Transition, Part 1

With my time on staff at SonRise Church drawing near the end in three or four weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about transition.  So I thought I’d share my thoughts about it over these next three days.

This whole thing was probably started by a Bible verse about a year and a half ago.  I was studying 1 Corinthians, and it changed my life.  In 1 Corinthians 1:17, the apostle Paul is addressing a dispute in the Corinthian church.  Factions had taken root and church members were taking pride in whichever minister had baptized them.  Paul expresses his relief that he hadn’t baptized very many people, so they couldn’t elevate him above Christ.  And then he says something that struck me like a cup of cold water thrown in a sleeping person’s face: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Gospel.”

Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Gospel.

I love Paul’s clarity.  Christ called him specifically to preach the Gospel, and he knew it.  Baptizing people is an important part of ministry.  Lots of other things are also important parts of ministry: counseling, visitation, administration, mentoring, teaching, attending meetings, planning and strategizing, etc.  All these things are important, but they are not the primary calling that God had on Paul’s life.  If Paul had focused on these things, he could easily have become distracted from the one thing God created him for.

That morning I seemed to awake from a deep sleep and remember something I had known at one time and forgotten: God called me to preach the Gospel.  He did not call me to ministry in general, but specifically to preach.  He did not call me to oversee small groups ministry, duplicate DVDs, upload podcasts, lead meetings, run video, edit a newsletter, design graphics, administrate a visitation ministry, counsel, create videos, etc.  He called me to preach.

Don’t get me wrong–every one of those things I just mentioned is important.  Preachers have to do things other than preach.  There have been times when some of those things listed above were exactly what God called me to do at a particular time.  But my primary calling is to preach.  And so I must spend most of my ministry time and effort toward that end.

God spoke to me that day I came across that verse, and His voice grew louder and louder in my heart until I felt like the prophet Jeremiah, who said “His Word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.  I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot” (Jeremiah 20:9).

Neither can I.   For Christ has called me to preach the Gospel.

Published in: on March 8, 2007 at 8:37 am  Leave a Comment  

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