Pastoral Ministry

The Recruiting Pastor

By Ryan Patrick Hoselton

Christians implore the help of their pastor for a range of reasons—at a range of hours of the night. I know this not because I’m a pastor but because I’m a Christian. But how many requests for help does the average pastor make of his congregation? He likely won’t get many, so he better choose his petitions wisely.

Andrew Fuller (1754-1815) requested the help of his congregation in evangelism. In 1806, he wrote a letter to believers entitled, The Pastor’s Address to His Christian Hearers, Entreating Their Assistance In Promoting the Interest of Christ.[1] He asked for help to promote the gospel, and pastors today can learn from his recruiting methods.

First, he aimed to convince his congregation that evangelism was their mission too, “There is an important difference between Christian ministers and the Christian ministry. The former…exist for your sakes…but the latter, as being the chosen means of extending the Redeemer’s kingdom, is that for which both we and you exist (345-46).” Sharing the gospel is the job description of every Christian. As Nehemiah and Ezra enlisted the help of the Israelites to construct the temple, argued Fuller, so pastors today need believers to build the church (346).

Secondly, Fuller made his congregants aware that their involvement in the Christian mission was necessary for the continuation of churches. People are more willing to participate when they know that they are needed. God uses means to save unbelievers, and the “ordinary way in which the knowledge of God is spread in the world is, by every man saying to his neighbour and to his brother, ‘Know the Lord’ (351).”

Thirdly, Fuller not only entreated their assistance for the mission but he also equipped them for it. Perhaps the reason why many think that their sole duty in evangelism “consisted in sending the [unbelieving] party to the minister” is because they’ve never been trained in evangelism (348). Fuller would not allow his congregants to make this excuse. The chief rule in evangelism, Fuller instructed, was to “point them directly to the Saviour” (349). Merely sharing truths about Christianity without directing the unbeliever to Christ will only mislead him or her to “a resting place short of him (350).” Thus, it is crucial for every believer to “be skilful in the word of righteousness; else you administer false consolation (349).”

To put these principles to use, Fuller suggested three accessible opportunities. First, parents can assist the pastor in evangelism by dialoging with their children about the sermon. Second, Christians should invite their unbelieving friends to the preaching of the Word and discuss it with them. Thirdly, believers’ lives must be walking testimonies to the fruit of the gospel before their neighbors. “Enable us to use strong language when recommending the gospel by its holy and happy effects,” Fuller begged (351).


[1] This appeal was a circular letter for the Northamptonshire Baptist Association. Andrew Fuller, “The Pastor’s Address to His Christian Hearers, Entreating Their Assistance In Promoting the Interest of Christ,” in The Complete Works of the Rev. Andrew Fuller with a Memoir of His Life by Andrew Gunton Fuller, 3 Vols., ed. Joseph Belcher (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1845. Repr., Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle, 1988), 3:345-351.

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Ryan Patrick Hoselton is pursuing a ThM at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He lives in Louisville, KY with his wife Jaclyn, and they are expecting their first child in August.

 

New Michael A.G. Haykin Conference Audio

By Steve Weaver

Earlier this week, Dr. Haykin spoke at Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Haykin spoke in the morning worship service at the church on Sunday and twice at a special one-day conference on Monday. On Sunday, Dr. Haykin preached on "The Treasure of Moses" (MP3) from Hebrews 11:23-26. On Monday, Dr. Haykin spoke on "The Piety of the Preacher" (MP3) and "Friendship and the Preacher" (MP3). Please feel free to download these free audio resources provided courtesy of the Mount Vernon Baptist Church pastored by Dr. Aaron Menikoff. Audio of the entire "Feed My Sheep" conference is available here.

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Steve Weaver serves as a research assistant to the director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies and a junior fellow of the Center. He also serves as senior pastor of Farmdale Baptist Church in Frankfort, KY. Steve and his wife Gretta have six children between the ages of 2 and 13.

