So many good and fruitful tasks demand a pastor’s time, and yet most cannot be accomplished on a regular basis. How is a pastor to know what is to be the main priority? The pastor’s task is to minister the word of God to his people. We do not want to assume everyone understands what it means to minister the word and what that looks like in a pastor’s weekly schedule. Here are 3 applications to remind us:
A Public Application. The pastor is to minister the word of God to his people in the public gatherings of his local church. This certainly involves preaching (preferably expositional sermons), but if our public gatherings are to be centralized on the word of God, the planning and leading of those services are also a public means Scripture is ministered to our people. Do not underestimate the impact of meaty Scripture readings read well and singing Scripture in Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
A Private Application. Because many pastors stress the importance of ministering the word publicly, primarily through preaching (as it should be), this focus can lead to a devaluing of ministering the word of God individually with your sheep. Pastors are just as much ministering the word of God when reading and encouraging a dear saint with Scripture in the hospital or in a counseling session as they are to a massive crowd. Pastors, make sure you are evaluating the one-on-one ministry of the word as equally valuable and that which enhances your public ministry.
A Prayerful Application. Pastors should never minister the word in a public or private fashion without it being basked in prayer. Pray during your prep to preach. Pray for that sweet saint you just read Scripture to and visited in the hospital. Pray that this word of life feeds your own soul as you feed it to others in their time of need.
Pastors, we have many demands on our time and a new batch of them already started this morning. Do not lose sight that pastors are ministers of the word of God. Delegate as much as you can to others so that this primary task the Chief Shepherd has given us to care for his sheep is how the majority of our time gets spent this week.
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Brian Croft is Senior Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the husband of Cara and adoring father of four children, son, Samuel and daughters, Abby, Isabelle, and Claire. He has served in pastoral ministry for over fifteen years and is currently in his eighth year as Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church. He was educated at both Belmont University and Indiana University receiving his B.A. in Sociology. He also undertook some graduate work at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He is also the author of Visit the sick: Ministering God’s grace in times of illness (foreword by Mark Dever) and Test, train, affirm, and send into Ministry: Recovering the local church’s responsibility to the external call (foreword by R. Albert Mohler Jr.). Both of these volumes are published by Day One in their pastoral series designed to serve pastors, church leaders, and those training for local church ministry. Brian has also published Help! He’s Struggling with Pornography and Conduct Gospel-centered Funerals (co-written with Phil Newton).
A Faith That Endures: Meditations on Hebrews 11 is Brian’s newest book, released in fall of 2011. His next book on The Pastor’s Family, co-authored with his wife, is due to be released by Zondervan in Fall 2013.
To find out more, please visit Practical Shepherding.