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The Ministry of a Pastor
by Segun Olumide
10/26/2014 / Church Life
Ministry Gifts Series
All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures quoted in this book are from the King James Version of the Bible.
KEYS TO OTHER BIBLE VERSIONS USED:
AMP-The Amplified Bible
NIV-New International Version
TLB-The Living Bible
Gideons-The Gideons International
RSV-Revised Standard Version
NCV-New Century Version
Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation;
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version, NIV Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Living Bible (TLB) The Living Bible copyright 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Revised Standard Version (RSV) Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.;
New Century Version (NCV) The Holy Bible, New Century Version. Copyright 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
2014 The New Apostolic Movement
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SPECIAL! SPECIAL! SPECIAL!
A MUST READING/VIEW
(Google the following free of charge on the Internet and God will change your life forever.)
1. Holiness Required For Heaven by Carillo from Bolivia
2. Eternal Destinations: Godly Attire and Adornment
3. Another Warning by Kingsley Ubani
4. Time Is Over: Run For Your Life by Kingsley Ubani
5. 9 Testimonies on Tithing from Heaven and Hell Visions
6. The Dangers of Eating Gods Tithes and Offerings
7. The Visitation of Jesus to Samuel Oghenetega
(Crosscheck these testimonies with the Scriptures and if you have questions you may send us an email.)
Table of Contents
1. THE MEANING OF A PASTOR
2. THE SIGNS OF A PASTOR
3. EXECUTING THE MINISTRY OF A PASTOR EFFECTIVELY
4. 7 WRONG NOTIONS ABOUT THE MINISTRY OF A PASTOR
5. SPECIAL WARNINGS FOR PASTORS
6. GUIDANCE FOR PASTORS ABOUT RIGHT WAYS OF RAISING MONEY
7. ADMONITION FOR PASTORS AGAINST WRONG WAYS OF RAISING MONEY
8. SOME EXISTING CHURCHES MUST FOLD UP; WHILE SOME NEW ONES MUST SPRING UP
9. CHURCH GROWTH
10. THE ROLE OF A PASTORS WIFE
THE MEANING OF A PASTOR
The Greek word poimen is the word translated pastor or shepherd in the New Testament.
According to W.E. Vine, in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament words, a pastor is a shepherd, one who tends herds or flocks (not merely one who feeds them), is used metaphorically of Christian pastors. Pastors guide as well as feed the flock.
Interestingly, according to the Encarta Dictionaries, the word tend means:
1. take care of somebody: to do or provide the things that a person, animal, or plant needs for health, comfort, and welfare
2. be in charge of something: to manage something, especially something that needs constant supervision
3. give attention to somebody or something: to give your attention to a particular person or task.
(Microsoft Encarta 2009. 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.)
So a true pastor is someone who takes care of people by ensuring there is provision for their spiritual, emotional, mental and physical needs as regards their health, comfort and welfare (well-being).
He is concerned about their spiritual health, emotional health as well as bodily health. He wants them to enjoy prosperity in their spirit, soul and body.
Just as Apostle John wrote, Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and [that your body] may keep well, even as [I know] your soul keeps well and prospers (3 John 2, AMP).
He takes charge of people, manages them with constant supervision until they need little or no supervision. He gives them good attention. He spends time with them nourishing them, encouraging them, warning them, rebuking them, correcting them, restraining them, strengthening them and nursing them!
Sad to say, some of those who are called pastors today may be good teachers but bad shepherds.
Years ago, I belonged to a particular church. Although the leader was a great Bible teacher yet I felt he was a poor pastor. Yes, he was my pastor but many times I was like a sheep without a shepherd.
That is why Dr W. E. Vine in his Expository Dictionary explains that a pastor is not merely one who feeds the flock!
In other words, a pastor should feed (or teach) the flock and tend (or care for) them as well.
Certainly, this wonderful servant of God impacted my life positively for Christ, nevertheless he did not understand what it means to be a pastor!
David wrote, The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want (Psalms 23:1).
In essence, he was saying, The Lord is my pastor, I shall not lack spiritual, emotional and physical prosperity, strength as well as health.
But today Jesus Christ, the Chief Shepherd continues his earthly pastoral ministry through those he has called and anointed as pastors to see to the spiritual, emotional and physical prosperity, strength as well as health of the people under their leadership.
I believe some pastors are called by men, some others called themselves while some others still are called by Satan and some by God.
Are you a pastor? Who called you? Do you know and understand the meaning of a true New Testament pastor?
THE SIGNS OF A PASTOR
We want to look carefully at the signs we can use from the Scriptures to identify a true pastor or shepherd. The following are the ten signs of a pastor.
1. A PASTOR TRUE TO HIS CALLING FEEDS THE FLOCK OF GOD WELL.
God said through Jeremiah, And i will give you PASTORS according to mine heart, which shall FEED you with KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING (Jer 3:15).
Ezekiel prophesied, Thus saith the Lord God unto the SHEPHERDS; woe be to the SHEPHERDS of Israel that do FEED themselves! Should not the SHEPHERDS FEED THE FLOCKS?
Ye eat the fat and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are FED: but ye FEED NOT THE FLOCK (Eze 34: 2-3).
Paul said, Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you OVERSEERS (PASTORS), to FEED THE CHURCH OF GOD, which he hath purchased with his own blood (Acts 20:28).
David wrote, The Lord is my SHEPHERD (PASTOR); I shall not want. He maketh me lie down in GREEN PASTURES: He leadeth me beside the STILL WATERS. HE RESTORETH MY SOUL (RENEWS MY MIND): He LEADETH me in the paths of righteousness (Ps 23:1-3).
From these scriptures, we see that a pastor has a responsibility to feed Gods people. Their meal must be pure: without the poison of the doctrines of men and of devils (Mat 15:1-9, Mat 16:5-12, 1Tim 4:1-8, 1Pet 2:2).
It must also be proper: not giving whats meant for babes to adults and whats meant for adults to babes!
Jesus said to Peter, Feed my lambs (babes)Feed my sheep (maturing / mature ones) (John 21:15-17).
A human baby begins life with milk not with bony meat for adults (1 Pet 2:2, Heb 5:12-14).
Above it all, it must be balanced: containing the right nutrients in the right proportions. Balance faith with self-control, financial prosperity with long suffering (patience), self-edification with edifying the church and winning the lost sinners to Christ, and so on.
Always remember this: we are what we eat. Good food will produce good sheep while bad food will produce bad sheep!
