Prayer List for Preaching

In Episode 1 of the Shepherdology Podcast, I refer to a prayer list for preaching. This was first shared with me by Dr. Jim Binney. I have added to it and use it regularly as I prepare to preach.

Prayer List for Preaching

Personal cleansing
Power and filling of the Holy Spirit
Enlightenment and enrichment in utterance (1 Cor. 1:5; Eph. 6:19; Col. 4:3)
Recall and wise use of Scripture
Exalt Jesus Christ – preach about and for Christ; He increase, I decrease
Magnify God’s Word
Glorify God
Have the mind of Christ – understanding (1 Cor. 2:16), humility (Phil. 2:5)
Bind the forces of Satan
Arrest the attention of the hearers
Prepare the hearers minds, hearts, consciences, wills
Choice of text, message, emphasis, application
Preach with boldness, liberty (free flow of thoughts and words), power, authority from God, love, compassion
God’s Word bring conviction, hope, faith, salvation, transformation, nourishment, growth, edify for maturity, equip for ministry
Rapport with listeners, as a shepherd with his sheep
Physical strength, energy, vitality
Please God (Psa 19:14)
Represent God accurately (1 Peter 4:11)
New birth, growth & life-transforming response
Not rely on self
Pure vessel
No fear of man
God will accomplish what He intends
Lasting effects, change, growth fruit from previous messages and this one

CAUSE YOUR WORD TO RUN SWIFTLY (Ps. 147:15; 2 Thess. 3:1)

The Pathway to Pastoral Ministry – Called To a Church!

One day you may receive a message that looks something like this:

Your pastor gave me your name as a possible candidate for a pastoral position in our church. If you are interested, please send your resume, doctrinal statement, and testimony of your salvation and call to ministry. We look forward to hearing from you.

Nothing could be more exciting if you’ve been on the pathway to pastoral ministry.

This is the last post in the Pathway to Pastoral Ministry series that starts here.

The experience of being called to a church may vary for different individuals. But here are a few common practices that will help you know what to expect.

Someone will express interest in you as a possible candidate for a pastoral position. He will likely be the pastor of a church who needs help with shepherding responsibilities. It may be your home church’s pastor, or the pastor of a church you serve in while in college or seminary. It might be a pastor you don’t know who was given your name.

You may even be contacted by a deacon or pulpit committee member of a church who needs a lead pastor. Smaller churches especially will sometimes call new seminary graduates as their pastor, so don’t be surprised by this if you’ve been serving faithfully and have exhibited growth in pastoral skills while in school.

Some schools have a ministry placement service. When you’re about to graduate, you can upload your name and profile information so churches looking for potential candidates can find you. This can be a good way to connect with a church. In my experience however your contact with churches is more likely to happen through the network of people who know you.

Pastors you know will play a very important role in your being called to a church. You may be asked by one of your mentors to serve as a pastor with him. Or a pastor friend may give your name to a church looking for a pastor. The pastors who know you best will provide a reference for you. They will give testimony of your character and faithfulness to a church that is considering you. They will pray for God to lead you and open doors of opportunity for you. And they will be a source of counsel as you consider opportunities.

Your first position as a pastor will probably be in an assisting role. It may involve general responsibilities of helping the lead pastor oversee and care for the church. Or it may be a specialized area of responsibility, such as youth or discipleship, or a combination of several areas of ministry.

If both you and the church are interested, you’ll start sharing information with each other. They’ll want to see your resume, a statement of your doctrinal beliefs, and your testimony of being saved and how God led you into ministry. You should ask for the church’s doctrinal statement, by-laws, and a written description of the role you are being considered for.

The next step is an interview. This may take place by phone, video-call, or in person. There will be lots of questions! The church leadership will want to get to know you. Be ready with some questions of your own, too.

If all is positive the church will invite you for a visit. This may be more get-acquainted time, or it may be an official candidating event. You’ll meet with church leaders and key people in the area of ministry where you would be serving. You’ll most likely preach or teach. And you’ll answer more questions.

By this time both you and the church have a pretty good idea of how you want to proceed. One of the leaders (the pastor, pulpit committee chairman, or deacon) may say, “We would like to have you come be our Assistant Pastor. If our church votes to call you, would you come?” You may know, or you might need to think and pray about it to make a final decision. If your answer is yes, the church will schedule a business meeting and the members will vote.

Your phone is buzzing. “We just finished our business meeting. Our church members voted to call you! Will you come?”

Congratulations. You’ve just been called to a church. You’re a pastor!

The Pathway to Pastoral Ministry – What Is Ordination?

What does “ordination” make you think of? Maybe you imagine a solemn ceremony where men wearing black robes touch you on the head with a scepter and pronounce you “Reverend.” Or you see yourself seated alone at a massive table while scholars of divinity gleefully examine you with tricky theological questions. Possibly you have no idea what ordination is as it relates to pastoral ministry.

This post is part of the series on Pathway to Pastoral Ministry which starts here.

Ordination is a significant milestone on the pathway to pastoral ministry. I want to help you understand ordination so you can anticipate and prepare for it. You won’t find the word “ordination” in the Bible related to men becoming pastors. But there is a biblical practice that is the basis for ordination. Bible-based churches today practice ordination in a way that follows this pattern.

When a man is ordained for ministry, pastors who know him affirm that he is qualified, gifted, and ready to serve as a pastor. The ordination event usually includes a formal examination by an ordination council. This council consists of pastors and other ministry leaders who are themselves ordained.

These men hear the candidate’s testimony of being saved and called to ministry. The candidate presents a written statement of biblical doctrines and they ask him questions about it. They may also question him regarding his views on current issues.

If the council determines he is ready to begin serving as a pastor, they will make this recommendation to his church. The church then makes it official in a special ordination service. This usually involves a ceremonial laying on of hands by church leaders.

The books of 1 Timothy and Titus contain examples we follow in our practice of ordination. 1 Timothy 3:1-7 describes the kind of man who is qualified for pastoral ministry. Paul’s instructions to Timothy imply that Timothy was supposed to decide whether a man was qualified for ministry or not. The process of ordination is intended to determine and confirm that a man is qualified for ministry based on his character, understanding of the Bible, and gifts.

In Titus 1:5 Paul instructed Titus to “appoint elders in every town as I directed you.” Then he gave Titus a list of qualifications (verses 6-9) mirroring those in 1 Timothy 3. So again we see spiritual leaders in the church are to evaluate and confirm that a man is ready for ministry.

1 Timothy 4:14 speaks of an event in Timothy’s life. Paul encouraged Timothy, “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.” The “council of elders” was a group of pastors who formally affirmed Timothy’s giftedness and readiness for ministry. They signified this affirmation by the act of laying their hands on Timothy.

Pastors who know you will be the natural ones to ordain you. Ideally they will be involved in your life during the years leading up to your ordination. They may help you by pointing out areas where you can grow. They will give you opportunities to learn ministry so you will be ready for ordination. Stay in close touch with the pastors in your life.

If you are considering ministry, you shouldn’t worry about ordination, but anticipate it like a graduation. A healthy respect for the significance of this event is appropriate. But when the time comes, you will be ready. Ordination will be an occasion for you and those who have invested in you to recognize and celebrate God’s faithfulness and grace in calling you to ministry.

Next – Called To a Church!