The Pastor's Charge - Part 3 (Acts 20:32-38)
What we learned last 2 times - 6 charges...
Charge #1 - ___SERVE THE LORD___ . (Acts 20:19)
Charge #2 - ___PREACH THE WORD___ . (Acts 20:20-21)
Charge #3 - ___MOVED BY THE SPIRIT___ . (Acts 20:22-24)
Charge #4 - ___TEACH THE WHOLE TRUTH___ . (Acts 20:27)
Charge #5 - ___PROTECT THE FLOCK___ . (Acts 20:28)
Charge #6 - ___REMAIN ON GUARD___ . (Acts 20:30-31)
Charge #7 - _____________________________ .
You may think that ordination doesn't really matter or that it's just a ceremony invented well into the church age. But I believe we see it's roots from the very first:
"Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified." Acts 20:32 NIV
Commit = commend = entrust. A belonging to God and an obligation to carry well the faith entrusted to them to share with others. This is why I say to you that I am called into the ministry. Technically there is no retirement from this commitment. One never ceases to be commended. A lifetime commitment to God and to His Word.
Among all those who are sanctified. What does sanctified mean? To be set apart. To be made holy. Set apart for a purpose. What purpose? To share the word of God's grace with others!
Did not begin with Paul, but with Jesus in the upper room:
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit - fruit that will last - and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you." John 15:16 NIV
Today, when someone is ordained for ministry, what that really means is that a community of Christ-followers has witnessed and formally bestows its belief that a person meets the requirements for ordination. It's a shortcut letter of commendation that a pastor can take with him as he goes about his pastoring journey. So what do we look for?
3 evidences of committed ministers:
(1) ________________________ (that you might go)
There is no sitting around with God. For the ordained pastor there is always the compelling of the Holy Spirit to go! Charge #3. Different for each but always a go!
(2) _______________________(that you might bear fruit)
This is not just the go, but the accomplishment. The blessing of God. The evidence that God's hand was also in the work. Fruit that lasts is the results that keep on giving birth to new fruit and new results.
(3) _______________________(that you ask in my name)
The ordained pastor is not someone who relies upon his own strength to get the job done. A praying pastor. A pastor who works in the name of Jesus.
Charge #8 - _____________________________ .
This one may seem obvious, but since today we have so many pastors claiming God's blessing upon them to be wealthy, preaching health & wealth.
Paul: "I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions." Acts 20:33-34 NIV
Paul set the bar incredibly high. He was a bi-vocational elder. He worked at his job as a tent-maker to provide for his own needs.
When we started Church Requel I went a year without taking any salary so that we could have the resources we needed to purchase the church equipment. Even now I also work bivocationally, doing tax work to supplement my salary.
Why is not being money motivated so vital for a pastor?
JESUS: "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." Luke 16:13 NIV
Not just for pastors. Ultimately we all have to decide our master - God or money. One primary reason we worship with tithes and offerings is to prove to ourselves (not to God - He already knows) who our master is. We give out of the blessings that God has provided us. We give the first fruits back to Him in recognition that He has provided us what we need.
Should pastors then be expected to work for no pay? NO!
"The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For Scripture says, 'Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,' and 'The worker deserves his wages.'" 1 Timothy 5:17-18, Deut. 25:4, Luke 10:7 NIV
It is only right to provide wages to a pastor so that he can take care of the needs of himself and his family. But it should be equally clear that this paycheck is NOT the reason he works at his pastoring job.
Charge #9 - __________________________ .
One final charge. This is not a easy job. It is demanding, psychotically and physically. It often demands a sacrifice of personal time and space. It's not a "let's see how little I can do" kind of job. It's not a time-stamped "on" or "off." It's not a fair compensation kind of job! "More blessed to give" kind of job...
"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus Himself said: 'It is more blessed to give that to receive.'" Acts 20:35 NIV
Within today's American evangelical church it has become popular to survey pastor salaries and then cross-reference them with denomination, region of the country, rural or urban, and congregation size. Then, when hiring a pastor, the church can research the "fair compensation" for a pastor for other churches like them. This doesn't seem to fit verse 35!
Here we pay the pastor what we can afford to pay him. There have been times when the finances were really low that we had to hold back a paycheck or not give a hoped for raise. And never have we checked to see what the pastor's compensation should be based upon metrics.
Personally, I hope and pray that I am doing the job well enough that you can't really afford to pay me for the job I'm doing. I would much prefer to "send it on ahead!" Isn't that the pastor you really want and hope for?
Conclusion: We don't want to take advantage of our pastors' good inclinations either (for future reference!) There should be a mutual sharing of the burden between pastor and congregation.
What about you today? With these 9 charges do you know how to pray for your pastor? Do you know how to encourage him? To support him?