2. HE TENDS THE FLOCK OF GOD GENTLY.
A pastor tends the flock of God gently. He has a shepherds heart. This makes him naturally care for the flock unless the things of the world have stolen his heart.
Jesus told Peter, Take care of my sheep (John 21:16).
God said through Ezekiel to pastors, Woe to the shepherds of Israel
You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but YOU DO NOT TAKE CARE OF THE FLOCK. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost.
You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd (only a figurehead inactive pastor), and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals (Eze 34:2-5, NIV).
Tending a flock can be understood through the illustration of how a nurse takes care of a sick patient or how a mother nurses her only sick child back to heath.
This is similar to what the Good Samaritan and inn keeper did (see Luke 10:30-35).
Im always disturbed each time I see a so-called pastor who feels his job is to only feed the sheep and not to take care of them!
So he only has time for them on the church premises. But do you know that real pastoring or tending hardly takes place on the church premises? Thats one of the differences between a pastor and a teacher.
According to the prophecy of Ezekiel, a pastor should strengthen the weak, not weaken the strong. He must be all out to seek and restore the backslidden ones.
He should share their pains, not inflict more pains on them. He should bind up their wounds, not cause them to fester.
Even James wrote, Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit (look after) the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world (James 1:27, see Mat 25:34-40).
A pastor should be close enough (not too close) to each sheep under his care; to know what he or she is going through in life so that he can help.
Paul commended Timothys shepherds heart to the Philippians when he wrote, For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.
For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christs (Phil 2:20-21).
GENTLE OR TERRORIST PASTORS?
Isaiah prophesied about the Lord saying, He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. HE GENTLY LEADS THOSE THAT HAVE YOUNG (Is 40:11 NIV).
Why does he lead those with young ones in a gentle way? It is so because the young ones are tender, fragile and easily wounded. Minor things can make them stumble or fall easily.
David acknowledged to God, Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and THY GENTLENESS HATH MADE ME GREAT (Ps 18:35).
You see, it takes gentleness on the part of a pastor to disciple stubborn, rebellious and overbearing believers.
On the other hand, a terrorist pastor does not have the word gentleness in his vocabulary. Rather he uses phone call, text message (S.M.S), letter, pulpit, sermon, prayer, offering and so on to drop evil bomb shells in the hearts of the people.
How many believers especially new ones, have been blasted, shattered, destablized and wounded by unholy bombs thrown by terrorist pastors?
The New International Version (NIV) rendered thy gentleness hath made me great in Psalm 18:35 as you stoop down to make me great (read John 13:1-17).
I remember the time I sent a horrible text message (SMS) to a particular brother. We almost lost him perhaps to the world.
I had to humble myself to apologize to him. Today, he is a minister helping the church in a wonderful way.
Paul wrote, Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and GENTLENESS OF CHRIST (2 Cor 10:1).
James revealed that the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, GENTLE (James 3:17).
Gentleness is part of the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5 (see verse 22-23).
The Greek word translated gentleness in Galatians 5 above is chrestotes.
Dr Vine in his Greek dictionary says, It refers to the virtue that pervades and penetrates the whole nature of a person that mellows anything harsh and austere. It is that virtue that is gentle, charming and calm, sainted to the company of all good people, attracting their friendship, delightful in encouragement and moderate in manners.
3. HE BRINGS THE FLOCK OF GOD TOGETHER TO THE FOLD.
Jesus said, I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen (fold). I must bring them also (John 10:16, NIV).
God says, My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them (Eze 34 :6).
How important is it for us to know that a pastors responsibility is to gather the flock, not to scatter them.
Gods intent has been to gather his flock under the care of true pastors. The devil, however, is trying his worst to utterly scatter them. Unfortunately, he has succeeded on some occasions.
Just as we cant serve two masters at the same time, so a pastor who is not gathering with God is definitely scattering with the devil.
Jesus clearly said, He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not GATHER with me SCATTERS (Mat 12:30, NIV).
In John 10:16 Jesus explained to us his intention to include in the flock or fold those who were still outside.
Notice that he said, I must bring them also (vs 16).
He didnt say, They must try and find their way to me. I will pray God to send them in while I relax.
A pastor should be evangelistically minded. Paul told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. There is a big difference between operating in the office of an evangelist and doing the work of an evangelist as the need arises.
A pastor should not discriminate against race, sex, age and so on. He can discipline and disfellowship an erring believer (1 Cor 5:9-13) but he should be careful not turn sinners or new comers away in hatred.
Remember the chief shepherd, Jesus said: All that the Father gives me will come to me and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me (John 6:37-39, NIV).
The book of Ezekiel reveals that a pastor should look and search for the lost ones, not get involved in sheep stealing.
He should not be going from place to place to subtly or forcefully convert the fruits of another mans labour unto himself (Jn 10:10).
You see, if you become the pastor of a sheep-fold improperly − by crooked, evil or manipulative means, then Jesus calls you a thief and robber (Jn 10:1-2).
I know a pastor who started his own church with members of the church he was pastoring before he resigned.
The old church was to have a particular series of meetings for some days and beginning from a particular date.
So this pastor and his cohorts cleverly manipulated most of the people to meet them for this same programme but at a new venue paid for by the new church!
When the day arrived for the meeting to start, the old church had fewer people in attendance while the new one had more people.
Initially the new denomination appeared to be a success story but actually it was bad success. Not every success is good success (Joshua 1:8, KJV).
That church is built on a wrong foundation. Gradually, its collapsing (Mat 7:24-27).
Any pastor whose joy and passion is to steal the spiritual and physical substance, kill the faith and zeal, and destroy destiny and eternal hope of members of the church is a thief. He shares the devils ministry and wears his title (John 10:10).
It is helpful to study how Jesus attracted and impacted the crowds. Its one thing to attract crowds but its a different thing to impact them positively for the progress of Gods kingdom.
Sadly enough, some pastors are experts at attracting people but failure at impacting them as God desires.
Thank God for signs, wonders and miracles. They can only attract peoples attention. They can neither get them born-again nor help renew their minds. They dont get them filled with the Holy Spirit, either!
It is only Gods word and Gods Spirit that can eternally change peoples lives (Rom 1:16, Jn 8:31-32, Ps 19:7, Jn 16:13).
A pastor should not use the arm of the flesh to attract people. For example, Jesus didnt use food to draw people. When the bread seekers found him, he answered, I tell you the truth you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give you (Jn 6:26-27, NIV).
He only gave them food when he saw a dire need for it. He did not go about doing bread crusade or money crusade. Its wrong of us to use worldly music, worldly songs, worldly fashion, worldly dance, etc to draw people.
