The Single Most Important Task of the Pastor

Primary Calling

Preaching is central to the pastor’s ministry because that is our primary calling. We are told explicitly by the Apostle Paul as he speaks to Timothy, “Preach the Word, preach the Word.”

We’re also told take heed to ourself and to our doctrine. Paul tells Titus, “Proclaim the Word with all authority and let no one circumvent that.” We have one primary task and that is to take the Word of God and disseminate it to the people of God and then to the world. We are, above all things, preachers.

In fact, when you look at the qualifications for a pastor in 1 Timothy 3 or Titus 1, there’s only one skill—there’s a lot of character qualifications—but there’s only one skill, and that is able to teach. We are primarily teachers and preachers of the Word of God.

Preaching is central to the pastor’s ministry because that is primarily our calling.

And to add to the focus of that, remember that Paul said to the Corinthians that the preaching of the cross is to the world—to the ungodly, to those that are perishing—foolishness, but to those that are being saved, it is the power of God unto salvation.

So we are above all things, preachers—not of our own ideas, not preachers of our own insights, not preachers that merely say what people want to hear. We don’t tickle ears. We preach the Word of God in season and out of season. We reprove, we rebuke, we instruct with patience and long-suffering. You can’t even really call yourself a pastor, a shepherd, an elder unless you are proclaiming the Word of God.

Take the Word of God Everywhere

One other way to look at it is that Christ is the head of the church—that’s clear in Scripture. He’s the head of the church and he exercises his headship or his leadership over the church by his Word. He speaks to his church and he speaks through Scripture. How is he going to be heard in the church unless those who are shepherds give his Word to his people and then give his Word to the world?

And then people say, “Well, why am I an expositor?” I say, “What else would I say?” If I’m not telling them what the Lord of the church says to the church, if I’m not telling them what God says to the world, then I’m not fulfilling my calling at all. It’s not about me, I’m not the hero of my own stories. I don’t have anything to say, my opinions don’t matter. The Lord has spoken in his Word and our job is to give to God’s people and to the world the full counsel of God, to unfold the full revelation of God.

So, first and foremost, we are preachers of the Word of God. Now we follow that up, as Paul did, by preaching publicly. He says in Acts 20 he went from house to house. So we take the Word of God into the pulpit and then we take it into life. We’re still teaching and proclaiming the Word of God even in our personal relationships as we shepherd people on a more personal level.

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