Friday, July 08, 2011

Questions from a Ministry Student i received


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 pastor's ministry must be based on expositional preaching of the Word and Gospel (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. Also the purse joy of having a vision to fulfill the Great Commission. There is no greater think 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 is best enhanced by being filled with God's Word (and Spirit) (reading, memorizing, praying), and proclaiming His Gospel (evangelism/preaching/teaching) as a way of life.  How can a Christian live in a world of sin and be continually happy without pursuing and proclaiming Christ, their Lord?  If I don't pursue and proclaim the Lordship of Christ, I would just exist to amas stuff and things and then die.  Life would be meaningless.  My ultimate pursuit of Christ comes through pursuing a Biblical theology. You cannot say you love God and live for God without having right belief or loving the truth  (Psalm 27:1-4), and right belief comes through emercing oneself in the Word of God.   Proclaiming (Evangelism/teaching) and memorizing Scripture are some of the most profitable disciplines that create a love for Christ in knowing Him better.    

4) Is evangelism or discipleship most important in building a church?
Yes. 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.  The stewardship of the Gospel in disciplemaking must be multiplied through evangelism as well as training.  Evangelism with out Discipleship makes spiritual welfare babies - who are immature and will not reproductive.  Discipleship without evangelism results in spiritual still-born babies - who are unregenerate and cannot reproduce.  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 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 God's means of building His Church.  In other words Evangelism, teaching, discipling, and preaching always work when they are used faithfully, because God will not let his word come back to Him void.  Isaiah 55:11 says, 
 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Both Evangelism and Discipleship (Disciplemaking) are successful because God is working in this world and in the lives of believers.  Even as trust God's word in Jonah 2:9, which says that “Salvation belongs to the Lord,” we must also take our responsibility to initiate Evangelism and Discipleship as a way of life.  We must take serious Paul's conclusion in Romans 10:14: 
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
We cannot fail in this endever because God is the resource.  The only way to fail in evangelism/disciplemaking is to fail to evangelize/disciple.  The church produces disciples not widgets. And god uses means such as pastors and leaders and ordinary people to engage in gospeling the word into the lives of people who will reproduce themselves in others. (Ephesians 4:15-16).  Evangelism and Disciplemaking is a lifestyle that all Christians must develop as a way of life.  

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, deep convictions about their biblical theology, and involved in ministry to people, and faithful in what is asked to do. They need to be observed as mature disciples that meeting 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.  If you call staff members from outside the church, you want to see that they are evaluated based on character and then giftedness in that order.  

You must make sure that your staff affirm (or are not contrary or in aggressive conflict with) your essential beliefs and philosophy of ministry.  If there is not some 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 the position in ministry leadership in the church that a person holds, the higher standards of theological and philosophical unity is required.  This doesn't mean that you have to be uniformed in everything, but that the top leaders must willing to walk with each other in a single direction as they continue to grow in their relationship with God through Christ.  I would say that there needs to be a humble orthodoxy that creates a warmth in the leadership community of the church.

6)What do you find that brings you most Joy in your Pastor-ship?
After knowing Christ it is People. Being with people and teaching people and discipling people and multiplying people or disciples of Christ.  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 in Matthew 28:19-20.  Pastors are to to work of an evangelist in context of making and multiplying disciples. (2 Timothy 2:1-2)

Don't be driven by a single ministry model or fad (whether it is purpose driven, emergent driven, social driven, method driven, program driven, relationship driven, etc), but keep displaying the greatness, goodness, and supremacy of God in your proclamation of the Gospel through exposition of Scripture.  Always be willing to change your methods and adapt your philosophy of ministry in order to obey the commands of Scripture in the specific context of your ministry

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 aggressively proclaim the Gospel through the God given means of His Word. Don't buy into the pragmatism that is destroying much of American Christianity today. (Hebrews 12:2).  Have faith that God is working in his creation and in the men and women you are evangelizing and discipling.   

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