It is divinely incumbent upon every member of the church to contribute in every way they can to the well-being of the church, but the pastor has been called by the omniscient Head of the church to the awesome responsibility of taking care of the church of God (I Timothy 3:5). Much, and varied is the work which the scriptures have positively enjoined to or commanded of the church. Conversely, all parody is prohibited by the scriptures, and the pastor being the primary care-taker of the church should be able to discern between the helpful and hurtful influences brought to bear on the church.
First in order in pastoral care of the church is, “to feed the church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). If the pastor fails in this principal, he has failed in all, and the ill effect is spiritual retrogression. The pastor being faced with the ever present and vital need of feeding the church, must of necessity implement an activity mode that will assure him adequate study for sermon preparation, lest he find himself, not only unprepared to preach on Sunday, but ill prepared.
The importance of preaching is clearly and repeatedly stated in the scriptures. The pastor who builds his sermon on the word of God, comes to the pulpit with a medium through which the Holy Spirit blesses the church to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The maintenance of spiritual health in the church depends largely on the pastor scheduling time for sermon preparation, and allowing as little infringement on that time as possible.
This is not to say, all pastoral time should be spent in sermon preparation, certainly not, for there are many other important and essential duties inherent in the pastoral office; duties such as, pastoral counseling, visitation, and not least is the duty of over-seeing all corporate functions of the church. However, if the pastor’s study time is unduly infringed upon, the power of his preaching will be diminished, and the whole church will suffer a lack of spiritual vitality, for the sermon is the chief instrument which the Lord uses to feed the church.
Intrusions into and infringements upon the pastor’s study time are inevitable, but they should be of a serious nature, and not something minor, or which could be settled by self initiative. In the majority of cases, all that is needed to resolve the matter, is a little self incentive, reasoning, and meekness. But when there are intrusions into the time zone which the pastor has reserved for sermon preparation, it steals vital and significant time which belongs, not merely to the pastor, but to the whole church. And when the time of such an imposition is measured by the number in attendance on Sunday morning, it will be seen as a wholesale robbery of time, for every person in attendance suffers some measure of spiritual loss.
Generally, the pastor is a docile and patient person, and takes the problems of his parishioners very seriously, but there is nothing more important to the God called pastor than preaching Christ to a needful and hungry church. In scripture delineation of pastoral functions, preaching comes first. He is not to be a novice, but one who is “able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers” (Titus 1:9).
The pastor who does not reserve adequate study time for sermon preparation, will in due season find himself with a spiritually malnourished church, and a church thusly affected is not irreparable, but stands in critical need of pastoral attention which is wanting in most pastors. God has commanded His pastors to study (II Timothy 2:15), and it follows that He has given them time for study. It is through this time of study and prayer that God makes them equal to their calling, but when this all important time is abused, either by the pastor or church members, the church defeats itself and becomes weak and ineffectual. One sure way for the church and the pastor to “redeem the time,” is to allocate it according to scripture, and so doing, both pastor and church will be a mighty power for God on earth.
We invite you and your family to join us for worship at Grace Missionary Baptist Church at the Glowmarw Bridge Sunday School 11 a.m., Worship at Noon, Evening Service 6 p.m., Bible Study Wednesday 6 p.m. The Book of Romans.