Lessons for Modern-Day Sowers of the Word
Dr. Ray PritchardDr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 29 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The ABCs of Christmas, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 43 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, three daughters-in-law--Leah, Vanessa, and Sarah, and seven grandchildren. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
- 2007 May 27
We’ve just posted a new sermon on the Keep Believing website: Lessons for Modern-Day Sowers of the Word. Here’s an excerpt: "It’s easy for a pastor to be sidetracked into a thousand things that don’t really matter in the ministry. I meet pastors all the time who work hard, stay busy all week long, and have their hands in a thousand things at once. That’s generally a recipe for eventual burnout. No one can do it all.
When you find good soil, cultivate it. That’s what Jesus did. Though he spoke to the masses, and though he had time for individuals, he gave the majority of his time to training the twelve. He found them, he called them, he trained them, and he allowed them to come alongside and be with him up close and personal. He poured himself into that small band of men knowing that after his departure, they would become the leaders of the movement he had started.
Don’t miss the point.
No one really knows what the pastor’s job is. Even if you have a job description, it’s usually so general as to be almost useless. I don’t know a single pastor who consults his job description in the morning to figure out what he should be doing during the day. If you have 300 people in your church, you’ve got 300 bosses, each with their own perception of what you should be doing. If you fall into the trap of trying to please them all, your ministry is bound to fail or you will end up frustrated and ineffective. And it’s not as if I can tell you, “This is what you should be doing,” because churches and ministry cultures vary so widely. Part of it you’ll have to figure out on your own. That takes time and patience and prayer and wisdom from on high. Plus it helps if you listen to your wife and to a circle of trusted advisors.
I don’t think we can improve on Jesus’ plan for reaching the world.
He preached to the masses.
He ministered to individuals.
He poured himself into a small group of key followers.
He called an even smaller group to be his apostles.
That small group of 12 men (which eventually became eleven after Judas defected) was the real focus of Jesus’ earthly ministry. After he returned to heaven, they became the foundation for the church he was building (Ephesians 2:20).
Every pastor needs to do the same thing. Find a group of key men and women and pour yourself into them. Teach them. Pray with them. Listen to them. Laugh with them. Cry with them. Challenge them. Encourage them. Meet them early in the morning. Call them late at night. Send them a weekly email. Bring them into your confidence. Let them see your heart.
There is only one thing wrong with this plan. It takes a long time and it takes a lot of energy and you have to be really committed to it. This isn’t a quick-rewards program."
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