Requirement for a Pastor: The Ability to Teach

Most preachers would rather preach than teach.
Even the names say that, don’t they? We call pastors “preachers,” not “teachers.” And yet … In seminary, we used up an entire class period one day trying to figure out the difference in preaching and teaching. By the end, we had given up.
Each of us has our own understanding of how they differ. Here’s mine:
Think of preaching as exhorting and proclaiming in order to change lives; think of teaching as imparting information and insights in order to inform the mind and change the heart. Teaching can be an important but minor part of preaching, and exhorting may be one component of good teaching. But the major chord of preaching is proclaiming, and the major thrust of teaching is conveying insights and truths.
“Yes, but …”
Right. We could go all day long—as we nearly did in that class—with exceptions and perceptions. But let’s get on with the business at hand: A pastor (“overseer”; see Acts 20:28) must have the ability to teach. This raises several questions, among them: Why should a pastor be able to teach? And how should he teach?
(Note to women pastors: I write as a Southern Baptist. No offense intended by the male references. Thank you.)
Teaching is a major part of a pastor’s job description. In fact, Ephesians 4:11 calls this office “pastor/teacher.”
The pastor is the closest spiritual leader to the people. Or should be. No one knows the sheep better than the shepherd. The visiting evangelist doesn’t. He and the missionary who drops by and the denominational official who stops in on his rounds can proclaim and exhort and even inform, but no one is able to teach the people better than the one who knows them best, loves them dearest and is daily paying the price for the privilege of leading them.
When the man of God who prayed with us in the hospital before my surgery, who performed our wedding, who buried my parents, who baptized my children and who is on call whenever we need him, when this shepherd opens the Word to teach, I’m more than ready to listen. He has my undivided attention.
Oh, pastor, teach your people. If you have been there for them in their crises, they will listen to you as to no one else. In the Jerusalem church, the apostles were teaching pastors. When the church of 120 found itself overwhelmed by 3,000 additions in a single day, a quick conference of leadership determined that the four activities necessary to disciple and assimilate the newcomers would be: “the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer” (Acts 2:42). Priority was given to doctrine, and the apostles were the ones to teach it. After all, these who had walked with the Lord for three years were better able than anyone to say who He was, what they saw and heard and felt, and what it all means.
The apostles were teachers. You be one too, pastor. Teach your people. Why the pastor should teach his people:
1. In a typical Baptist church (again, this is who I am and all I know), the membership knows a lot about the Bible, but it’s mostly jumbled, out of order and not always clear to them. They need to be taught by one who will take the time and do it right.
2. Your members would love to know how the Bible is organized and divided; how to read the Proverbs (not as promises but as principles); how to fall in love with the Psalms but not get hung up over some of its harshness; what to do with the dark prophecies which can seem scary; and how to make the most of a daily quiet time with the Word. Many want to know how to pray, how to share their faith and what to do when they find themselves arrested, beaten, and then thrown in jail (see Acts 16:25). Teach them not to be caught off guard by trouble, tribulations, even persecution. Teach them to tithe when they are broke, to love the unlovely and unwashed, and to forgive when everything inside them cries out for revenge.
Teach them to live by faith. Teach them that living by faith means worshipping and believing and praying and giving and forgiving and everything else by faith, and teach them what that means.
3. If you do not do this, pastor, in most cases it will not get done. How the Pastor Should Teach His People
The shepherd should use every tool in his box, every opportunity that comes his way, every problem that arises in the church, every victory and every failure. Teach the people individually, in private conversations and counseling situations. Teach them from the pulpit, in sermons as well as in the welcoming and announcing times. Teach them in classrooms and in homes.
Teach them by your example.
A good pastor will look for creative ways to teach his people.
Let me tell you a teaching thing one of my pastor mentor does. Pastor Tom has pulled together several “mature” couples in the church and assigned each one a number of younger couples to mentor. Once in a while, the leadership couple invites their assigned couples to meet—sometimes in their home, perhaps in a restaurant, at the church, for a cookout or ball game or study time. They talk about life and marriage, God’s Word and raising children, handling finances and in-laws, and they pray together.
When I heard of this, I thought two things:
First, how blessed these people are to have such a visionary pastor.
And second, how much my wifet and I would have benefited from such a mentorship when we were newlyweds. Instead, one would have thought we were reinventing the home, since we learned everything the hard way. Incidentally, that is precisely what qualifies a couple to teach others later: struggling to learn the lessons and wishing to extend a hand to those coming after them.
Clearly, a pastor is not the only teacher a church has. But he is the best teacher in the church. He is the one who leads the teachers and often teaches the teachers. He is the one who values teaching above almost everything else that goes on in church with the single exception of worship.
“When [the shepherd] puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:4).
Teach them, pastor.
I can hear some young preacher saying, “But my people do not want to learn. They are satisfied the way things are.” My suggestions:
Do not tell them, “I am now teaching, and you are now learning.” Just do it. Start with the basics—what the writer of Hebrews called “the elementary principles” (Heb. 5:12). Then go from there.
Pray hard. Pray for your people by name. Single out those who are responding to your teaching. Pray for them specifically, and encourage them personally. Be patient with them. In many cases, the sheep do not trust the shepherd because his predecessor abused them. Give them time and take the long view for yourself. Do not be quick to leave them for another church. Stay with the assignment.
Not everyone grows at the same rate. Some will grow easily and quickly, while others change slowly and almost invisibly. Rejoice in small victories; celebrate big victories.
Keep your eyes on the Lord and not on the members. Look to Him for your encouragement; otherwise you are setting yourself up for great disappointment.
Hang in there. Love them, and show your people what it’s like for them to have a pastor who loves them and wants God’s best for them and is willing to stay with them until they get it!

