“Shepherding animals is a semiskilled labor. No colleges offer graduate degrees in shepherding. It is not that difficult a job; even a dog can learn to guard a flock of sheep…Shepherding a spiritual flock is not so simple.” – John MacArthur

empty-chairs-in-church-3888x2592_78169

The title of this article is “What Does the Pastor Do the Rest of the Week?” or “The Top Five Tasks of the Pastor.” I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked this question, sometimes in jest and sometimes with genuine interest. And, I suppose the question is understandable, as, often, people who attend church only on a Sunday have a difficult time imagining what the pastor does the other six days a week. So, a clear answer regarding the top five tasks of a pastor may be helpful.

The top five tasks of a pastor are: (1) to be a disciple of Jesus, (2) to make disciples of Jesus, (3) to shepherd and administrate the local church body, (4) to teach the local church body, and (5) to equip the local church body for ministry. John MacArthur notes that Titus 1:6-8 is the “standard for any pastor’s character and is thus the primary consideration in preparing for pastoral ministry” (John MacArthur, Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically, Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2050, 67). In other words, MacArthur argues that the primary task of being a pastor is to first be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Charles Spurgeon, likewise, says, “It should be one of our first cares that we ourselves be saved men” (Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1979, 9). For this reason, Titus gives instructions to the character of the pastor as the first task of the pastor.

The second task of the pastor is to make disciples. In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV). This instruction is given to every Christian, as the missional purpose of the Church. In this way, the second task of the pastor is to make disciples.

The third task for the pastor is to shepherd and administrate the local church body. Thus, MacArthur states, “The basic function of a New Testament leader is overseeing” (MacArthur, Pastoral Ministry, 89). And so, the third task of the pastor is to shepherd, administrate, and oversee the church).

The fourth task of the pastor is to teach the local church body. As mentioned above, part of the Great Commission in Mathew 28:19-20 is that new disciples be taught to obey everything that Jesus had instructed. In other words, the teaching and preaching responsibility of the pastor is very significant in the local church.

The fifth task of the pastor is for the pastor to equip the local church for ministry. Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of services, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13, NIV). In this way, the pastor must be able to equip the church to participate in ministry as a body.

The list is hardly exhaustive, as there are countless other responsibilities that face a pastor on a weekly basis-correction and protection of the church body, just to name two more. But, the next time you here someone ask, “What does the pastor do the rest of the week?” here is a handy response.

“Since the first three petitions of the Lord’s prayer give us the priority of Christ’s heart, we should learn that God’s top priority is the hallowing of his name in all the earth. If this is God’s top priority, it should be our top priority—that God be believed, feared, obeyed, and glorified by a ransomed people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” – John Piper

money-1346357812LRi

I heard somebody say, “His will, His bill!” today. Meaning, if it is God’s will for something to happen, He is going to figure out a way to provide for it. I used to feel really strange about this statement, as if it turned God into some sort of Magic Fairy that grants wishes. Or, we it is as though we pray to Santa Claus God to bring us the presents we want. We know that the Creator of the universe cannot be reduced to that. But, a few points to remember today: (1) It is HIS will that we pray to be done. In other words, we are not praying for our gifts, our will, or our agendas. When we align ourselves to the will of the Father, we are saying that we would prefer that He accomplish His purposes, rather than our purposes be done. (2) He is, after all, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. This mains that it is well within His power to accomplish His purposes. When we pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we are asking for God to make our reality line up with His. Jesus Himself prayed this and instructed the disciples to do the same. Matthew 6:9-13 (NASB) says,

“Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.'”

“His will, His bill!” is a reminder that God, the Creator of all things, is indeed a Good, Good Father. He gives every perfect gift to his children (James 1:17) and does not withhold any good thing from those who love Him (Psalm 84:11). If we are faithful to align ourselves with His purposes, then we should not be surprised when He provides for His purposes to be accomplished here on earth as it is in heaven. God is working out a global hallowing of his name, and we have the privilege of partaking in the process.

And so we pray with renewed vigor, “Father, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

“Show me again, grandfather, and I will finish what you started.” – Kylo Ren

kylo-rens-lightsaber-1193161_1280

Last night, we received word that Ted Cruz was suspending his campaign for President of the United States. Shortly after, we received word that John Kasich was also suspending his campaign. And then, it started. Voices on Social Media hammered out their various positions in the political spectrum, ranging anywhere from “I’ll never vote for Trump” to “Anyone But Hillary” to “Third Party!” to “I’m moving to Canada.”

Today, on May the Fourth (of all days), America has taken a hard look at itself in the mirror, through the reflection of the 2016 presidential campaign. And what it has found (Trump vs. Clinton) is that it doesn’t much like what it sees. Like Kylo Ren being forced by Rey to finally consider his own thoughts, it is as though America is a nation that has just now begun to consider its own actions.

But, how is this possible? Real voters have to have voted for these two, in order for us to be in this position Surely, some people are happy? Where can they be found?

With the vast range of threats being made now that the candidates are surely Trump and Clinton, I am reminded of a statement of confidence made in Psalm 20. Verses 6-8 of the psalm say:

“Now this I know: The LORD gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.”

Now, over time, people have come to a wide variety of conclusions over the claims in this Psalm. Some will read these verses and conclude, “Well, God must have wanted Clinton and Trump to be the nominees.” Others will point to verse 8 and prophesy that Clinton and Trump will soon be “brought to their knees.”

I think there is another option here, and that is to say that the life placed before the Christian is neither a life of escapism nor conformity. The Christian does not seek to escape the current reality, nor does the Christian seek to conform to it. In other words, we are not moving to Canada, nor are we falling along the Trump or Clinton party lines. Instead, the Christian engages the current situation with the mind of Christ, the foundation of Scripture, and the leading of the Spirit.

John Stonestreet encourages Christians today in this pursuit of engaging culture by saying, “Maybe this could be a great moment for Christians engaged in culture because of the amount of work there is to be done and Christianity always, to any cultural dilemma—always has the best answer on the market.”

So what is to be done today, on May the 4th? There is a third option. Before you consider moving to Canada or simply falling in line with one of these candidates, consider engaging the current situation with the mind, strength, and attitude of Jesus Christ. Psalm 20 suggests that the trust of every man and every woman be put in the LORD God and that even in the midst of rulers rising and falling, one can “rise up and stand firm.” May the fourth be with you!