I love being a Pastor. I’m passionate about preaching. I am humbled that God has called me to shepherd a flock of His choosing. And I especially love the fuel that fires me up – the Word of God and what it has to say about whom I am.
One of my favorite passages on the subject is Paul’s gut-wrenching goodbye to the Epehsian elders who met him at the island port city of Miletus. It’s recorded in Acts 20:17-38. I’ve been reading it afresh today and have discovered a pattern of ministry I hadn’t spotted before…
Our calling is to preach everywhere.
He mentions in verse 20 that he had taught them “publicly” and “from house to house.” The old-fashioned of our day claim this refers to door-to-door evangelism while others support a home-based small group approach to ministry. Though I lean toward the latter as the proper interpretation, I think the point was that whether in masse or one-on-one, Paul communicated the gospel in every atmosphere of life.
Our calling is to preach to everyone.
He preached “both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks…” Paul was burdened for the Jews and called to the Gentiles, but loved the lost of very color and race. There’s an intrinsic impartiality to our calling. We don’t simply preach to those like ourselves, but to all.
Our calling is to preach every word.
Paul “kept back nothing…” and preached “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ…” and let it be known that he had “not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” In other words, Paul covered the bases and shared everything God wanted him to share. He broached every subject and avoided nothing.
I also find in this passage what I believe to be the two-fold calling of a Lead Pastor: to lead and to feed. He addressed the elders as “overseers” (leaders) and instructed them to “feed the church of God.” Preaching and leading are the callings of the Pastor and little else.
So Pastors need to be free to do these two things and to do them well.
One of my favorite little phrases in the entire passage comes in verse 24. Paul speaks of all the challenges and adversities he’s faced and then says simply, “none of these things move me.” There was a threat upon his life and ministry, but he refused to be swayed in the least. He wouldn’t be moved.
Every time I read that passage, I ask myself a simple question, “What does it take to move me?” How little is required to stop me in my ministry tracks? What about you, what can stop you? Hopefully “none of these things.”
Stay true to the calling! Don’t be moved.