The Making of a True Minister

Bob Thompson



1.  What is the purpose for one being a minister of Christ?

 The answer is twofold:   

a. To preach the gospel to the lost.  (1 Cor. 9:16)

b.  To preach the Word “for the perfecting  of the saints, and for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.  (Eph. 4:12)

 2.  What are the qualifications for being a minister?

a.  One must be “born again.”  (John 3:3; 1 Peter 1:23)

b.  One must be wholly committed, dedicated, single-minded.  (2 Tim. 2:1-5)

c.  One must be a man of integrity, purity, service oriented.  (1 Tim. 6:11-14)

 3.  Who is called of God?  

 One whose central desire is to obey the Lord in all things, whatever the cost.  A study in the lives of those heroes of the faith, listed in Hebrews 11, is a study in faith, humility and godly submissiveness.

 4.  How old must one be to give his full time to the ministry?

Old enough to do the work of an evangelist, pastor, teacher, and to minister to people of all ages.   (Eph. 4:11—12)

5.   What kind of experience must one have to minister full time? The experience of being a yielded vessel the Lord has been working through for several years, (Phil. 2:13; Titus 2:7) is sound in doctrine (Titus 2:8)  and well versed in “rightly dividing the Word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15)

6.  What is the financial outlook for a pastor?

“But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus… who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock and eateth not of the milk of the flock?….even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” (Phil. 4:19; 1 Cor. 9:7, 14)

7.  What should the young preacher minister to God’s people?

 For answers, let’s consult the one whom the Bible describes as “a wise master builder.” His name is Paul. (1 Cor. 3:10)  We are several times commanded to follow him in the example he set for us all.  (Phil. 4:9, 3:17; 1 Cor. 4:16, 11:1; 2 Tim. 2:2).

a.     To him it was given to reveal the mysteries of Christ for this Dispensation, i.e. a program for God’s people “not revealed in other ages”  (Eph. 3:1-9)

b.     In Acts 20:19-21,  we see that Paul held back nothing  that was profitable to the saints. He preached “the whole counsel of God,” which no man-made church can do, for in so doing it would destroy itself.  (Acts 20:26-27; Col. 2:6-10). 

 c.     Paul allowed only the Name of the Lord Jesus to identify his work and labor of love. (Col. 3:17)   He wrote, “whatsoever is not of faith is sin….” (Rom. 14:23,. 10:17; Heb. 11:6)

 d.     He depended entirely on the Lord’s revelation (which he has since given us by the Holy Spirit in his epistles) as to how the body of Christ is to function. 1 Cor. 12:12-26; Eph. 3:1-6)  His epistles are our marching orders (1 Cor. 15:37) (though “ALL SCRIPTURE…is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be….furnished unto ALL  good works.”   2  Tim. 3:16-17)

 e. He commanded Timothy, a  young minister, as follows: 

 “Preach the Word, be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering  and doctrine.  For the time will come  [it’s here now] when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away from the truth and shall be turned unto fables.  But watch thou in all things; endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”(2 Tim. 4:2-5)  No seminary on earth can prepare a young man for this. It is the providence of the Holy Spirit.   (Prov. 3:5-6; John 16:13-16; 1 John 2:27; 2 Tim. 3:16-17)

If there is any such thing as “the great commission”  for a man of God today, this has to be it.

 But, if one does not attend a seminary, where can he secure the necessary training for the ministry? CONSIDER: Down through the centuries, many of God’s chosen men have doubtless come out of godly assemblies where the Word of God was preached in its entirety. As Paul told young Timothy:  “And the things which thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”   (2 Tim. 2:2)  No place does Christ, Paul or the other apostles, speak of establishing theological schools to prepare young preachers for the ministry.   THE ANSWER: God Himself  will  gladly  teach  any young man who hungers  and thirsts after righteousness, and who  truly  desires  to do His will. Study the following references carefully:   Matt. 5:6;  Matt. 11:25; John 7:17;  Psa. 25:9 ;  1 John 2:27; John 6:45(a).

