Recently, I participated in my son’s ordination service. Jonathan serves as associate pastor of worship and discipleship at Lakeside Baptist Church, North Myrtle Beach, SC, and his church ordained him to the gospel ministry.
Ordination to the ministry occurs in a worship setting and recognizes God’s call to ministry, the candidate’s commitment to follow that calling, and the church’s public confirmation that the candidate is gifted and qualified to serve in ministry.
My assignment? Preach the charge to the church. I chose Ephesians 4:11-12 as my text: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
Usually when we read about gifts in the New Testament, they are given by the Holy Spirit. Yet, these four gifts are given by Christ Himself.
Everywhere else, gifts are given to individual believers. Here, these gifts are given to the church. Usually, these gifts are spiritual endowments, character traits, or special abilities. In this passage, they are leaders given to God’s church.
After this explanation of the text, I asked the congregation to turn the idea of gifts around: What gifts can you give to Jonathan that will bless his ministry and strengthen the church? What gifts can you give to your pastors?
First, give the gift of honor. I Thessalonians 5:12-13 reads, “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish them and to esteem them very highly in love for their works sake….” Your pastor’s work is valuable because it is kingdom work, so recognize the hard work and esteem them highly.
Second, give the gift of help. Why did Jesus give these four gifts to the church? To do all the work of the church while members sit on the sidelines and watch? No, to equip members to work alongside them to do the work of ministry.
Third, give the gift of harmony. Someone said, “The pastor is not sent to make the church happy, but to help make the church holy and the Lord happy.”
The Lord smiles when pastor and people work together in harmony, so help build unity rather than sowing seeds of discord. Bend over backwards to protect the fellowship.
Fourth, give the gift of encouragement. Zig Ziglar said, “You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life.”
Remember, your pastor is human. He’ll have good days and bad days, times of exhilaration and times of frustration. He’ll get tired.
In Exodus 17 when Israel battled Amalek in Rephidim, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a hill to oversee the battle. As long as Moses held up his hands, Israel prevailed. As soon as Moses lowered his hands, Israel lost ground and Amalek prevailed.
Moses finally sat down, and Aaron and Hur, one on one side and one on the other, held up Moses’ arms until Joshua and Israel defeated Amalek and his people (Exodus 17:13). One of the greatest enemies facing a pastor is discouragement. Please come alongside your pastor and holds up his arms.
Fifth, give the gift of courtesy (Ephesians 4:15, 4:32). Show spiritual maturity and be up front with any disagreements, concerns, or differences. Too often we talk about each other rather than talk to each other. Talk to your pastor rather than about your pastor.
Sixth, give the gift of generosity (I Corinthians 9:6). Be a generous, biblical, faithful, cheerful giver who brings the tithe into the storehouse and supports God’s work. Ministry takes money. New initiatives take money.
Be as generous as you can with supporting your pastor. I Corinthians 9:14 records, “Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.”
Seventh, give the gift of prayer. The load of ministry is too heavy for any minister to lift by himself, so as you pray, help the pastor carry the load. If God’s work and God’s man are going to thrive, God’s people must be praying people who lift their pastor up in prayer.
What a blessing this day was! We’re proud of our son!