Westminster Assembly

Westminster Assembly

Acts 6:4

"But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word."



1 Timothy 4:6-16

" If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." 1 Tim 4:6-16 (KJV)

What Is It You Look For In The Man In The Pulpit? by Shane C. Montgomery

Thursday, December 30, 2010
  What is it you look for when you visit a church?  Let's put aside the Worldly things, like Building, Entertainment, Gift Shop, Lounge, Gym, Day Care, Youth Group and any other factor that is designed to draw in the Worldly visitor and let's speak of honest, real things, not that these things are not entirely important, though I don't believe they are, but lets look at the man in the pulpit for a moment, what do you look for when visiting a church, and if it has been a while since you have visited a church other than yours, what would you look for if, say you recently moved to a new state and had to find a new church home?

I can tell you that from a pastor's point of view, if he is truly called that is, that when you step into the pulpit you do so with a little fear and a lot of nerves.  It may look like a easy thing to do, preaching, but it most assuredly is not. It does, of course get a little easier the more you do it.  I can tell you that it may be easier to stand in front of your regular congregation, and their are times when you preach in a foreign place in front of a large group of strangers, or if you preach in a nursing home, it really doesn't matter all that much, Preaching The Word is Preaching The Word! 

Most times, for me anyway, everyone looks alike, they all look just like me in fact.... sinners needing a Savior.  

   When I step into the pulpit, I do so with a great burden, an enormous burden to get something off my chest, that of course being the need for a Savior and then giving the Good News of the Gospel.  Even in expounding upon God's holy Word, verse by verse and teaching both doctrine and application as best as I can, this burden is no less heavy.  Preaching the Gospel for me is a desire, a need, a burden.  It is both awful and wonderful.  It is both something I dread and something I eagerly anticipate, it is something I want to do and enjoy doing and something that drains every bit of my energy.  I can work all day with my hands and back and not be as tired as I am after preaching one 90 minute sermon.  

   Preaching God's Word is something I feel as if I should be doing every minute of every day, even at night, when I lie in bed, the souls of the lost wear on my conscience, keep me awake and drive me to prayer.  The constant pull, and urge to share the Gospel is too much for me at times.  There is no vacation for me in this.  People often ask why I do not take a week off from preaching and invite another preacher, but I can't, why would anyone want to take off from something as wonderful as delivering God's Word?   God has placed a heavy burden upon my back, I can relate with John Bunyan's "Christian" from his beloved "Pilgrims Progress" when he speaks of his burden, but that of a pastors is doubled, where as "Christian" had the weight of his sins weighing him down, the pastor has the weight of his sins, plus the weight of his flocks souls!  Their sanctification, lies upon him to a large degree.  He is responsible for a lot of their growth in the knowledge of God and His Son.  The believer bears some of this but it is the man sent by God to minister His Word that has the major duty of inspiring, encouraging, awakening and driving them back to His Word every week.  Of course I am not taking away from the Holy Spirit, but the ministers duties cannot be denied. 

 The burden is great, no minister wants to answer to God about his pastoral duties.  Slothfulness will never do, short cutting will be of no avail, prayers will always be long and laborous.  Nights will always be sleepless.  Your heart will be broken a thousand times for every single time it rejoices.  The life of a minister is not one to be envious of.  The condemnation is doubled.  The burden of everyone's sins is on your back.  Everyone you encounter, every single one, is someone you could have helped by sharing the Gospel, but you did not.  

   "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world."
Romans 10:13-18 (KJV)

  God's Elect are called forth from their slumber by the hearing of His Word Preached!   Do we truly understand what this means?  God is sovereign, we do not deny this so we know He will deliver His elect children from the City of Destruction once and for all, (had to sneak that in!) He will save them and regenerate them, but He does this by the preaching of His Word,  So the burden lies great with the minister.  Your minister is someone worthy and needy of your prayers.  I hope you pray for him everyday.  If not, please do, I assure you, he covets your prayers.

How I took something as simple as an introduction to a new poll and turned it so far around as I have done with this one, well,.....I have no idea!   But take a few minutes and let me hear what you think is most important, maybe I just felt the need to share the feelings of a minister at least one who is not worthy to deliver His Word, but who has been commanded to do so regardless.  I will never know why God saved me, I will never know why God laid this burden for the lost upon me.  I will never know in this life anyway....  I do know that of all the people of the world, I am the least qualified, least deserving, least worthy and the most useless man on earth.  Every single pastor in the world is a better pastor than I am.  Every single preacher in this world is more deserving, better educated, than I am.  Maybe that is why, if His Glory can shine through even a fool like me.... 

  I posted a new poll in the right hand column of this blog, you might have to scroll either up or down the page depending on long this post has been on the blog here, but you can find it easy enough, or if you think none of the answers listed to pick from on the poll are sufficient, you can comment your answer to this posting.  I pose this question because I hear so many answers, when visitors come to our church they always have varying points they look for in a church, in a congregation and in the pastor.  So I am putting this out there for anyone who can comment, please do, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks and be Holy!
Shane C. Montgomery


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