8.  What tendencies should a pastor avoid in his ministry of the Word?

a. He should by all means avoid becoming a dictator, demanding that Christians lockstep to the leadership or else face shunning, expulsion, or excommunication.  Such cultic tactics are a denial of the headship of Christ. Furthermore, saints are to walk in their own faith, not that of others. (Hab. 2:4) each of us are to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”   (1 Thess.   5:21). A minister’s job, then, is to preach the Word, (2 Tim. 4:2-5)  allowing the Holy Spirit to convince, convict and guide the footsteps of his flock. (Phil. 2:13; Col. 1:29)

b. He should never use the pulpit to deliberately humiliate, scold, or assail

someone with whom he has a personal grievance.  Instead, he should prayerfully and humbly go to that individual and do all in his power to settle the dispute, the injustice, the misunderstanding, or whatever it is that stands between him and the other person.   (Prov. 13:10;  Matt. 18:15)

c.  He should avoid receiving honor from men, which folly the Lord clearly addresses in John 5:44:  “How can ye believe which receive honor…”                                   

d.     He should steadfastly refuse to compromise the Word of God for the sake of social or prideful recognition, or ”filthy lucre.”   (1 Cor.  1:31;  1 Timothy 3:3, 8) 

9.  What are his other responsibilities?

They will likely include such things as: 

a.       Hospital visitation.
b.       Street meetings, jail ministries, door to door inquiries.
c.       Individual counseling.
d.       Writing tracts and Bible studies.
e.       Weekly radio programs.
f.        Wedding and funerals

10.  What should be the focus of a minister?

 To please the Lord in all things  Heb. 11:6;  to hold forth the Word of life Phil. 2:16,  to lift up the cross  (Gal. 6:14)  and count himself dead to self and alive to Christ. “…..not I but Christ…” (Gal. 2:20)  should characterize the tenor of his life.

11.  What are the rewards of being a minister?

 They are many. For me the greatest, lasting and most personally rewarding years have been to share in bringing others to Christ, watching them grow in spiritual graces, and then see them reach a satisfactory measure of Biblical maturity. The most lasting rewards will be given at the judgment seat of Christ.  Col. 3:23-24. 

12.  How does marriage affect ones ministry?

 A more inclusive question would be: how does marriage expand a minister’s usefulness, and what impact will it have for good or evil?

a.  With his wife and children in subjection to him, the spiritual, social and moral direction the young minister and his family take is the great-est, most effective, far-reaching sermon he will ever preach. Though not an elder, as defined in 1 Timothy 3:1-6, the young pastor needs the qualifications of one if he is to see to it that he and his household provide a suitable role model for the flock to follow.

b.  To the degree any minister fails in this area, and can not control his wife and children, at home or abroad, to that degree he is an influence for ill and diminishes his usefulness, so far as discerning, spiritually  minded Christians are concerned.

13.  Should the preacher deal with the subject of morality?

If he doesn’t, he is preaching only half a Bible.  For example, six of the  ten commandments, as listed in (Exodus 20:1-17), refer to man’s relationship to man, i.e. principles of right and wrong,  This interesting and dynamic theme is woven throughout the Bible, starting with Cain and Abel.  (Gen. 4).

14.  How much study of the Word should he engage in?

As much as he can find time for without neglecting his family.  A pastor should diligently study to show Himself “approved unto God, [not men] a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.”  (2 Tim. 2:15)

a.    A God-called minister should be able, by “holding fast the faithful Word,” and by “sound doctrine” (Titus1:9; 2:6-7) “both to exhort and con- vince the gainsayers.”[gainsayers being those who strongly oppose him doctrinally] Titus 1:9. 

 b.  This all requires an on-going, diligent searching and study of God’s Word on the part of the minister, while he wisely sees to it that He first applies its principles, and doctrines.       

15.  Should a preacher give his full time to the ministry?

It depends.  If a band of godly men and women are willing and able to support a minister, and he has proven himself qualified, then by all means. (1 Cor. 9:7-14; Phil. 4:10-19)  If not, he should follow the example of the apostle Paul—secure a job and stay with it until such time as circumstances allow him to give his full and undivided attention to the ministry of the Word.  (Acts 18:3; 1 Thess. 2:9)

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