God is There

We must never forget that the first part of the gospel is not “Accept Christ as Savior,” but, “God is there.” – Francis Schaeffer

Praying for Elders

This past Sunday I spend a considerable part of my sermon teaching on the Biblical role, qualifications, and Lake Wylie Baptist’s need for elders. In the coming weeks, I’ll be authoring a series of blogs to help teach you more about this crucial need in our church, and how God’s Word teaches us to understand and establish elders in the church. For now, I simply want to recap some of my main thoughts from Sunday’s sermon:

A FEW MAIN POINTS:

I. Jesus gives the church pastors to equip the members for ministry.

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11,12)

In the coming years, God is going to give us more elders at LWBC. That term, elders, is one of three terms the New Testament uses interchangeably to refer to the office of pastor. Virtually every New Testament church was led by a plurality of Biblically qualified men called pastors, elders, or overseers.

II. Some elders (pastors) will be seminary trained, others will not.

Seminary training is valuable and because elders are called to defend doctrine, seminary training can be a great aid to that end. However, the Bible doesn’t require that a pastor have seminary training and therefore, as we add elders to the ministry over the coming years, we expect to have elders who have no formal theological training, yet who are able to defend the truth from Scripture.

III. Some elders will be paid staff members, others will serve as lay-elders.

In the New Testament, we see that churches had elders who were supported financially by the church while others were not.

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17)

THE BOTTOM LINE: 

As God sends us more sheep to take care of in the flock of Lake Wylie Baptist, there will be a growing need for more equippers, more pastors. We aren’t in a rush to add elders, but we ought to be praying for them. A man need not be a professional, seminary-trained pastor to be an elder. He simply needs to live a life that helps equip members for ministry, and he needs to meet the Biblical qualifications founds in places like 1 Timothy 3. As God gives us more elders, they will work in concert with me as the Senior Pastor to help lead, teach, shepherd, and equip the church for the work of ministry. In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing to answer many more questions on the topic. If you have specific questions, I’d love to hear them so I can address them as well. 

To conclude, here are a series of questions I posed Sunday that you should be praying through and asking yourself over the next months and years. These questions will guide us to the very men that God is calling out to be elders. And if you are a man in the membership of Lake Wylie, I’d encourage you to ask these questions of yourself: 

Who do I see, working to equip the members of the church to do the work of ministry?

  • Who is always discipling others?
  • Who is teaching others the Bible?
  • Who do we see caring for the flock?
  • Who is it that is always praying for the sheep?
  • Who do we see leading the flock well in his area of ministry?

Do I see evidence of the qualifications of an elder in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 in his life?

  • Is he respectable?
  • Does he control himself?
  • Is he faithful to his wife?
  • Is he gentle with others?
  • Does he love money?

Our Own Tools

My dad loves working on engines. And, by extension, he loves his tools. I never once saw my dad put a tool away without wiping it off and storing it in its proper place.

In Lectures to My Students, C.H. Spurgeon wrote of ministers:

We are, in a certain sense, our own tools, and therefore must keep ourselves in order.

Ministers can only preach with their own voice. They can only reason with their own brain. They can only feel with their own heart. As much as I love my books, my fountain pens, my Logos study software, the greatest natural resource God has given me is my body.

Pastors, are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating well? Are you reading books, or are you training your mind? There is a difference. Ministry isn’t made for the body, but the body for ministry.