In the milieu of ideology on church growth and strategy it is refreshing to read wise counsel from faithful pastors of past generations who remind us that, although we may be experiencing a dynamic change in the technological and informational realms, the Gospel and the preaching of that Gospel never changes at its core. Consider the words of William Still who speaks to the issues of the Pastor as Evangelist and Shepherd:
Too many [pastors] today pin their faith for fruitful evangelism on harping for ever on a few Gospel facts isolated from the broad and full context of the whole Bible.
Still’s point is that a truly evangelistic ministry is one in which the whole counsel of God’s Word is made to bear. Still appeals to James Philip’s words…
The church’s evangelism ought to be one in which all the counsel of God is made known to men. We need a recovery of belief in the converting and sanctifying power of the living Word of God in the teaching of the pulpit and its ability to transform the lives of men and produce in them the lineaments and fruits of mature Christian character.
Still further contends that when the pastor loses sight of the power of the Word of God preached and begins to focus on or emphasize other things it is time for him to reconsider his calling. It is the pastors responsibility to feed the flock.
If you think that you are called to keep a largely worldly organization, miscalled a church, going, with infinitesimal doses of innocuous sub-Christian drugs or stimulants, then the only help I can give you is to advise you to give up the hope of the ministry and go and be a street scavenger; a far healthier and more godly job, keeping the streets tidy, than cluttering the church with a lot of worldly claptrap in the delusion that you are doing a job for God. The pastor is called to feed the sheep, even if the sheep do not want to be fed. He is certainly not to become an entertainer of goats. Let goats entertain goats, and let them do it out in goatland. You will certainly not turn goats int sheep by pandering to their goatishness.
Those are strong words, but words that need to be considered for anyone who is called to serve the church of God as Pastor.
Do we really believe that the Word of God, by His Spirit, changes, as well as maddens men? If we do, to be evangelists and pastor, feeders of sheep, we must be men of the Word of God.
These are important questions for both Pastors and Sheep to consider:
- Pastors – Are we really feeding the sheep by proclaiming the whole counsel of God?
- Sheep – Do you really want to be fed the whole counsel of God, plainly and clearly, and with passion and conviction?