As some of you know, yesterday was the official Installation/Ordination hoorah here at First Christian Church. It was great. Some additional friends and family were there. And the Milligan College Concert Choir was there… that was a nice touch!
Anyhoo, especially for some who couldn’t make it due to sickness, work, and weather, here is the text of the “Charge to the Minister”, which was led by Charles Reese, former FCC Senior Minister, 2000-2007. By the way, I did in fact, say, “I will” at the end.
The Christian ministry is both a great joy and a solemn responsibility. Jesus called the twelve to be with Him, first of all, even before sending them out to preach and to serve (Mark 3:14-15). So, we charge you, first of all, to love God supremely. The intensity of this relationship will determine the spirit and motivation and performance of your entire ministry. Cultivate that love for God that you are now experiencing through secret devotion, constant prayer, and the careful study of God’s Word. God does not share His Lordship with another. Let every demand upon your time and strength be subjugated to the growth and development of your life in its intimate relationship to Jesus Christ.
We charge you, secondly, to be a servant of God to people. The calling of the Christian minister is primarily that of a servant. Guard against the multiplicity of ministerial duties which will tempt you to choose the non-essential functions and so fragment your ministry that it dissipates its very strength. It will behoove you to remember that people are more important than things, institutions, rules or schedules. Yours must be the work of the preacher, an evangelistic voice interpreting God’s Word in apocalyptic days; yours must be the work of a pastor, whose heart never becomes hardened through intimacy or familiarity with the congregation; yours must be the work of an administrator who maintains a constant vigil over the organization, carefully delegating authority to others so as not to become encumbered with the endless detail of the administrative office, and yet not shunning the menial task, as if it were below your calling.
Finally, we charge you to keep the spirit of the ministry as Paul presents it in his second letter to Timothy: “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
So, will you pledge, as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness? Will you love God supremely? Will you serve these people? Will you preach the Word? And will you work hard to extend the Kingdom of God by promising to support the church and its worship and work to the best of your ability?
If so, will you please echo your agreement by saying, “I will.”