4. HE LAYS DOWN HIS LIFE SACRIFICIALLY FOR THE FLOCK OF GOD
Jesus said, I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd LAYS DOWN HIS LIFE FOR THE SHEEP. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
and I LAY DOWN MY LIFE FOR THE SHEEP.
The reason My Father loves me is that I LAY DOWN MY LIFE -only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I LAY IT DOWN OF MY OWN ACCORD.
I have authority to LAY IT DOWN and authority to take it up again. This command I received from My Father (John 10:11-13, 15, 17-18, NIV).
Jesus was saying here that a pastor should not save his own neck while he sacrifices the lives of the sheep. Rather he should lay down his life for them.
He should sacrifice his own life to save the flock from the mouth of wolves - from demonic attacks, the grip of sin, the clutches of poverty, the pit of hell and the like.
He should lay down, sow or invest his gifts, talents, time, money, possessions, counsels, teachings and such like on the altar of consecration so that God can use all these to establish and mature the flock or help them one way or the other.
Remember God gave pastors, evangelists, prophets and so on for the maturing of the saints, for their work of ministry so that the body of Christ may be built up (Eph 4:11-12).
A selfish and self-centred person cant be a true pastor because he will need a great deal of hard work and sacrifice to fulfill his pastoral call to the flock.
Its strange to see a pastor fleecing the flock instead of feeding them!
Jesus heart bleeds each time a professing pastor is feasting on the sheep and milking them to death.
Woe to the pastors who are becoming rich, fat, comfortable and popular at the expense of the people (Eze 34:2-3, 18-20).
Its wrong and unscriptural for a pastor to be a burden to his congregation. That will hinder his effectiveness and bring reproach to his ministry (2 Cor 12:13-19, 2 Thess 3:6-13, 2 Cor 6:3-10).
A pastor who follows God and does his work rightly will prosper financially, materially and so on (Deu 28).
Jesus summarized it like this, Whoever finds his life will lose it, and WHOEVER LOSES HIS LIFE FOR MY SAKE WILL FIND IT (Mat 10:39, NIV).
David risked his life to save the lives of his fathers sheep from wild animals (1 Sam 17:34-37).
Some leaders hid in a cave of comfort, leaving their followers as prey to the enemies. In the end, they lost their lives and ministries too (Joshua 10:16-28).
5. HE BEARS THE FLOCK OF GOD PATIENTLY UNTO MATURITY
Paul wrote, My little children of whom I travail in birth again (the second time) until Christ be formed in you (Gal 4:19).
Speaking about the parable of the Sower, Jesus said, But that on the good ground are they, which is an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruits with patience (Luke 8:15).
Paul travailed in prayer before those Galatian folk could get born-again and he kept travailing until the character of Christ, authority of Christ,(given to all believers) faith of Christ, love of Christ, and so on were established firmly in them.
Paul was an apostle. An apostle is like a pastor of pastors as somebody explained. In fact, he (Paul) pastored temporarily as the need arose.
Every true pastor will tell you it requires God-given patience to bear the flock unto maturity.
Unlike a teacher who just teaches the congregation how to grow, a pastor teaches them how to grow and then proceeds to lead them into spiritual growth. He stays with them as they grow. He watches them maturing day in, day out: from one year to another!
Really, they grow together as he holds their hands spiritually through hard times, Many times, he has to carry the weak lambs on his shoulders of faith and chest of love (agape) in the spirit realm.
In Luke 8:15, Jesus revealed that it takes patience to see Gods word produce fruits or result in our lives. The reason is that it does not work automatically but by putting it to work. And thats hard work!
A pastor should be patient to listen to the flock, patient to counsel them, patient to correct them, and so on.
After I got born-again in 1993, I had many questions and struggles in my heart. One of those days, I had a terrifying dream. So I went to my pastor to tell him.
He told me, You need to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. And thank God because my life was transformed when I was baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire (see Mat 3:11, John 16:12-15, John 14:26).
The Holy Spirit leads into all truth and it is the truth that makes us free (John 16:13, John 8:31-32). Without this, we would only be like orphans in this world (Jn 14:18, NIV).
You see, the Holy Spirit is our comforter or helper. The Greek word translated comforter in John 14 is paraclete which means someone called alongside to help someone else!
Having a congregation who are baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire makes the work of the pastor easier.
Unfortunately, thats one of the problems plaguing many churches today. Friend, there is a vast difference between pastoring a Spirit-filled, fire-carrying congregation and a non-Spirit-filled, fireless one!
My pastor was patient with me virtually constantly as I bombarded him with the issues bothering my immature heart. He made a strong disciple out of me by Gods grace.
6. HE GUARDS THE FLOCK OF GOD JEALOUSLY
Jesus said, My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I gave them eternal life, and they shall never perish; NO ONE CAN SNATCH THEM OUT OF MY HAND (John 10:27-28, NIV).
Paul wrote the Hebrew church, Obey your leader and submit to their authority. They KEEP WATCH OVER YOU as men who must give an account... (Heb 13:17, NIV).
The life of a single sheep matters a lot to God. Jesus would never say, Well, the wolves can feast on just one of the sheep. It does not make a difference since I still have countless others safe under my care (see John 17:12).
That is not the spirit of a true shepherd. How much is a single soul worth? The answer is: the precious blood of Jesus.
Do you know that all mankind has been bought with a price (John 3:16, 1 Cor 6:19-20)? Do you know that nothing equates or can be exchanged for a human soul (Mk 8:36-37)?
Also do you realize that the currency of the kingdom of heaven is not dollar, pound, naira or so but it is the human soul (Lk 16:9, 11, Lk 12:16-21, Rev 2:9, Rev 3:17, 1 Tim 6:17-19)? (Please see Lk 9:51-56).
In fact, Luke 15 illustrates the value of a single soul: one lost sheep (vs 3-7), one lost coin (vs 8-10) and one lost son (vs 11-32).
A pastor guards or protects the flock jealously. He guards the pulpit from being infiltrated by false ministers.
He ensures that the congregants are not unequally yoked with unbelievers through evil association (2 Cor 6:14-18, I Cor 15:33, Prov 13:20).
Very sensitively, he should discern all the wolves in sheeps clothing and deal with them quickly but wisely or else, they will deal with the flock ruthlessly (Mat 7:15-20, Mat 24:24-25,Gal 2:4-5).
I remember a particular church in my home town that lost some of her youths to a cult. It all began when they embraced the heresies taught by this strange group.