Photo(s) / Resource(s) Pastor Tom Davis, Dr. Joe McKeever

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Know Your Calling

Finding your calling in life can be a source of great anxiety. We put it right up there with knowing God’s will or learning our true purpose in life.
Part of the confusion comes about because some people use these terms interchangeably, while others define them in specific ways. Things get muddled even more when we throw in the words vocation, ministry and career.

We can sort things out if we accept this basic definition of calling: “A calling is God’s personal, individual invitation to carry out the unique task he has for you.”

That sounds simple enough. But how do you know when God is calling you, and is there any way you can be sure you’re doing the task he has assigned you? Your ministry, or calling, is the purpose of your life – the reason you exist. It is what God has in mind for you to do and be. It is the accumulation of what God has invested in you so far through gifts and abilities, heredity and circumstances, and through experience and the choices you have made.

The First Part of Your Calling
Before you can discover God’s calling for you specifically, you must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus offers salvation to every person, and he wants to have an intimate friendship with each of his followers, but God reveals a calling only to those who accept him as their Savior.
This may put many people off, but Jesus himself said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, NIV)

Throughout your life, God’s calling for you will bring great challenges, often distress and frustration. You can’t succeed at this task on your own. Only through the constant guidance and help of the Holy Spirit will you be able to carry out your God-appointed mission. A personal relationship with Jesus guarantees that the Holy Spirit will live within you, giving you power and direction.

Unless you are born again, you’ll be guessing at what your calling is. You’ll rely on your own wisdom, and you’ll be wrong.

Your Job is Not Your Calling
You may be surprised to learn that your job is not your calling, and here’s why. Most of us change jobs during the course of our life. We may even change careers. If you’re in a church-sponsored ministry, even that ministry can end. We will all retire someday. Your job is not your calling, no matter how much it may allow you to serve other people.

Your job is an instrument that helps you carry out your calling. A mechanic may have tools that help him change a set of spark plugs, but if those tools break or get stolen, he gets another set so he can get back to work. Your job may be closely wrapped up in your calling or it may not. Sometimes all your job does is put food on the table, which gives you the freedom to go about your calling in a separate area.

We often use our job or career to measure our success. If we make a lot of money, we consider ourselves successful. But God is not concerned with money. He is concerned with how you’re doing at the task he has given you.

As you’re playing your part in advancing the kingdom of heaven, you may be financially rich or poor. You may be just getting by in paying your bills, but God will give you everything you need to accomplish your calling.

Here’s the important thing to remember: Jobs and careers come and go. Your calling, your God-appointed mission in life, stays with you until the moment you are called home to heaven.

How Can You Be Sure of God’s Calling?

Do you open your mailbox one day and find a mysterious letter with your calling written on it? Is God’s calling spoken to you in a booming voice from heaven, telling you exactly what to do? How do you discover it? How can you be sure of it?

Any time we want to hear from God, the method is the same: praying, reading the Bible, meditating, talking with godly friends, and patient listening.

God equips each of us with unique spiritual gifts to help us in our calling. A good list is found in Romans 12:6-8 (NIV):

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

We don’t recognize our calling overnight; rather, God reveals it to us gradually over the years. As we use our talents and gifts to serve others, we discover certain types of works that feel right. They bring us a deep sense of fulfillment and happiness. They feel so natural and good that we know this is what we were meant to do.

Sometimes we can put God’s calling into words, or it may be as simple as saying, “I feel led to help people.”

Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…” (Mark 10:45, NIV).

If you take that attitude, you’ll not only discover your calling, but you’ll do it passionately for the rest of your life.

Photo(s) / Resource(s) Jack Zavada
uch as teaching, leadership, administration, helps, encouragement, service or giving. Your voice might or might not be consistent with your current role or title; and it might be a method you have yet to develop. Consider things that you “do” and things that you “be”; but remember that just because you can do or be something does not mean you should. Test for consistency between your message and voice. You probably have more than one voice, but you do well to identify your primary voice.

Your Audience
These are the intended recipients of your message. They are able to hear your voice and understand your message. Sometimes it helps to narrow your target audience to get a clearer picture of your message. Clarity and focus offset dilution and diffusion.

The Results
These are the expected outcomes when your audience hears your message. Results can indicate how well you are delivering the message. Results also serve to encourage you in the pursuit of your calling. They are the fruit of your ministry. Test your actual results against your expected results as one way to make sure your message is on point.

How to Know Your Calling
What is the ministry which you have received in the Lord? Using just the first chapter of Colossians as a guide, answer the following questions in respect to the Apostle Paul. Then ask God to help you answer the same questions for yourself.

What Does A Real MAN Look Like?

What-Does-A-Real-MAN-Cover-web

A book I received and read by Enrigue Pascal, has touch on some  circumstances I faced in my life inspired me to write this blog:

What Does A Real MAN Look Like? This question is the million dollar inquiry.  Surprisingly, it is asked by as many men as women.  Quite a few ladies are experiencing tremendous pain because they are involved with men who have no true sense of manhood.  To make matters worse, society give us conflicting messages regarding this issue.  The quest to discovering a real man can be dark and troubling. What Does A Real MAN Look Like? Quite often, this question is answered with physical characteristics such as: tall, dark, handsome, blond hair, or blue eyes.  This mindset is the major source of the problem.  Society is so fascinated with the physical features of people that we overlook or pay very little attention to their emotional, mental, and spiritual state.

True beauty is on the inside of an individual not on the outside.  A Person can have amazing looks and yet have a terrible heart.  God is attracted to a certain type of man.  “But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his appearance or at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him.  For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” {1st Samuel 16:7AMP}.  What kind of man attracts your attention?

What Does A Real MAN Look Like? This question echoed in my mind constantly, and my search for the answer steered me in the wrong direction.  I was intrigued by drug dealers, womanizers, short-tempered men, selfish men, money hunger men and men who utilized damaging words.  I did have temporary examples of a real men with my uncles and later my stepfather; but I became the very person I admired.  My life was a living hell, I was failing in all of my relationships, and I was on the verge of losing my mind.  The turmoil was too much for me to handle.  As a result, I was depressed and haunted by thoughts and attempts of suicide.  I was filled with constant frustration because I was trying to do the right thing, but I kept failing no matter how hard I tried.

It is difficult to know what is right if you were never introduced to the rules for good living.  This statement is not an excuse by any means as I am not attempting to hide behind my faults.  As a whole, my life was on the job training, and my wife was on the verge of saying those dreadful words, “You are fired.”  I should have been fired.  I was doing a terrible job of being a responsible adult and a good husband.  I struggled with my transformation; however, I was determined to transform into what I desperately needed to become – “A Real MAN.” I did not write this blog to bash men or to pat myself on the back.  In reality, I am very transparent regarding my own struggles with this issue.  I love to help people, and I believe you can only help a person by exposing all of yourself – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  With this understood, I wrote this blog to shed light on a dark situation.  Numerous people have tried to define a real man and have failed in their attempts.  It is my desire to share with you important information which has radically changed my life for the better.  I am excited for you because I believe this information is going to radically change your life for the better as well.

My journey led me to the greatest discovery in the world – the love of God! I cannot describe to you the freedom I felt once I discovered this amazing guide and example to true manhood.  For the first tyme in my life, I surrendered to the Father who loves me more than I could ever imagine.  His love is the reason why I made this life changing conversion, His love is the reason why I wrote this book, and His love is the reason why you are reading this book.

What Does A Real MAN Look Like? When I asked God this question, He revealed the answer to me in great depth and detail.  He led me to Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father.  What an example of a real man.  Joseph had to be an amazing man since God trusted him with the responsibility of fathering Jesus.  I was moved and deeply inspired by Joseph’s character.  Are you ready to be moved and deeply inspired by Joseph’s character? Are you ready to experience a transformation that will forever change your life for the better?

What Every Man And Woman Need To Know About True Manhood!

 Photo(s)/Resource(s): Enrique Pascal