Pastoring Is So Much More Than Preaching - Tim Challies https://chrisonet.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Pastoring-Is-So-Much-More-Than-Preaching-Tim-Challies.jpg
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A few days in the past I requested Do We Look after the Sheep or Do We Use the Sheep?, and expressed concern that pastors could also be vulnerable to neglect caring for the individuals of their church buildings in favor of utilizing the individuals of their church buildings to meet private ambition. The pastors calling is to look after Gods personal church, to labor on behalf of God to look after what God loves most. However how? How does the pastor heed this name? Paul says in Acts 20:28 that pastors should Pay cautious consideration to yourselves and to all of the flock. The pastor cares for the flock by paying cautious consideration to himself and to them.

The order issues. Earlier than the pastor can do the rest, he has to maintain watch over himself. He has to mannequin every thing he calls his church to, to be an exemplar of mature Christian character. He must be vigilant over his personal coronary heart, his personal thoughts, his personal life. Once we see pastors fall away from the religion by means of false doctrine or shipwreck their ministries by means of immoral lives, we are able to have faith that in each case its as a result of they didn’t preserve a detailed watch over themselves.

The pastor who’s preserving watch over himself is provided and certified to additionally preserve watch over Gods individuals. On this passage Paul refers back to the pastor as an overseer. A shepherd doesnt solely lead his sheep to pasture and water, but additionally watches them to protect them from all hurt. In an identical method, a pastor doesnt simply supply his individuals non secular sustenance, but additionally non secular care and safety. This implies the pastor is to maintain alert, to function a watchman, to pay cautious consideration to the individuals in his cost.

Right here is the query that has been difficult me: Can a shepherd look after his flock if he doesnt know his flock? Can he be devoted to his cost if he doesnt actually know his sheep? Can he preserve watch over all of the flock if he’s not conversant in the person lives and challenges of the flock?

And that is the place I’m wondering if in lots of Reformed church buildings, we might over-emphasize the pastors preaching ministry and under-emphasize the pastors one-to-one ministry (or counseling ministry or catechizing ministry, or no matter you want to name it). Now, please dont get me improper: I like the emphasis on preaching inside Reformed church buildings. Im glad we’re well-served by seminaries that emphasize the coaching of future preachers, by conferences and seminars that search to sharpen current preachers, and by cabinets stuffed stuffed with books concerning the activity of preaching. Ive obtained little doubt that preaching is among the methods the pastor can preserve watch over all his flock. However I do have doubts that it may be the one method and even probably the most important method.

Im usually struck by what Paul says in verse 20: I didn’t shrink from declaring to you something that was worthwhile, and educating you in public and from home to accommodate. Its that house-to-house ministry that I preserve interested by. It appears that evidently Paul was preaching to the assembled congregation, but additionally assembly with people or households.

I dont suppose its attainable for a pastor to maintain watch over all of the flock solely from the entrance of the room on Sunday mornings. Neither do I believe he can faithfully discharge his accountability by guaranteeing the church has a counseling ministry to whom he can refer individuals who want care, or by telling individuals he’s accessible to them if and after they want one thing, or by emphasizing the each other peer ministries within the church, as if Ephesians 4:12 permits the pastor to outsource pastoral care to the congregation. On the finish of the day, I believe he can solely faithfully look after the sheep if he’s constantly looking for out the sheep and being with the sheep. You would possibly say {that a} devoted shepherd smells like his sheep!

I’m difficult myself and everybody else who’s an elder or pastor in a church to think about how we’re paying cautious consideration to the flock. I’m difficult us to make sure that simply as we’re faithfully getting ready glorious expository sermons by means of which we’re feeding the flock, that we’re additionally faithfully pursuing the individuals in our church buildings so we’re caring for the flock. We are able to solely look after the flock by paying cautious consideration to the flock and Id recommend we are able to solely pay cautious consideration to the flock once we are looking for out every member of the flock, inquiring concerning the state of their souls, praying for his or her people considerations, encouraging them the place we see evidences of Gods grace, counseling their distinctive wants, serving to them achieve data the place they’re ignorant, and helping them in obedience the place they’re disobedient. Simply as we fulfill our ministry by ministering Gods Phrase to the assembled congregation on Sunday mornings, we fulfill our ministry by ministering Gods Phrase to people by means of the week.

Pastor, preserve a detailed watch on your self. Make sure that your life is free from sin and hypocrisy and that your doctrine is free from mischief and error. After which preserve a detailed watch on each one in every of these valuable individuals bought by Gods personal blood and entrusted to your care. Be ready to provide an account for each one in every of themthat you faithfully taught them after they assembled, and that you just faithfully cared for them as people so long as God referred to as you to supervise them.

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