One of the brothers left in the church gave me a copy of the cultic magazine containing these false teachings. They are just weird.
Thank God for pastors who guard the flock jealously!
Some few months after I got born-again, I read, THE CHALLENGE OF MISSIONS by Oswald Smith.
Alone in my cousins room, I read and wept profusely, wiping my tears with a handkerchief. So I decided to become missionary in Australia or so.
I did not sense a definite call of God in that respect but I only saw the need. I lost my peace. Still I did not change my mind. I was just learning to walk in the spirit.
By the time my pastor got to know, he sat me down and talked God into me. He counselled me wisely. Then he gave me a book CALLING AND SEPARATION, Opening the Door to Your Ministry by Bob Yandian.
I resolved to follow God, not my own plan. My peace was restored. God used my pastor to protect me and my call.
How many young people have wasted their calling and died prematurely because there was no one to guard them jealously? (Please read 2 Cor 11:2-4, 13-15).
For a further study along this line, I would recommend a lovely book, GUARDING THE LOCAL CHURCH − Identifying False Ministries by Dick Iverson.
7. HE KNOWS THE FLOCK OF GOD FAMILIARLY
Jesus said, He (the good shepherd, Jesus) calls his own sheep by name and leads them out, when he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice (John 10:3-4,NIV).
In a small church, the pastor should know the members familiarly. It is to his credit if he knows them by name.
Though in a big church, he may not know all, nevertheless the deacons or relevant ministers should (Acts 6:1-6. I Tim 3:8-13).
Some pastors have more than enough time to visit and counsel the rich members of their church. But they are rather too busy to spend a minute with the poor ones. Such ministers are bound by greed or covetousness.
There are two extremes to avoid here. First, it is not good for a pastor to be too familiar with the flock. Proverb 25:7 warned Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbours house; lest he be weary of thee and so hate thee.
The New International Version says Seldom (not often) set foot in your neighbours house -TOO MUCH OF YOU, and he will hate you.
Such over-familiarity breeds contempt. It limits ones effectiveness as a pastor.
Second, I think some pastors, on the other extreme have fenced themselves off from the flock. They make it rather difficult for their congregants to approach them or gain access to them.
Some ministers now charge people or force them to buy some things whenever they come seeking counsel, prayer, and so on.
Micah spoke about them in Micah 3:11-12 (NIV), Her leaders judge for A BRIBE, her priests teach for A PRICE, and her prophets tell fortunes for MONEY. Yet they lean upon the LORD and say, Is not the LORD among us? No disaster will come upon us.
Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubbish, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.
The personal assistant of a certain minister told me that it would cost one a particular amount of money to gain access to the man of God on week days but more than twice that amount on Sundays. He called it charity fee.
One of the leading men of God in Asia who pastors about a million people keeps a record of each true member of the church he leads.
Whenever one of them secures an appointment to see him in his office, he calls for that individuals file or record. And so on the church members arrival, the pastor welcomes him or her warmly and greets him or her very familiarly.
For instance, he may say How are you today Bro John? How about your wife, Mary; and your two sons Mike and Paul; and your daughter Gloria?
I hope youre enjoying the university where you lecture. How are the children doing at the Baptist College in the next town?
8. HE GOVERNS THE FLOCK OF GOD BY EXAMPLE
Peter warned some elders, Be shepherds of Gods flock that is under your care ... not lording it over those entrusted to you (not being domineering), but BEING EXAMPLES TO THE FLOCK (1 Peter 5:2-3, NIV).
Paul charged young Timo, ... but SET AN EXAMPLE FOR THE BELIEVERS IN SPEECH, IN LIFE, IN LOVE, IN FAITH AND IN PURITY (1 Tim 4:12, NIV).
He instructed Titus, In everything set them an EXAMPLE by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us (Titus 2:7-8, NIV).
A shepherd should be a living example of what he preaches and teaches to the congregation. He should not be a hypocrite who tells them to study and confess Gods word when he himself has no time to do so.
A hypocrite can tell you to live a holy life while he himself keeps on enjoying the pleasure of sin. He encourages you to give tithes and offerings which he doesnt give.
A pastor true to his calling should not talk evil about others behind their back while he condemns such an evil practice among the congregation.
Can you pastors tell the flock boldly, Follow me as I follow Christ. Intimate my character and attitudes and speech as I imitate Christs?
Examples are more powerful, more convincing and stronger than principles. I love how Oswald Sanders put it: Example is more potent than precept.
Yes, Jesus gave us the principles or commandments of love through the Scripture, but he demonstrated the power of love through his lifestyle!
If a pastor goes astray, some of the church members, especially the immature ones will go astray after him.
His downfall could spell the downfall of some in the congregation.
Thats why the Scripture says, Strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones (Zech 13:7, NIV).
A bad pastor puts his messages or sermons above his practical example for the flock whereas a good one tells them to do what he does and teaches (Mat 23:2-3, Phil 4:9).
9. HE DISCIPLINES THE FLOCK OF GOD CONSTRUCTIVELY
David wrote The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want...... YOUR ROD AND YOUR STAFF, THEY COMFORT ME (Ps 23: 1-4, NIV).
Paul wrote the Hebrew saints, In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.
And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons. My son, do not make light of the Lords DISCIPLINE, and do not lose heart when he REBUKES you, because the Lord DISCIPLINES those he loves, and he PUNISHES everyone he accepts as a son.
Endure hardship as DISCIPLINE; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not DISCIPLINED by his father? If you are not DISCIPLINED (and everyone undergoes DISCIPLINE), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.
Moreover, we have all had human fathers who DISCIPLINED us and we respected them for it.
How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers DISCIPLINED us for a little while as they thought best; but God DISCIPLINES us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.
NO DISCIPLINE seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Heb 12: 4-11, NIV).
It is interesting to understand the difference between a shepherds rod and his staff mentioned in the Psalm above.
He uses his rod to correct, discipline or chasten the sheep. Whenever he misbehaves, he beats foolishness out of him with the rod (Pro 22:15; Pro 10:13; Pro 29:15).
The staff is used differently. He uses this to guide or direct the sheep. Unlike a rod which is straight, it has a curved end, which he put around the sheeps neck to pull it away from distractions, wrong paths and evils.
Paul wrote the Hebrew believers that God disciplines every child he loves. He kept emphasizing that word discipline.
Many times God can use the pastor to rebuke or discipline an erring brother or sister. Its much more severe if God handles us himself.
Thats why Hebrew 10:31 says, It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (NIV).
