I had a great time preaching and teaching at the Arkansas Baptist State
Convention Pastor’s Conference. Dr. Sonny Tucker, the state convention staff, and the state convention leadership are tremendous servants of the Lord.
The sermon text was Ezekiel 24:15-27. This passage is so powerful because it records the death of the prophet Ezekiel’s wife and his need to continue to proclaim God’s Word in the midst of his personal tragedy. The title of the message was, “When Your Life Becomes the Message.”
Session two covered some basic matters related to the topic, “Preparing the Preacher.” I’ve included the brief outline and a few resource notes here.
Master the Basics: Stuff You Already Know
Salvation–You need to be saved to be an effective pastor! This should go without saying!!
The Call–I believe that a divine call to ministry exists. Ministry is not a profession you choose. The Lord selects and calls those whom He deems qualified.
Training–While formal theological training is not a requirement, some type of mentoring is a must. As the old saying goes, “The Holy Spirit has a strange affinity for a trained mind.” (Unknown)
The Importance of Scripture–You need to be in the Bible and the Bible needs to be in you. We must be saturated in Scripture in order to stay right with God, let alone preach the Word.
Prayer–Prayer and a lot of it is the essential key for pastoral survival. Prayer is work but it will become a labor of love if you practice it enough.
Focus on Your Essentials: God Knows You Best and He Called You Anyway
Know Yourself–God called you to the ministry and you are unique. What is your gifting, what are your strengths, and what are your weaknesses? Nuture, build, and guard are three key words here.
Know Your Role–What did God call you to do in your current ministry assignment. then do that!
You are the best pastor you church has right now. Discouragement is a part of life but don’t let it consume you. Learn to study and pray your way through it.
Dealing with Stress: The Marathon of Unrealistic Expectations
Mental–Guard your mind from sin, distractions, and discouragement.
Emotional–When you give a lot, you will need to rest a lot. Find ways to recover emotionally after difficult periods of ministry.
Physical–Step aside, take a break, take a vacation. Also, mind your physical health and be physically active. This will have many benefits for every area of your life.
Spiritual–Maintain an active devotional life. Do not study the Scriptures just to teach others, feed yourself first.
Dealing with Conflict: So What If It’s Really My Fault
The Lost art of listening: Don’t Take Personal Attacks Personally!
Wolves in sheep’s clothing–These people do not want to solve problems, they want to use crisis moments to get what they want. Two great resources are:
Antagonists in the Church–Kenneth Haugk
Well Intentioned Dragons–Marshall Shelley
Personal Recovery–You will need to schedule rest and refreshment after times on intensive conflict. Remember the old saying that, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” (this quote has been attributed to numerous people from General George Patton to football coach Vince Lombardi).
The Pastor and Personal Soulwinning
Evangelism is caught more that taught. You and I must schedule time to regularly share our faith. Our people will be better witnesses if they know that we are intentional in our evangelism.
The Goal: Bringing Glory to Jesus, Bringing People to Jesus
We will be forgotten someday but our goal should not be to make a name for ourselves but to proclaim the Name of Jesus, which of course, is the name above every name! (Philippians 2:9-11)
Let’s aim for those words, “Well done good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)