As with the first Together for the Gospel Conference, the final session of T4G ‘08 went to C.J. Mahaney. He opted to speak from Philippians 1:3 and preached a message that was pastoral in tone—a pastoral message seeking to tend to the souls of pastors. There is no true pastoral ministry apart from proclaiming the gospel and doctrinal precision and in this conference pastors have been challenged by these things. But the ministry also demands personal holiness, godly affections, and pleasing God in the privacy of our hearts. It is not solely about the mind but is also about the soul. In this message C.J. sought to address a pastor’s heart and to care for his soul. He wanted to have a personal word with the pastors to prepare them for the challenges that await as they return home from this conference.
The Apostle Paul is a model to pastors because he served and sacrificed and suffered and did it all with joy. To study this man’s life and letters is to encounter this distinctive so it is wise to give attention to joy in the life of Paul and to consider whether this distinctive is present in our lives. For a pastor to adequately do the task of ministry he must serve with joy!
C.J. offered a list of questions that would be of benefit to a pastor as he seeks to understand whether or not he serves with joy. Would your wife say that you are joyful in your pastoral ministry? What would your children say about your attitude and your demeanor every day? Would they describe you as joyful or as normally burdened, moody, irritable? Have you modeled a culture of joy within your church so that this is immediately obvious to anyone who visits?
With introductory matters aside he began to challenge pastors directly. Because a message of this nature is so immediately applicable and so personally applicable, I am providing only bare notes. There is no way I could write out what C.J. teaches and to communicate the impact. I hope that with this outline any pastor will see the benefit of downloading and listening to this message. It will bless your soul and your ministry.
C.J. turned to his text and offered several principles from Paul’s ministry:
Gratefulness to God (3-5) – Paul places great emphasis on gratefulness to God. With Paul we hear gratitude for evidences of grace that he sees in the lives of the people in the churches to which he writes. He continually exhorted his listeners to express thankfulness to God.
Faith for the Future (6) – What strengthened Paul’s confidence in the church’s future was that it was rooted in God, initiated by God. Because it was inaugurated by God he was sure that God would bring it to completion. Your certainty for the future of the church will make all the difference in your ministry. One cannot effectively pastor without faith in God. So don’t only isolate the topic of gratefulness, but focus also on the area of faith.
Affection for Others (7,8) – Paul yearns for them with the affection of Jesus Christ. This kind of affection permeates Paul’s life and ministry and as such serves as a model for pastors today.
I honestly hesitate to say much more than this. My encouragement is to find the MP3 (see the very next post on my blog), download it, and be blessed.