Pastoral Ministry
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What's Changed and What Hasn't
Ephes. 4:1-6; 11-12 

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, [2] with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, [3] being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. [4] There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; [5] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, [6] one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. [11] And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, [12] for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 

Last Spring I received two phone calls that changed my life. One was from a fellow Pastor in New Mexico. "How would you like to move back to California?" He asked. 

Your pastor search committee had contacted him while they were looking for a pastor. After spending some time in prayer, he'd come to the realization that it was not God's will for him to relocate to California, but called to ask me if he could tell the committee about me. Knowing my strengths and weaknesses and something about your church, he felt we were a good match. My reply was simple-- "I'm really not wanting to move." He persisted, so I agreed to let him mention my name to your committee.

About a month later, Susan Jones gave me a call. When I told her that I really wasn't wanting to move she said something that startled me. "Good! We're not interested in anyone that is wanting to move." Over the years, I've gotten several exploratory phone calls, but I've never heard anyone say anything like that. "Will you allow us to begin praying for you to see if it is God's will for you to be our next Pastor?" She continued. How could I say no? Before we said goodbye, I agreed to send a resume and a sermon tape and the rest, as they say, is history.

I'm glad to be here. We believe it is God's will. Because it is God's will, be believe it is what is best for this church and the one we left.

Now what? What are we supposed to do now? The first step is for us to get to know one another better. To help us get better acquainted, I've browsed through my sermon file to find a collection of sermons that typify my passion for ministry and my philosophy of ministry. Those sermons comprise a series I'll start next Sunday evening, entitled, "A Quick Start guide to Pastor Jim." Even if you don't usually come on Sunday evenings, you will need to attend this series. These sermons will be foundational to our relationship.

You can also get a copy of my latest book, The Boomerang Mandate in the foyer. It will give you insight into my leadership. Susan and I have donated the money to pay the publisher for the book so that 100% of the money you give will go into the church's building fund. If you cannot afford the price, but will read the book, feel free to take one without the donation.

During our time this morning I want to focus on two things: what hasn't changed now that you have a pastor and what has changed.

What hasn't changed?

The need for Church unity.

In our text today, Paul called the church to unity. In Eph 4:3 he used a strong phrase: "being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit . . ." Standing our post, we are diligent to preserve unity. A church cannot survive the turmoil of disunity. Without a pastor, most churches pull together and do what it takes to stay united and focused. The members must exert the same energy to "preserve the unity" when they have a pastor as they do when they don't. 

The need for you to minister.

When a church is without a pastor, the members usually "take up the slack." Leaders get more involved and those who are inactive pitch in to help. The need for members to minister hasn't changed after a pastor unpacks his suitcase. 

When I accepted your call, I said, "I can't do what is necessary to make this church grow, but together, we can change the world." I believe those words today as much as I did the day I first said them.

Paul knew better than anyone else about the need for the members to minister. In Eph 4:11-12 he wrote, "And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, [12] for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;" The role of the pastor is to equip the saints so they can be ministers. Does that mean the people do all the work and the pastor does nothing? NO! The only way a pastor could justify that position is if he ain't a saint! (The word saint is the common New Testament word for Christian and is devoid of the modern day connotation of "Super Christian.") The pastor is a player-coach--involved in ministry as he trains others to minister.

The need for your prayers.

When Susan Jones called me last spring, she told me that several of the members were praying an hour a day for their new pastor. I was impressed. Susan, do you remember what I said when you told me that? I said, "Will you continue to pray for an hour a day for the pastor after he comes?" Typically, members are willing to spend precious time evaluating the pastor, supervising the pastor, criticizing the pastor or watching the pastor, but few are willing to give equal time to praying for the pastor.

Paul experienced the wind in his sails from his people's prayers. Acts 15:40 NLT "Paul chose Silas, and the believers sent them off, entrusting them to the Lord's grace." Paul took Silas with him on his missionary journey, but they did not go alone, the congregation upheld them in prayer.

The greatest crime in the church is prayerlessness. We spend more time eating together than praying together. That should change. The Lord never said my house shall be called a house of fellowship or teaching or preaching, but he did say, Isaiah 56:7 KJV ". . . for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people."

What has changed?

You now have a full-time, permanent shepherd-leader. My job is not to do the ministry or control the ministry, rather it is to coordinate the ministry of the church.

When I was in fifth grade, our teacher took us on a field trip to hear an orchestra play classical music. I didn't necessarily want to hear the music, but knew that even the worst day on a field trip is better than the best day in the classroom. 

Shortly after we arrived, the orchestra members began to tune their instruments; the sounds were hideous. But, as the house lights dimmed, the curtain drew open, and the director tapped her baton on the pedestal things changed. With one stroke of her baton, beautiful sounds emerged from the stage.

The director did not need to be holding every instrument. She didn't even need to know how to play every instrument. What she did was direct each performer, organizing the sounds so they could play their beautiful music.

The pastor does not have to do everything, nor does he have to know how to do all the functions of the church. He simply needs to be directing the organization under the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Together--TOGETHER, submitted to God and seeking His Kingdom, we can change the world! 

Impact Preaching: A Case for the
one-pointexpositiory sermon