Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Lessons so far

Lessons so far….

I’ve learned many things in my years of preaching and teaching in ministry whether part-time, full-time, or volunteer. Some of the things have been life changing. For instance, you should never teach something that you yourself do not believe in. You should never preach to others about something you yourself are not willing to practice in your own life. When you lead, you lead by example not by instruction only. Being called to ministry doesn’t make you a better Christian, more holy, or closer to God, but it does require you to accept responsibility for your position, take your calling serious, and realize others are looking to you for guidance, support, and help.

Preaching and teaching are serious business. We first and foremost must be obedient to God and honor His calling on our lives by being faithful and trustworthy with His message and our lives. We must guard our lives carefully or we will fall short, fall away, mislead people, lose our influence or credibility, or lose our passion for our calling. We do not work for individuals or even the local church, we work for God through the local church and the people who make up that church.

It can be the most rewarding career in the world to see people come to Christ, to baptize people, to share in their weddings, child births, and celebrations. And also to comfort them during death, heartaches, and difficult times. But being a minister doesn’t exempt you from your own personal struggles, sins, problems, and issues that everyday Christians and church members face. Minister’s face the same problems, because we are the same people, we just happen to be called into full-time or preaching ministry. All Christians are called to serve, but a few of us are called to preach and teach the gospel as a vocation.

Ministry does require those of us called to a higher standard. We must practice what we preach, believe what we teach, and lead by example. We must overcome our struggles, problems, and issues so that we can lead with honesty, integrity, and bring glory to God in the process. We must be real, transparent, and authentic even in the midst of our humanity. We cannot hide behind our pulpits, our title, or our offices. We don’t have to use our position to give every detail of our struggles or failures, but we must use our life experiences to help lead, teach, and minister to the people we come in contact with in our churches. We must be accountable for our actions and behaviors and constantly evaluate our life so that we can continue to grow in our personal faith, our ministry calling, and our influence. I’m still learning and I still got a lot to learn, but with God’s patience, guidance, wisdom, and will I hope to continue to grow into the man and minister God wants me to be. If I can do that God can continue to change me and then use me to change the world.

“In your teaching show integrity.” Titus 2:7a(NIV)


Scott K. Blount said...

Yes, Jason. The more I grow as a Christian, the less adequate I feel as minister of the Gospel of Christ. It simply amazes me that God chooses to use broken vessels like us to communicate His undying love for mankind. My daily prayer is that I get out of the way and let God's message ring loud and clear.

I am also tired of doing the same ole, same ole. I guess since I am now in the AARP crowd, I just don't have the patience for nonsense. I want our students to love Jesus with their whole beings, not just give Him lip service. While I am patient with our students and want to help them learn what they need for their head knowledge, I also want them to put into practice what they are learning so it comes out as heart knowledge. Knowhutahmean, Vern?

I appreciate your transparency and please know that you are not the only one struggling with the issues you raise in this blog post. Together, with God's guidance, we will endure, and my dream is to some day confidently be able to say to others, "follow me as I follow Christ." For now, I just say, follow Christ and if I ever teach something that contradicts His teaching, then point it out to me, so I can stop it and straighten up!

Jason Thomas said...

thanks scott, great advice!

Cathy said...

I don't believe I've ever told you how much I enjoyed your preaching while at Gateway, your newsletters, and now your blog. I'm not always one to comment and I should because all of us need encouraging. You are doing a great job.

Jason Thomas said...

thanks cathy, you are right, I appreciate the encouragement!