H.B. Charles is fast becoming one of my favorite preachers. Some time back I read his book On Preaching. Today, while thumbing through a notebook of old writing ideas, I came across this money quote. It perfectly sums up my heart’s desire as a preacher.
There are three kinds of preachers: the ones you can listen to, the ones you cannot listen to, and the ones you must listen to. I desire to be the type of preacher you must listen to. But that requires more than desire. It requires hard work. And that hard work never ends, if you take preaching seriously. H.B. Charles, On Preaching, 10.
Why this passage? Sometimes we just need a reminder.
For God loved the word in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 CSB
One of the many topics that have been floating around my flooded mind of late has been my role as an equipper in my role as Lead Pastor/Senior Pastor in my church. Ephesians 4:11-13 reads this way:
And He himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith in the knowledge of God’s son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.
Part of the aforementioned thought stream lies in the necessity to equip my church members to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). This means discerning methods and means to help my flock share the gospel more effectively. Recently I finished reading Jimmy Scroggins and Steve Wright’s new book Turning Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations.
In the book the authors talk about the importance of identifying our mission fields, the essentials of the Gospel, taking everyday conversations and transitioning them to the Gospel, and the utilization of the Three Circles approach to sharing the Gospel.
I have found this tool and approach to be effective for sharing the Gospel. I would highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book and use it in your daily conversations and lives to prepare yourself for the divine appointments that God sends your way.
Come, Let us shout joyfully to the Lord,
should triumphantly tot he rock of our salvation!
Let us enter his presence with thanksgiving;
let us shout triumphantly to him in song.
For the LORD is a great God,
A great King above all gods.
the depths of the earth are in his hand
and the mountain peaks are his.
the sea is his; he made it
His hands formed the dry land.
Come, Let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
Psalm 95:1-6 CSB
This blog has been gathering dust for quite some time, but I have felt a strong compulsion of late to write, so I hope to utilize again to better connect and communicate with others.
We are gearing up for one of my favorite times of the year: the annual Southern Baptist Convention. Thousands of representatives from the 46,000 churches in SBC will descend upon Dallas. In case you haven’t been following along with denominational life, the weeks and months leading up to the convention have brought much controversy, heartbreak, and division. My heart has been heavy, but I truly believe that God is getting ready to begin a work of renewal and revival among Southern Baptists if we will humble ourselves before the Father and seek to live in holiness before him.
My bride and I will be travelling to Dallas this weekend. I will try to keep everyone updated on the happenings as best I can. You can follow me on twitter @clintellis and check back here for periodic updates.
While we are there, I’d like to make one request of you. Please pray for the SBC. In light of that request, I am currently working on a series of daily posts detailing what specifically for each day of the convention. Please check back, and please labor before the throne for Southern Baptists.
In nearly 18 years of ministry, God has taught me some invaluable lessons. Of all the lessons, it is easy to select the most important. Simply stated: In order to have success in ministry, a minister must be absolutely tethered to the Word of God. A passion for the Word of God is a must for a minister. Every aspect of the ministry must flow from the Scripture. As intuitive as it seems, it is not often easy. In fact, it can be very difficult for pastors. How is this possible one might ask? After all the pastor is constantly preparing to preach or teach. They get paid to study the Bible. In order to understand the dilemma that faces a pastor it is helpful to consider the ministry as a pitcher of water. As a pastor preaches, teaches, or does pastoral ministry he pours out the liquid of the Word from that which is on his heart. If there are no steps taken to replenish that liquid, then eventually the pitcher will run dry. This leads to ministering out of one’s on strength and ability and from there it is only a short step to exhaustion, burn out, or moral failure. Thus is it is necessary to stoke the devotional fires of the minister’s heart with a consistent in flow of God’s Word. Here are three practical ways that you can do that.
- Use a Bible reading plan for your devotional reading. This will keep you moving through various sections of scripture. Don’t treat this a sermon preparation tool. A sermon may grow from a reading, but this is to feed and nourish your soul. Read with an eye towards application (James 1:22-25). Many plans are available by using a quick search online. One can also use the YouVersion Bible app and its many plans.
- Discipline yourself to memorize scripture (Psalm 119:11). The verses that I have committed to memory have been the one’s that God has called to mind at precisely the moment that I needed it most, whether as a rebuke, an exhortation, a word of comfort, or encouragement.
- Read authors who are thirst inducing. I have a list of authors whose works I read regularly, not because I always agree with their viewpoints, but because they always drive me back to my Bible.
Now that I have completed my final degree, I have had a bit more time to reflect upon the things I have learned in my past years in ministry. I was first called to ministry at the age of 16, I was licensed at 17, and ordained at 22. I served in my first paid staff position at 21. For the past 9 years I have pastored two great churches. All total I have been in ministry or ministry training for the past 18 years. This past fall I was given the opportunity as a guest lecturer at the local Baptist College in the area of pastoral ministry and preaching. In the pastoral ministry class I reflected upon insights I gained through those years. Starting on Monday, and admittedly the timing is probably lousy, with the beginning of the Southern Baptist Convention, I will begin a blog series expanding on each of the items that I discussed during that class period. Here is hoping that my reflection upon those insights will benefit you as it has benefited me.