 

Pastoral Admonitions 200 Years Apart (Guest Post by Dustin Bruce)

I recently completed an assignment for Dr. Haykin that involved reading Andrew Fuller's ordination sermons. The exercise was both academically profitable and spiritually edifying. The following is an example of one of many nuggets gleaned from Fuller:

"Live the life of a Christian, as well as of a minister.—Read as one, preach as one, converse as one—to be profited, as well as to profit others. One of the  greatest temptations of a ministerial life is to handle Divine truth as ministers, rather than as Christians—for others, rather than for ourselves. But the word will not profit them that preach it, any more than it will them that hear it, unless it be “mixed with faith.” If we study the Scriptures as Christians, the more familiar we are with them, the more we shall feel their importance; but if our object be only to find out something to say to others, our familiarity with them will prove a snare. It will resemble that of soldiers, and doctors, and undertakers with death; the more familiar we are with them, the less we shall feel their importance. See Prov. 22:17, 18; Psal. 1:2, 3." Fuller, "Spiritual Knowledge and Love Necessary for the Ministry," Works I, 481

Fuller's exhortation to live the life of a Christian, not just a minister, planted firmly in my mind. Thus, days later, when reading Paul Tripp's new book, Dangerous Calling, I was struck by the similarity of the two messages. Tripp articulates:

"Ministry had become my identity. No, I didn't think of myself as a child of God, in daily need of grace, in the middle of my own sanctification, still in a battle with sin, still in need of the body of Christ, and called to pastoral ministry. No, I thought of myself as a pastor. That's it, bottom line. The office of pastor was more than a calling and a set of God-given gifts that had been recognized by the body of Christ. "Pastor" defined me. It was me in a way that proved to be more dangerous than I thought…My Faith had become a professional calling. It had become my job…It shaped the way I related to God. it formed the relationships with people in my life…So we (pastors) come to relationship with God and others being less than needy. And because we are less than needy, we are less than open to the ministry of others and the conviction of the Spirit. This sucks the life out of the private devotional aspect of our walk with God." Paul Tripp, Dangerous Calling, p.22-23

Roughly 200 years passed between Fuller's sermon and Tripp's book, yet the problem addressed is much the same. Pastors are tempted to see themselves as pastors, as somehow less needy of God's grace. In light of this timeless problem, Fuller's admonition remains as pressing as ever. Pastors, "live the life of a Christian."

Dustin Bruce is originally from Monroeville, AL and is a graduate of Auburn University and SWBTS. He lives with his wife Whitney in Louisville where he is pursuing a ThM in Church History at SBTS. 

Two simple questions

Here is a simple question: If a Christian community is regularly speaking of reconciliation to God through the Lord Jesus Christ, and that by sovereign grace alone, but is rent by divisions with little or no actual reconciliation between the various groups within this community, what should we say about this community? Here is another: If a Christian community is passionate about truth but has no obvious relish for unity with others who preach the same fundamental truths, and if they never speak about these others, let alone pray for them, what does this say about this community?

Reading Martyn Lloyd-Jones: a beginning list

I was recently asked by a dear friend about reading D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, where to begin and what to read. The advice that follows is, of course, to some degree, subjective, but I trust I hit all of the major things.

 

For brief overviews of the life of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, read J. I. Packer, “David Martyn Lloyd-Jones” in Charles Turner, ed., Chosen Vessels.  Portraits of Ten Outstanding Christian Men (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Servant Publications, 1985), 109–123; D. Eryl Davies, “Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: An Introduction”, Themelios, 25, No.1 (November 1999), 39–53; and Leigh B. Powell, “Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899–1981): A Personal Appreciation”, Eusebeia, 7 (Spring 2007), 15–37 (this entire issues was devoted to Lloyd-Jones).

 

The definitive life of Lloyd-Jones are the two volumes by Iain H. Murray: David Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The First Forty Years 1899-1939 (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1982) and David Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The Fight of Faith 1939-1981 (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990). His wife, Bethan Lloyd-Jones, also has a delightful small memoir of his first ministry in Wales: Memories of Sandfields, 1927-1938 (Edinburgh: The Banner of Trust Trust, 1983). Also see the little piece by his daughter and son-in-law: Frederick and Elizabeth Catherwood,  Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Man and His Books (Bryntirion, Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan: Evangelical Library of Wales/London: Evangelical Library, 1982).

