By Phillip Slaughter
We desperately need to equip more ministers if we want to replace those who are retiring or leaving the ministry for a myriad of other reasons.
We also need more leaders in order to keep up with population growth and to pursue our biblical goal of reaching the nations for Christ.
I have the privilege of walking with many during the early days of their calling. Here are some practical ways to equip new ministers:
1. Invite them to respond to God’s call to ministry leadership.
We have many people sitting in our pews who are simply waiting for an invitation to serve alongside other ministers to learn how to lead the church.
2. Intentionally mentor.
Fifteen years ago, I was sitting in a room full of pastors, and we were discussing discipleship and the importance of having a mentor.
I was the only one in the room who had a mentor when he was younger.
I thank God regularly for providing men who took me under their wings and not only taught me what it meant to be a follower of Jesus, but also taught me how to minister to others.
3. Live life with them.
The best way to learn how to make a hospital visit, share the gospel, parent, host church members and accomplish the thousands of other ministerial responsibilities is to watch someone else do it. Invite them to join you in everyday tasks.
4. Give opportunities to serve.
Teach them how to prepare a sermon and give them a place to deliver it. Let them teach Sunday School and visit the nursing home. Help cover their costs for a missions trip. Help them identify and develop their giftings.
How will they know how to improve if someone does not help them see the areas in which they need improvement? How will they know what to change in order to improve if someone does not gently teach them?
Your ministry and life experience will allow you to see things they are incapable of seeing.
6. Encourage, encourage and encourage some more.
Many young people give up on their call because they feel inadequate, unequipped or unworthy. They need a Barnabas to come alongside them when no one else will. They need a Paul to tell them not to be ashamed of the gospel.
7. Begin equipping ministers for generations to come.
Pray for someone with whom you can start a mentoring relationship. Ask them to meet weekly or simply invite them out for a meal.
Spend time getting to know them.
As you live life with them, you will be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses so you can help mold them into effective ministers for the gospel.
Follow the steps above and watch God do wonderful things through your willingness to serve Him in this way.
Letters to the Editor
Having served in WWII and again in the Korean War, your Rashional Thoughts editorial in the Nov. 10 issue of The Baptist Paper touched my heart.
I was listening recently to a previous season of America’s Got Talent. I heard one who is blind and could not communicate well sing and get applause and words of encouragement and appreciation from the panel.
I heard someone say, “God bless you.” It may be my age, but my heart was touched. We seldom hear kind words during a political year, and as I thanked God for you and those who know God’s love, I shed a tear for those who are not in God’s eternal kingdom of grace and love, for whom we should be bringing to Him.
Thanks again for your wonderful column for the vets. At 96, I know the number is diminished, but their survivors will bless you for remembering.
Getting beyond the storm
How do we deal with the various storms we encounter in life?
First, realize no one is exempt and don’t be surprised.
James 1:2 reads, “Consider it pure joy, my brethren, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
It’s not if you face trials, but when you face trials.
Second, check your foundation.
Jesus concluded the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5–7) with the illustration of two foundations.
One man built his house on rock. When the rains fell, the floods came and the winds beat on that house, but the house stood firm and did not fall.
The second man built his house on sand. The rains fell, the flood waters rose, the winds blew fiercely and this house suffered a great fall.
Third, press on in God’s strength.
Take it one day at a time, one decision at a time, relying on God’s strength day by day. Psalm 28:7 reads, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped.”
Psalm 46:1 reminds us the “Lord is my refuge and my strength, a very present help in time of trouble.”
Fourth, receive the peace that prayer brings.
Paul wrote instead of being anxious, pray about everything, taking your requests directly to God, and God will grant you His incomprehensible peace (Phil. 4:6–7).
Fifth, remember the presence of Jesus.
My grandfather often said, “The same God who is with you in the sunshine is also with you in the storm.”
Pastor David L. Chancey
“No church can fulfill the great commission in its community and local missions field on its own. We need each other.” Ray Gentry, Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Leaders
“We really believe God wants to use young people, and we are pleading with this generation to make their lives count for Jesus, because He is worthy,” said Jess Jennings, an International Mission Board missionary in the Philippines who also serves with Nehemiah Teams.
“If we give our best to the work we’ve been called to do, telling His story, our stories will be retold as well,” said Jim Veneman, a longtime Baptist communicator and adjunct professor of journalism at California Baptist University.
“It was overwhelming. Sometimes I would just cry. I don’t know if there’s anything like it, to see God work in so many specific ways through different people,” said Lynell Lovinggood, a kidney transplant recipient.
“I spent … 10 years of my life really angry and pointing fingers at God to the point where I actually missed out on the miracles He did,” said Alex Nsengimana, who survived Rwanda’s genocide, was adopted and moved to the U.S. He shared his journey to Christ and how it began with a shoebox given by Operation Christmas Child.
“Inspiration can only carry somebody so far. I’m a big advocate of just preaching the word of God,” said Daniel Ritchie, speaker and author, on people’s response to how he handles life with a disability.
“We can stand against the world because we have hope unbelievers will respond to the gospel,” said Robert Olsen, associate professor of historical theology, University of Mobile.
“When people experience the raw power of nature, they can’t help but look to God. In times like that when people are feeling helpless, they realize their need for God,” said Chris Fuller, a Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteer, on ministering to people in the wake of natural disasters.
“So I like to write funny songs just to make people smile,” said Christian musician Matthew West. “It’s been really cool to see how even the funny songs have brought a smile to people’s faces during a tough time.”
“You can’t be a chaplain and not practice hospitality. It’s a core function to meet with people who are broken and hurt and not demand anything of them,” said hospital chaplain Joe Perez.
“We may apply the gospel in different ways, but at the heart, it’s the same gospel,” said Joel Rainey, pastor of Covenant Church in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, on a ministry partnership with a church in Baltimore, Maryland.
From the Twitterverse
You and I will never meet God in revival until we first meet God in brokenness.
The Holy Spirit’s presence in our life is not primarily for our comfort, but our commissioning!
Every human being, everywhere, regardless of his or her context and circumstances, is created in God’s image. This is true of no other creature.
Snippet from my devotional (Nov. 9): Lord, it’s easy to want the next best thing or what someone else has. I pray that things of this world do not become my idols and that I recognize that You are enough. May I be fully satisfied knowing that I have everything I need in You!
The older I get, the more I’ve seen, the the longer I’ve walked with the Lord, the more I rest the leverage of my life on the power and privilege of prayer. My last stand will be on my knees.
Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.
We don’t have to be anxious about anything, because God is on the throne and we belong to him!
Let me tell you as an old geezer … there’s not one thing in life worth having outside of Jesus Christ.
“Oftentimes a poor [heartbroken] one bends his knee, but can only utter his wailing in the language of sighs and tears; yet that groan has made all the harps of heaven thrill with music.” —C.H. Spurgeon
Maybe the key to the spiritual revival that the people of God need so badly will be found nowhere else but in humility of self, worshipful prayer to God, repentance from any and all sin, and a deep heartfelt longing to see His beautiful face.