What should pastors do and what should the church expect, encourage, and allow?
I believe the best way to answer that question is to ask: what are some of the fundamentals that Scripture gives for pastors to practice?
(2) A pastor must consistently devote himself to right worship.
Paul tells Timothy in verse 13,
“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” (1 Ti 4:13)
The actions Paul mentions are all centered around the public worship service. At a minimum, then, these elements should be a part of every worship service. Of course, other things are going to be included in the weekly worship service, such as the taking of the Lord’s Supper, Baptism, prayer, and congregational singing, along with fellowshipping with one another. But at a minimum Scripture should be read, the congregation should be exhorted or encouraged to do God’s will, and God’s Word should be taught. If these things aren’t happening, then you need to make it a priority to include them. If you don’t, you may be gathering, but you may not be worshipping.
I believe Paul’s commands to Timothy are just as important for our time, as it was for Timothy’s time. We are often tempted to gain spiritual enlightenment through other means, but we are not going to commune with God, grow in our faith, or learn how to live for God without going to the source, which is His Word. And it is to His Word that we must go. In his second letter to Timothy Paul says,
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Ti 3:16–17)
I believe Paul makes it clear here that God’s Word is all we need for life and godliness. Pastors have to believe that if they are going to center the public worship service on God’s Word. As well as the church has to expect, encourage, and allow that, so that it will take place.
Indeed, God’s Word is all we need for life and godliness. We must buy into that idea. And we must center our public worship services on it.
Next time we will explore another thing pastors are to do and what the church should expect, encourage, and allow.
Question for Reflection
- Do you desire right worship?
Post adapted from my sermon How Can Both the Pastor and Congregation Continue in the Faith?