I am a preacher, more specifically, I am a lead pastor, but you know that already if you are on this blog. Having only been a pastor for less than one year much of this is new to me and I am learning everyday. Pray for me. I beg God for wisdom beyond my years of life and experience and believe that occasionally God answers your prayers. The rest of the time I rely on a great team of pastors to help me make decisions and lead the church.
In the Army every job has a duty description that articulates the expectations for those in that duty position. This is great. The more detailed the paragraph the better for the person trying to be his best. In the church everyone also has expectations for the lead pastor. Everyone has the image of the perfect pastor and many are seeking to mold their current pastor into what they want. Fortunately for me—I don’t experience much of this in Berean, but I have read enough by other preachers to know this is a common problem across the church in America.
Like an Army manual, the Bible also contains instructions for the pastor, a bit of a job description if you will. Paul, the apostle, tells Timothy, the lead pastor in Ephesus, to “preach the word.” Then he adds what I see as clarifying instructions, reprove, rebuke, exhort, but the central message is clear. Preach the Word!
So there it is. There’s my duty description. My job is to preach the word. Now there certainly are various ways that people understand and interpret these three words so let me share with you how I understand Paul’s guidance. I see these instructions very similar to the ones Jesus left Peter with in the last chapter of John. Three times Jesus told future lead pastor Peter to feed his sheep (one time he calls them lambs).
Preach and feed. James Strong defines feed as, “portraying the duty of a Christian teacher to promote in every way the spiritual welfare of the members of the church.” So my preaching must result in spiritual growth if I am striving to obey my Lord. And if I look to Paul’s words, I know that I must preach the Word. The word is the logos which can and does simultaneously refer to both the Bible and Christ. So when I preach from the Bible, Christ must be central.
Preachers who preach the Word and feed their sheep strive to promote an appetite, no a passion, for the centrality and supremacy of Christ in all things in their people’s lives. Now think about how difficult this is in the 21st century. I get one hour a week with most of my people. I get one hour to say something that will cause a desire to evoke a change in your life that will reflect that Jesus is Lord. One hour a week to encourage, exhort, rebuke, and chastise people in their thinking toward God and His sovereign right to rule in their lives.
In contrast most of my men spend more time on just Sundays watching the garbage between football (or basketball) plays in the form of commercials that encourage everything other than the supremacy of Christ. Nearly every commercial is an advertisement that interferes with a passion for Christ—its consumerism, materialism, sex titillation, idolatry and on and on. It is everything and anything but God. Think about the previews that you and your children sit through prior to watching a movie at the theater. I like Google’s webpage. I like the white clean background. I don’t want any pop-ups. I don’t want to see anything that will tempt me. My job is to get (at least for a moment) behind that pulpit and boldly proclaim the supremacy of Christ in the 21st century and I must be clean for you. My job is to rattle your cage. My job is to provoke you to rethink your priorities, actions, thoughts, decisions, desires and determine if they reflect the centrality of God in every aspect of your life. Walls have been erected which keep God in particular boxes, areas, sides and compartments of our lives that must be tore down. Like former President Ronald Reagan, today’s preacher must demand that “Mr. Christian, tear down that wall” that keeps God out of any area of their life.
With only one or two hours a week with some of you, will you give me more time through this blog? I need your time, attention and the grace of God to have a fighting chance.
Christians we must use the technology of the 21st Century to help keep the supremacy of God, through Christ, in our minds and the junk out. TiVo© is a great example of how this could help. When the commercial comes on the disciple of Christ picks up the remote control and presses the pause button and does something productive. Then when sufficient time has elapsed Mr. Christian comes back and flips through all the garbage to watch the great pass, the scoring run or the winning shot.