I answered the call to Preach 39 years ago. What a privilege and honor to be a Preacher and Pastor. Little did I know how much I had to learn. In fact, the older I get, the more I yearn to learn so I might become a sharper tool for God. What I did learn about being a Pastor, I learned from the man in the picture, Dr. Jack Hyles. He taught me how to love your people; that EVERYONE was important, whether it be a Bus Kid or a Millionaire. God loved them all.
This is what this message is about. I want to share ten principles of being an effective Pastor. I am certain that other Good Men might have a somewhat different list, and this is okay, but I can assure you, that if you faithfully follow these ten principles, your ministry will be richer than it might have been.
1. Preach the Word. Never compromise God’s Word. II Timothy 4:2: “Preach the Word…” II Timothy 4:3-4: Preach the Word! This is our Calling, our Challenge, and our Commission!
Verses 3-4 of this passage describe a scene that seems amazingly contemporary. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
Why are we to Preach the Word?
a) Because the time will come when men will not endure sound doctrine!
The time has arrived in which people not only reject the truth, but they have even refused to listen to the truth.
b) These men will prefer lies instead of the truth because they have what Paul calls “itching ears.” “Itching ears” are ears that are greatly desire to hear every new idea, every new theory, and every wild idea, no matter how unbiblical or farfetched it may be. People with itching ears want Preachers to tell them what they Want to hear instead of What they need to hear.
c) Unfortunately, as Paul had predicted, the day would come, and it has certainly arrived, that there would be many teachers who will be most happy to tickle the itching ears of their hearers. Preachers, Preach the Word!
2. Love God’s People with ALL of your heart. This will lead you to “Being there for your People.”
• I recently heard of a “pastor” who had a faithful member in and out of the hospital for six months and yet he NEVER visited this lady. His reason? “I don’t do hospital visits, he said. This is not my job.” Unbelievable! Jesus left the 99 to go after the one! Should not we as well?
3. Use your Ministry to Build your People; NEVER use your People to build your Name! Your job as a Preacher is to preach for Impact, rather than to Impress others! One preacher said, “You cannot be thinking about yourself and impacting another person’s life.”
4. You WILL Pray or you WILL Fail! A man can preach no better than he prays.
5. A Pastor must be a Servant not a Superstar. It is not about us. It is about being used of God to serve in the very way that Jesus served. The greatest of these are the servants. (Matthew 18:1-4; Matthew 23:11; Mark 9; Luke 9; Luke 22).
• By the way, you will never outgrow service! It is not something you do until the church is big enough to get others to do it, and then you can start having others serve you. No, Jesus, God’s Son came to serve, not to be served! So should this our attitude always be.
• Near the end of his life, General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, sent a message to his co-laborers that contained nothing except the word “others”. That was the essence of his life. Live for others, not self. The songwriter said it best for me, “Others Lord, Yes Others. Let this my motto be. Help me to live in such a self-forgetful way, that others may see Christ in me.”
Which Principle hit home with you the most? Please leave your comment and the reason why. It will help many Readers.
(The second five principles of Pastoring will be posted on 12-6-13)