Answers for Pastors

Should small churches expect to do less missions work?


By no means! While churches with fewer members and resources may not support missions work on the same scale as larger churches, they should still strive to do all they can to engage in the work of missions.

So how can small churches engage in missions work? The same way larger churches can:

How can churches cultivate a culture of missions?

Preach expositionally. Scripture is filled with instruction to believers about God’s plan of salvation and our responsibility to spread the good news of salvation in Christ to the ends of the earth. Faithful Christ-centered, expository preaching should, over time, teach a congregation to heartily pursue local and international evangelism.

What is success in missions and how do you measure it?


The Bible teaches several points with unavoidable clarity. 

Who is responsible to fulfill the Great Commission?

All Christians. In John 20:21, Jesus says to all his disciples, “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Jesus was sent into the world to become the savior of those who would believe. We are sent into the world to proclaim what Christ has done and call people to faith in him. Therefore, every Christian should evangelize locally and, if possible, support the work of bringing the gospel to the ends of the earth.

What does the Great Commission require of local churches?


In order to fulfill Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19), churches must:

What activities and goals are properly included under the term “missions”?

The mission of the church, according to the Bible, is to worship God and to love the world by calling it to that same worship. The goal of missions, in other words, is to produce worshippers of God by proclaiming the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ:

What are some general guidelines by which pastors can counsel and encourage women in the church?

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As a pastor, your goal should be to set up practical boundaries to protect yourself, the woman, and the church: You want to protect yourself from unjust accusations (1 Tim. 5:19). Moreover, pastors are to be above reproach, so you want to build in boundaries that ensure you will both be above reproach and be seen to be above reproach. You want to protect the woman from any potential wrongdoing on the part of any church leaders.

Who is responsible for training pastors?


Most evangelicals believe the answer to that question is obvious: seminaries are responsible. A man who decides he wants to be a pastor should go to seminary, get a degree, and then presto! He’s ready to be a pastor.

What are some practical ways that churches can invest in training pastors?


Here are several ways that whole congregations can get involved in training pastors:

What are some of the most important things for a pastor-in-training to learn?

The Bible. A pastor’s first priority is to preach the Word (2 Tim. 4:2). A pastor-in-training’s first priority should be to study the Word. Holiness. The primary qualifications for an elder are moral and spiritual (1 Tim. 3:2-7). A pastor is to shepherd his people by his own example (1 Pet. 5:3). Therefore a man pursuing the ministry must diligently seek after consistent, hard-fought holiness.

How important is seminary training?


Seminary training is one way to develop some tools that are useful for pastoral ministry. Specifically, seminary is a good place to learn theology, church history, the biblical languages, and the tools of exegesis.

On the other hand, personal ministry within the local church is absolutely essential training for a pastor. It is in the local church that a man’s character is formed and assessed, that he learns how to disciple and counsel others, and that he learns how to preach and teach.

How can a pastor make unwise use of commentaries and other helps in sermon preparation?


A pastor can make unwise use of commentaries and other resources in sermon preparation if he allows them—rather than the text itself—to set his sermon’s agenda.

How important is knowing the original languages to preaching?


For a preacher, knowing the original languages can be likened to what Paul said to slaves about freedom: “If you can gain your freedom, do so. If not, be content with what you have” (1 Cor. 7:21, paraphrase). In other words, if you are able to learn the original languages, do so. They are a valuable tool. But such knowledge is not absolutely necessary for a preacher, for a number of reasons.

How can a pastor best care for the members of his congregation who are physically ill?

Pray for them personally. See James 5:14. Pray for them publicly. Be discerning here. Be careful that your church’s public prayers don’t become (if they aren’t already!) a mere recital of who’s got what. Perhaps consider praying in general for those who are ill in one of your pastoral prayers. Visit them if you’re able.

What are some tips for preparing a sermon on a tight schedule?

Expositional sermons take time to prepare, so you need to make time. You need to meditate on and exegete the text, understand the text’s main point and turn it into a sermon outline, carefully consider how to apply the text to your hearers’ lives, and then write a sermon. So the first thing to do is block out time in your schedule. As much as you can manage, make yourself unavailable for anything else.