Minister’s Message: The 1st qualification for ministry

Our first qualification as pastors or to serve in any capacity in ministry is to love Jesus Christ

Recently, I was asked to write an article to inspire all of the hundreds of pastors in our North American Fellowship. I decided to touch on a point as to what our congregations expect from us. The complexities and busy-ness of running a church and tending to all of its people and ministries can sometimes be daunting to any pastor.

To someone visiting a church, the pastor may appear to be short on time, busy and preoccupied with other things and other people. That is often perceived as aloofness. The effect on those people seeking a church family can be a deterrent to their wanting relationship with the church. While we pastors want to do our very best for the Lord, we do not want to become a cold professional to those we serve.

So what is the primary qualification to serve as a pastor or in any ministry? In John 21: 15-17 (NIV) we read about the resurrected Jesus Christ preparing breakfast on the beach for the apostles. It was there that Jesus questioned Peter before Peter became the foundation of the church. Jesus asked Peter three times if Peter loved Him. When Peter answered “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you,” Jesus said: “Feed my lambs.” When Peter answered the second time, he said “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.” Jesus said “Take care of My sheep.” When Peter answered the third time “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said “Feed My sheep.”

Our first qualification as pastors or to serve in any capacity in ministry is to love Jesus Christ. Some people simply acknowledge a belief in Christ. But others believe in Christ, seek a living relationship with Christ and love Jesus Christ.

Ministry is just not for pastors. Every member of the church performs a function for the sake of others in the body of Christ. It is when we truly love Christ and His Word that we lovingly:

— Feed Jesus’s lambs

— Take care of His sheep

— Feed His sheep

Our love for Jesus Christ must be manifested to all people we deal with in our demeanor, speech and appropriate, attentive and relevant responses.

The apostle Paul wrote about a Christian’s manner of speaking. “Your speech must always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” Col. 4:6.

The apostle Peter gives shepherds good advice in 1 Peter 5:2-3: “Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not with greed but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as domineering over those assigned to your care, but by proving to be examples to the flock.”

What kind of examples are we all to be to the flock? All Christians need to be examples of the love of God to each person they meet. Think about that in the next conversation you have.

Dr. Roger Holl is pastor of Sterling Grace Community Church. The church meets Sundays at 10:30 a.m. at the Sterling Senior Center. Call 907-862-0336 for further information.

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