A pastor should know when to rebuke and when to restrain a sheep. That was the mistake of Eli. He merely rebuked his misbehaving sons when God wanted him to restrain them (1 Sam 2:22-25, 27-29, 34, NIV).
You see, you rebuke with words while you restrain with actions. In other words, to rebuke is to speak to somebody severely to correct them but to restrain is to act to correct someone or prevent them from doing something wrong.
God told young prophetic Samuel about Eli, For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible and he fail to RESTRAIN them. Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, The guilt of Elis house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering (1 Sam 3:13-14 NIV).
Its sad to say that some pastors are afraid to restrain the saints from a bad habit or lifestyle!
Many years ago, I did something wrong somewhere, Therefore, I repented and received Gods forgiveness nevertheless I deemed it fit to report myself to my pastor. I could write about it now because God has helped me to deal with it.
More so, I believe in people who are real with issues. I dont want to join the holy hypocrites or anointed pretenders.
Someone said, A secret sin on earth is an open scandal in heaven.
So I invited the senior pastor with his wife as well as the assistant pastor. Then I opened up, they were shocked.
In fact, he commended my boldness and transparency saying, Of all the young people in this church, I dont think anyone else can make a sincere confession like this.
I told them I had come to them for two reasons. First, I wanted them to restore me.
Second, I wanted to be disciplined. It wasnt fornication because I was still single then. I cant remember ever sleeping with anyone all my life apart from my wife. Its been Gods grace, not my strength!
Are u surprised that such a thing ever happened to me? Are you disappointed that I told you a flaw in my past?
The scripture that encouraged my action back then was Galatians 6:1, Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, RESTORE such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
I felt disappointed in them when they pretended as if nothing had happened. I think they just prayed for me but did not bother to rebuke, restrain or discipline me!
A pastor should discipline the flock scripturally and constructively, but not carnally and destructively!
10. HE OUTSTRETCHES HIS TENTACLES TO ENSURE THE FLOCK OF GOD INCREASES NUMERICALLY
Jeremiah 23:3 (NIV) reads, I (the LORD) myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where THEY WILL BE FRUITFUL AND INCREASE IN NUMBER.
Acts 2:41, 47 (NIV) reads, Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were ADDED (not subtracted) to their number that day And the Lord ADDED to their NUMBER DAILY THOSE WHO WERE BEING SAVED.
Jesus said, And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd (John 10:16).
These Scriptures reveal that its Gods will that the flock grows both spiritually and numerically.
If a congregation is growing only numerically, then something is wrong. And if its growing only spiritually at the expense of numerical strength, then there is equally a problem somewhere.
Every pastor should avoid these two extremes. On the one extreme, a pastor can say, I dont want quantity (numerical growth), but only quality (spiritual growth).
On the other extreme, another pastor can shout, I want quantity (numerical growth) first, then if possible quality (spiritual growth) second. I dont care about quality as much as about quantity.
To strike a scriptural balance here, we need to embrace both quality and quantity. But we must always put quality before quantity to have a healthy, strong, purpose-driven and heaven-bound church!
I love how Rick Warren put it. Ive paraphrased him this way: Concentrate on fulfilling Gods purpose for your church. God will increase his church to his desired size and at his suitable rate.
A pastor should never be discouraged. He should not forget Proverbs 19:21, Many are the plans in a mans heart, but it is the LORDs PURPOSE that prevails.
So he should keep ministering to God, to himself, to other believers and to sinners knowing full well that Paul may plant, Apollos may water but only God gives the increase (1 Cor 3:6-7)!
Some time ago, I observed that the attendance in a particular church had dropped. Since I had some relationship with the pastor and his wife, I was concerned.
So before long, I discovered to my surprise that the pastor was the cause of the problem. It seemed he wanted rich people mainly in the church.
A member, who had stopped coming, confessed, The way the pastor talks about money made me stay away so that I can make some money before coming back.
Acts 2:47 tells us that God added to their number daily those who were being saved. It didnt say, God subtracted from their number daily.
Neither did it say, God added to their number daily those who were rich or millionaires.
Its sheer love of money (the root of all evils) that makes a pastor go after the rich only.
Jesus went after both the poor and the rich not considering riches as his driving force since he came to die for all both the rich and the poor (Mat 27;57, Mk 10:46-52, Lk 19:1-10, Jn 5:1-9).
In fact, Jesus focused more on the poor as his priority. He said, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see.
and THE POOR have the gospel preached to them (Mat 11:4-5).
Similarly, he (Jesus) declared in Luke 4:18: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to THE POOR....
Remember that as the Father had sent him, he sent us to seek and win the lost, both rich and poor to the kingdom of God!
EXECUTING THE MINISTRY OF A PASTOR EFFECTIVELY
1. HE SHOULD ENSURE HE HAS GODS MANDATE TO SHEPHERD A PARTICULAR FLOCK IN A PARTICULAR PLACE AT A PARTICULAR TIME
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God (Ro 8:14).
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Pro 3:5).
I know, O LORD, that a mans life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps (Jer 10:23, NIV).
We can infer from these scriptures that the necessity of Gods guidance in starting a new church or accepting the pastorate of an existing church cannot be over-emphasized.
God will always guide us by his Spirit whenever we acknowledge him. The steps of the righteous are still ordered by the LORD (Ps 37:23).
Pastoring in the permissive will of God may make it appear as if a man was not called and anointed by God to be a pastor!
A pastor is truly fulfilled only in Gods perfect will for him or her (Ro 12:2).
A pastor should make sure he has Gods clear leading to pastor a specific congregation in a specific place at a specific time.
For example, one should not pastor a church whose candle the Lord has removed whose door he has closed (please Rev 2:1, 5; Is 13:20).
Some years ago, in a prophetic night vision, the Lord gave me a clear instruction about a particular church I was trying to work with. The exact words I received were: THUS SAITH THE LORD, YOU ARE MY OWN. LEAVE.
About four years later, God warned me sternly again about the same church. At that time, I had left, but I felt like still helping them from outside the fold.
So I was planning with their pastor to have an open-air film show crusade for them. Then I received these words: LEAVE SUCH-AND-SUCH A CHURCH ALONE.
To tell you the truth, I went on to the crusade but came back a loser. Our ministry had just bought a projector then. At the crusade, it was destroyed with some of the things I took there. Someone even kicked dust into my eyes right there.
So I remembered the warning the Lord gave me just a couple of days earlier. It was all my fault. I had opened the door to demonic attack through disobedience in form of wrong association.