 

As for reading the works of Lloyd-Jones, I would begin with some of his smaller addresses found in Knowing the Times. Addresses Delivered on Various Occasions 1942-1977 (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1989) or Unity in truth. Addresses given by Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones at meetings held under the auspices of the British Evangelical Council, ed. Hywel R. Jones (Darlington, Co. Durham: Evangelical Press, 1991). A personal favourite of mine is his The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1987), his lectures on matters and figures historical at the Puritan Studies and Westminster Conferences. There is also a fascinating collection of papers in Healing and the Scriptures (1987 ed.; repr. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1988) that reflects his ongoing interest in medicine (before becoming a minister of the gospel he was a medical doctor).

 

There are, of course, his sermon collections on Romans, Ephesians, 2 Peter, 1 John, Acts, and now, various Psalms. I have read much of his teaching on the work of the Holy Spirit, which stirred up no small controversy, in hisJoy Unspeakable (Wheaton, Illinois: Harold Shaw Publishers, 1985) and The Sovereign Spirit. Discerning His Gifts (Wheaton, Illinois: Harold Shaw Publishers, 1985). For further on his pneumatology, see Michael A. Eaton,  Baptism with the Spirit. The teaching of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1989) and R. B. Lanning, “Dr Lloyd-Jones and the Baptism with the Holy Spirit”, The Banner of Truth, 271 (April 1986), 1-15.

 

Finally, there is that classic study of pastoral ministry, which I would recommend to all aspiring pastors: Preaching and Preachers (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971). For a brief overview of his works, see Martin Downes, “Review Article: Select Works of Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones”, Themelios, 25, No.1 (November 1999), 54-59.

Ten years ago

Some of my friends on Twitter have been reminiscing about where they were ten years ago. Ten years ago, I was a year into my first job outside of academia: the editorial directorship of Joshua Press. To think what has happened in this decade: I had three more years at Joshua Press, a position I loved, and then nearly came to Southern in 2002, but drew back at the last moment, and only came part-time. Instead I served as Principal of Toronto Baptist Seminary from the summer of 2003 to the fall of 2007. And now have been at Southern since January 2008 full-time. Two full years, and two of the best years of my life.

The Trellis and the Vine

Am reading Colin Marshall and Tony Payne, The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift that Changes Everything (Kingsford, NSA: Matthias Media, 2009) and loving it. This struck me today: the comment that "According to Paul, gospel partnership is the normal Christian life" (p.66). A hearty Amen to that! How can churches not be linked purposefully with others in gospel initiatives and defence? That some are speaks not of gospel fidelity but of disobedience to the Word.

A tremendous sermon by Kirk Wellum

Tonight my wife and I had the privilege to hear Kirk Wellum preach on Daniel 6 at our home church. It has to have been one of the finest sermons I ever heard. There was a clear outline of the passage: the nefarious attempt by the Persian satraps due to jealousy to make Daniel’s “faith and spirituality a political liability”; the passing of the law restricting worship to the King; Daniel’s disobedience to the law out of reverence for God; the miraculous deliverance of the servant of the Lord; the judgment of the wicked; the praise by Darius of the Lordship of Daniel’s God.

Near the end of the sermon, Kirk made a link between Daniel emerging from the lion’s den with our Lord emerging from the tomb. Honestly, the link was something I had never seen before. I saw where he was going just before he got there. Wow! I inwardly exclaimed, this is tremendous.

How important to preach not only within the context, but also canonically! Daniel 6 speaks of the reign of Messiah and God's sovereignty in history.

What a privilege to sit under such Spirit-anointed preaching.

Kirk Wellum on preaching and pastoring

There are a few blogs I read regularly: most of them are listed on my old site of Historia ecclesiastica. One of them is Kirk Wellum’s Redeeming the Time. In part, I read Redeeming the Time because Kirk is a dear friend. But it is also because he has a sharp theological mind that I deeply appreciate. I said a hearty amen, for instance, to this recent post on “Preaching and Beyond” (June 16, 2009).

John Newton on Entering Pastoral Ministry

A newly transcribed and published excerpt from John Newton's diary provides a understanding of his view on the ministry. Dr. Haykin has reviewed the booklet, Ministry on my mind: John Newton on entering pastoral ministry by John Newton, transcribed by Marylynn Rouse. Dr. Haykin believes that this work deserves to go on the short list of books which every man aspiring to pastoral ministry needs to read. Read the review here. Other reviews are available here. Check back regularly as new reviews are usually added on a weekly basis.

Posted by Steve Weaver, Research and Administrative Assistant to the Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin.