is People -  being with people in growing and healthy relationships, teaching people good biblical theology, discipling people in biblical content, godly character, and ministry competency, and multiplying people or disciples of Christ for leadership. If people who you are to disciple don't bring you joy then get out of the pastorate. (John 13:34-35)

7)Any finale thoughts you would like to add?
A pastor must be a disciple himself or he will not reproduce himself in others through Christ. Thus he must protect his time alone with God and with his family. In doing this we will watch over his life and doctrine (2 Tim. 4:16)

Evangelism is necessary but multiplication through disciplemaking is the command. Pastors are to do the work of an evangelist but only in context of making disciples. (2 Timothy 2:1-2)

Don't be driven by fades (whether it is purpose driven, emergent driven, social driven, method driven, program driven, relationship driven, etc), but keep displaying the greatness and supremacy of God in your proclamation of the Gospel through the exposition of Scripture.

Remember that God is the author of Salvation and not man.  So ministry is not about blasting off the right technique(s), but being faithful to proclaim the Gospel through the God given means of his word. Don't buy into the pragmatism that is destroying American Christian and much of Southern Baptist life today. (Hebrews 12:2).


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