Shortly after that the Lord used this scripture to speak to me about the same church: Ephraim is joined to idols: LET HIM ALONE (Hos 4:17).
As I was still thinking of it, suddenly, their pastor just entered our apartment. I was dazed! But thank God today, I have distanced myself from that church as much as possible.
Similarly, God gave a warning through Prophet Micah: ARISE YE, AND DEPART; FOR THIS IS NOT YOUR REST: BECAUSE IT IS POLLUTED; IT SHALL DESTROY YOU, EVEN WITH A SORE DESTRUCTION (Mic 2:10).
On of the prophets in this nation preached a message several years ago, which I believe drives this truth home. He titled it: LOCATE, RELOCATE OR SUFFOCATE.
That simply means you have to locate your right place of assignment. If you are already in a wrong place, then relocate or you will suffocate there!
In fact, one should never take the pastoral honour upon himself unless God calls him to be a pastor. The first reason is: it is only those who are called and anointed to do it that can do it effectively with abiding fruits (Heb 5:4, John 15:16).
After pastoring for 15 long years, Peter Lord discovered that much of his pastoral work was in a mess. His fruits did not last. He felt like a failure.
In spite of sacrificing his life to labour in the Word and prayer to get people saved and discipled in various churches he had pastored, they remained practically unchanged. Or worse still, they went back to their old ways of life.
In desperation, coupled with a feeling of devastation, he wondered what had gone wrong. He got the missing link in a flash through what he had read from one of Watchman Nees books.
Nee wrote: GOD WILL ONLY BACK AND BLESS WHAT HE INITIATES.
Sadly, he realized his pastoral ministry has been full of dead works because he did not start with a leading or go-ahead from the Lord.
The second reason is: God will only give eternal rewards to those whom he appointed as pastors provided they do their pastoral work willingly in love and obediently in faith (please read 1Peter 5:2-4).
2. HE SHOULD REALIZE THAT HE MUST ONE DAY GIVE ACCOUNT OF EACH OF GODS FLOCK IN HIS CARE TO GOD
Paul wrote the Hebrew Church: Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you AS MEN WHO MUST GIVE AN ACCOUNT (Heb 13:17, NIV).
The scripture also says, This is what the sovereign LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them ACCOUNTABLE FOR MY FLOCK (Eze 34:10, NIV).
It is clear that every shepherd will give an account to the Lord about each of the sheep assigned to him.
Because of His justice, God will never hold a pastor accountable for a sheep He did not assign to him. Thats why all pastors should watch over the flock in their care as men who must give an account.
On that day, the Lord will not take an excuse from any pastor or minister for doing what they shouldnt have done or not doing what they should have done!
I imagine the Lord could say to Pastor A: I gave you 500 sheep to shepherd but you only watched over 200 of them. So now, where are the remaining 300? Tell me how you wasted their lives and ministries. Also account for..
He could say to Pastor B: I gave you 7, 500 sheep to pastor. You were foolish comparing yourself with and measuring yourself by those pasturing 300, 700 or 1,000 people. You did not realize that a larger congregation requires more responsibility, and more responsibility requires more prayer, strength and grace.
You did not have a genuine interest in their spiritual and physical welfare. You were pre-occupied with your selfish ambition and carnal pursuits.
You used some of them to satisfy your uncontrolled sexual appetite. It was a secret affair then but it is an open matter now Nevertheless tell me how you pastor them one by one.
He could say to Pastor C: I sent you to a very small town but the love of money, pursuit of career, desire for comfort and the crave for fame as well as your worldly wife blinded you from going there.
I destined you to pastor these 50 people but your reward is given to another. I hold you eternally responsible for these 50 people.
Yes I know you went to a big city to pastor a big church, but did I send you there? So I cant reward you for what I didnt initiate. You had some seemingly good fruits but I see them as dead works to be burnt up with fire (1 Cor 3: 10-15, 2 Cor 5:9-11).
3. HE SHOULD FIRST FOLLOW THE CHIEF SHEPHERD, THEN PAVE WAY THE WAY FOR HIS FLOCK TO FOLLOW HIM, TOO.
Peter wrote, For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, THAT YE SHOULD FOLLOW HIS STEPS
For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls (1Pet 2:21, 25).
Paul also wrote, BE YE FOLLOWERS OF ME, EVEN AS I ALSO AM OF CHRIST (1Cor 11:1).
Again Paul emphasized Christs supremacy or pre-eminence: And he is THE HEAD of the body, the church: who is THE BEGINNING, THE FIRST BORN from the dead; THAT IN ALL THINGS HE MIGHT HAVE THE PREEMINENCE (Col 1:8).
You see, Jesus is the Chief Shepherd (1Pet 5:4), the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), and the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (1 Pet 2:25).
Since He is the Head Shepherd of the Universal Church, then all pastors are under-shepherds of the different respective churches in their care.
This implies that He desires to pastor His people through these under-shepherds. We see that Jesus is continuing his pastoral ministry today through our pastors.
His purpose is that they would help his people grow up into him, who is the Head (Eph 4, 11, 15).
It is unfortunate, however, that many under-shepherds have taken the place of the Chief Shepherd in many local churches today.
A pastor who acknowledges the headship of Christ will follow him and lead the flock to follow him, too.
To such a pastor, whatever the Lord says or wants is the final; whoever the Lord has chosen to carry out an assignment in the local church is their accepted choice (regardless of age, gender, tribe, race, and so on).
On the contrary, in a church where the Headship of Christ is lost, the pastor controls and manipulates the people. And no one dares question him. They worship him with reverence and fear.
Such a pastor will be consumed when God visits that church with his justice and judgment!
The scripture has it that David shepherded Gods people with integrity of heart (Ps 78:72). But I think not every pastor has integrity of heart towards God and the flock.
O yes many have integrity of mouth. Friend, it is to be greatly regretted that one of the major missing ingredients of good and lasting success in ministry today is INTEGRITY OF HEART! And only few ministers have it.
You see, a pastor who pastors with integrity of heart will not usurp Christs position over HIS own flock.
Neither will he exploit them spiritually, financially, materially, sexually, ministerially and so on.
Rather than take advantage of them, his integrity of heart will compel or constrain him to help (not hinder) them to fulfil Gods call and purpose for their lives. This integrity of heart describes a true shepherd heart.
4. HE SHOULD SHEPHERD THEM COLLECTIVELY IN THE TEMPLE AND INDIVIDUALLY FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE WITHOUT NEGLECTING ANY CLASS.
The Scripture tells us something important about the Jewish Early Church, And they continuing daily with one accord in the TEMPLE and breaking bread from HOUSE TO HOUSE, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart (Acts 2:46).
Several years later, Paul told the elders of the Ephesian Church, And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but HAVE SHOWN you and HAVE TAUGHT you PUBLICLY, and FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE (Acts 20:20).
A church is definitely sick when most or many of her members are mere spectators. They come to mark time, populate the auditorium and clap for the superstars. Simply put, they are bench warmers or chair warmer.
A healthy church, on the other side, raises members that participate, not spectate. In this kind of a church, every believer is trained as a minister because every saint has a ministry (Eph 4:12).
The early church had their meetings publicly in the temple and also from house to house.
The only way a pastor can make the members participate, the only way he can shepherd them without neglecting any class is to shepherd them collectively in the temple and individually from house to house.
In other words, apart from their combined services in the sanctuary, they had house fellowship or home cell meetings done in members homes.
This home cell system was one of the secrets of the success of the early church. It is the secret of some of the fastest growing churches in the earth today.
The pastor cant visit and take good care of everybody in a big church. But the home cell leaders will relieve him of much pressure here.
In fact, it creates a conducive atmosphere in which members can minister to members. They share Gods word with one another. They share each others burdens as well, thus fulfilling the law of Christ (Gal 6:2). They evangelized, too.
A pastor should ensure that the home cell is never turned into just a Bible study or story class. It must be a caring fellowship where people enjoy the Word of God and physical provisions. It is more than Bible study or prayer meeting, though, it involves both.
They should study the Bible, worship God, pray for one another, develop their spiritual gifts, contribute to the financial and material needs of the saints, share testimonies, and so on.
Read More Than Numbers by Dr David Yonggi Cho.
5. HE SHOULD BELIEVE IN THEM AND RELEASE EACH OF THEM INTO THEIR WORK OF MINISTRY.
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be PASTORS and teachers, TO PREPARE GODS PEOPLE FOR WORKS OF SERVICE, SO THAT THE BODY OF CHRIST MAY BE BUILT UP
speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as EACH PART DOES ITS WORK (Eph 4:11-12, 15-16, NIV).
LOVE is ever ready to BELIEVE the best of every person (1Cor 13:7, AMP).
A pastor should love the flock with all his heart without hypocrisy or false pretence. Paul wrote that love is ever ready to believe the best of everybody.
Unfortunately, some pastors are either never ready to believe the best of any person or ever ready to believe the worst of every person!
Rather than be ever ready to believe the best of the flock and release them into their work of ministry, an insecure, envious or proud pastor will make effort to belittle, frustrate and imprison them in the denominational cage.
We need to realize that God didnt appoint pastors to do all the work of ministry. But they were given along with other ministry gifts to prepare Gods people for their individual work of ministry, so that the body of Christ may be built up as each member (saint) does his or her work (Eph $:11-12, 16, NIV).
God has not put any unneeded or useless member in the Body of Christ. So, a pastor should endeavour to help the congregation to discover their gifts and callings as well as encourage them to use them.
One of the ways to help release the saints to their work of ministry is to have different kinds of scriptural meetings, especially believers meeting (or fellowship [Acts 2:42, 1Cor 14:26]) and allow them to participate as God leads.
Another sure way to do this is to operate or adopt home cell system, also known as house caring fellowship.
You see, a pastor can only release people by creating encouraging opportunities for them. He should strengthen and release teaching ministries, growing prophetic gifts, healing ministries, drama ministries, intercessory ministries, leadership gifts, mercy-showing ministries, exhorting ministries, giving ministries, psalmists, ushers, and so on (1Cor 12:27-31, Ro 12:3-8).
A pastor once said to Bob Yandian, a fellow pastor, God hasnt called you to minister to everybody. He has called you to see to it that everybody is ministered to.
6. HE SHOULD SHARE THE BURDEN OF MINISTRY WITH SPIRIT-FILLED MEN AND WOMEN OF NOBLE CHARACTER WHO CAN EFFECTIVELY BEAR IT WITH HIM.
The LORD said to Moses: Bring me seventy of Israels elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the Tents of Meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. THEY WILL HELP YOU CARRY THE BURDEN OF THE PEOPLE SO THAT YOU WILL NOT HAVE TO CARRY IT ALONE (Num 11:16-17, NIV).
About three months after the Israelites came out of Egypt, Jethro (Moses father-in-law) visited him and advised him to choose capable men of integrity to serve as judges over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.
He counseled him to let those judges to be appointed handle the simple cases, while the difficult ones would be brought to him lest he should wear himself out, with stress from too many responsibilities (Ex 18:13-26).
Moses humbly adopted Jethros God-inspired principle. That conserved his strength and would increase his efficiency and effectiveness in ministry.
Then about two years later, Moses complained that the burden was too heavy for him. God knew that anyone who would assist him in ministry would have to be filled with the Spirit because it is neither by might nor by power, but by the Spirit of God.
So God told him to bring 70 elders among the appointed leaders and officials to be filled with the Spirit so that they would help him effectively to carry the burden of the people with him (see Num 11:10-30).
A pastor should share the burden of ministry with people of honest report, FULL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT and wisdom. That was a priority in the Early Church (please read Acts 6:3, 5).
[If you need a book that can help people receive the Holy Spirit in an easy scriptural way, then get a copy of my book: HOW TO RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT.]
Appointing leaders who are not filled with the Spirit is a great mistake (Zech 4:6, Acts 1:8). Besides, they need to have integrity and wisdom, too.
A pastor should never vacate his position for deacons to shepherd the flock. That is not a deacons calling. Deacons are meant to assist him, and not to replace him.
Actually, they are supposed to assist the pastor in ministering to the physical welfare of the congregation, though, those of them who are gifted in other things should be released into that specific area of their callings.
At the early stage of a church, a pastor may have to bear all or most of the burden. But as the church grows, he needs to delegate part of his authority to others.
A pastor who always does every work has been said to be like a pyramid turned upside down. Unless he learns to share his burden with others, he will grow old quickly, become fatigued, become less productive and damage his own health.
Sometimes, it may lead to his quitting the ministry or even pre-mature death!
7. HE SHOULD MAKE ROOM FOR ALL THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF NEW TESTAMENT MEETINGS.
The Scripture reveals, They devoted themselves to THE APOSTLES TEACHING and to THE FELLOWSHIP, to THE BREAKING OF BREAD and to PRAYER (Acts 2:42, NIV).
This Scripture above shows us four different types of meetings which the Early Church practiced initially.
i. Teaching meeting
ii. Fellowship meeting/ believers meeting
iii. Breaking-of-bread meeting/ communion meeting
iv. Prayer meeting
As time went on they had other types of meetings, too. Today, there should be a balanced diet of meetings such as:
i) Teaching Meeting (Acts 2:42)
The Scripture says they continued in the Apostles' doctrine or teaching (Acts 2:42). This speaks of teaching meetings.
Jesus taught his disciples several times (Mat 5-7, Mk 6:6). Paul conducted teaching meetings in different places (Acts 20:20, Acts 11:26).
Prolonged and anointed teachings on a particular subject help to align the congregation with God's purpose and grace along that line.
If a pastor desires to see God's flock baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire, he should teach them in that direction. If he wants them to live holy lives, he should instruct them on holiness.
Teaching them on finances, marriage, faith, healing, anointing, soul winning, authority, heaven, hell, the Word, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, fivefold ministry, and so on helps them to access God's grace and blessings in those areas.
ii) Fellowship/Believers Meeting (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor 14:26)
It affords believers the opportunity to minister to one another. Its target is neither to get sinners saved nor to teach the church as we do in a Bible study meeting.
Sinners attending a believers' meeting can get saved and people there can learn a Bible teaching or doctrine.
"How is it then brethren? when ye come together, EVERY ONE of you HATH A PSALM, HATH A DOCTRINE, HATH A TONGUE, HATH A REVELATION, HATH AN INTERPRETATION. Let all things be done unto EDIFYING" (1 Cor 14:26).
Over 90 per cent of churches here don't observe this. It is fellowship or sharing of the saints (see Acts 2:42).
The Greek word translated fellowship in Acts 2:42 means "participation, sharing together, communion"
So in a believers' meeting, the saints participate. They don't just sit down like ducks in water or spectators at a football match. No, they share together whatever God put in their spirits according to 1 Cor 14:26.
Yes, one believer can give a message in an unknown tongue while another interpret it.
One believer can give a psalm while another give a teaching or doctrine. One can give a revelation, vision, prophecy or dream while another give a testimony.
We have carved out some time mainly for fellowship or believers' meeting in our school of ministry or church service at one point in time or the other. But we need to go back to that "first love."
In our School of Ministry in August 2014, the fellowship aspect was not effective as the Lord expected because I did not take the pains to explain it to them from the Scriptures. I strongly believe we need to teach people what the Bible says about it (see 1 Cor 14:26, Acts 2:42).
But the believers' meeting in our January 2012 School of Ministry was superb and refreshing.
Please read "Plans, Purposes and Pursuits" by Kenneth E. Hagin along this line.
iii) Communion/Breaking-of-bread Meeting (Acts 2:42)
Paul wrote, "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
And when he had given thanks, he brake it and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do in remembrance of me.
For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come" (1 Cor 11:23-26).
Acts 2:42 tells us that they continued stedfastly in breaking of bread among other things. We can't substitute prayer or teaching meeting for this, and vice versa.
Every pastor should understand the significance of breaking of bread and keep it as a divine ordinance.
It should be ministered in the temple and from house to house (see Acts 2:46).
Please study Mat 26:17-30, 1 Cor 11:17-34, Jn 6 and Exo 12.
iv) Prayer Meeting (Acts 2:42)
The Early Church continued in prayer (Acts 2:42). In fact, they had their regular hours of prayer (Acts 3:1). The early disciples saturated themselves with prayers. They took prayer meetings seriously. No wonder they had power with God.
A pastor should first and foremost be a man of prayer. Then he should encourage people to be by example.
It's a big mistake to use most of the time allotted to a prayer meeting for teaching people how to pray.
For example, if a prayer meeting is to last one hour, and we use 50 minutes to teach on prayer but only 5 to 10 minutes to do real praying! That's too bad.
Why not use 5 to 10 minutes to teach or charge them on prayer, then 50 minutes to really pray?
You see, if you use 50 minutes to speak on prayer but 5 to 10 minutes to pray, then you are having a teaching meeting, and not a prayer meeting!
There are different types of prayers. You can read my book: "School of Life or "Basic Bible Course." People should be taught the kind of prayer to use in a particular situation (Eph 6:18).
In a prayer meeting, people can be exhorted briefly on how to pray, but the purpose of the meeting should be praying, not talking about prayer.
In addition to that, there should be teaching meeting to really teach people how to really pray.
For instance, a church may use their teaching meeting or Bible study on Wednesdays to teach people how to pray with little time to really pray. But they may use their prayer meeting on Fridays to practise at length what they have learnt on Wednesday. This can go on for 1 month or more.
v) Worship/Praise Meeting (Acts 13:2)
'While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them" ' (Acts 13:2, NIV).
I believe this is the most important kind of meeting we can have. Pastors should create enough opportunity for people to minister to the Lord. There should be meetings where people come to worship God.
That's the purpose of such a gathering. Not to teach or pray or minister to the sick. Though those other things could crop up as God leads but they are not the major focus (1 Chron 15:16-29, 2 Chron 5:11-14).
vi) Leadership Meeting (Acts 20: 17-37, Acts 15:6-21)
Acts 15 tells us of a leaders' meeting in Jerusalem. Its targeted at answering a hard question starring some church leaders in the face.
Also Paul conducted a leadership conference for elders (or pastors) in Miletus (Acts 20:17-38).
Usually, this kind of meeting is not for every Tom, Dick and Harry. Neither is it for babes in Christ.
Here leaders feast on tender and tough meat of the Word. Issues which cannot be addressed in a general church meeting are dealt with. Bony meat which cannot be served to just any church member is served and eaten.
A pastor should organize regular periodic meetings with the leaders of the church, without which they cannot be at the peak of their performance.
God told Moses to have a leaders' meeting (Exo 3:16-18). David summoned a similar meeting (1 Chron 28).
vii) Healing Meeting (Acts 5:15-16)
"When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick" (Mat 14:14, NIV).
This scripture speaks of a healing meeting. The purpose of a healing service is to heal the sick.
Some may be healed, all may be healed or none may be healed due to one reason or the other.
Even Jesus who had the Spirit without measure did not heal all the sick he ministered to.
At a time, he healed all the sick he ministered to (Mat 12:15, Luk 9:10) but at another time, he could only heal a few no matter how hard he tried. Their unbelief hindered him (Mk 6:4-6, Lk 4:23).
One can conduct a heali
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