Shepherding Involves Investing (part 1)

2 Timothy 2:1–2 (ESV)
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Pastors are called to shepherd the church. There are many responsibilities involved in caring for the flock, the most important is the preaching of the Word. But, one responsibility that is often neglected is equipping others to make disciples. If you are preaching 2-3 different sermons a week, plus managing a host of other responsibilities, adding one more “necessary” component to pastoring can be overwhelming.

The traditional church pastorate includes 20 hours of preparation each week, staff meetings, committee meetings, administrative oversight, calendar planning, and counseling sessions. In addition to the weekly responsibilities, there are funerals, weddings, and crisis situations that happen consistently without warning. This list doesn’t include personal evangelism and mission in the life of the pastor, it is simply focused on leading the congregation. Though all of the above happens, Paul instructs Timothy to prioritize investing in others with the goal of multiplication.

Paul tells Timothy, a young pastor of the church in Ephesus, to invest himself and his time in teaching other men who will teach other men. It would be wrong to assume that Timothy didn’t have anything else on his plate when Paul wrote this. I can’t help but consider the possibility that Paul wrote this because the pressure and pull on pastors has always been overwhelming and time-consuming.

The schedule of a pastor is incredibly busy because God intends for our work to be- work. Being busy and worn out is not unique to the job of a pastor, it is a by-product of work itself. God intends for work to do more than just make money and make you tired; He intends for your effort to be satisfying and God-glorifying (Col 3:17).

Doing the main thing(s) brings the most satisfaction and yields the greatest results. Paul instructs Timothy to teach men who will teach men. No matter how many issues there are to resolve, no matter how many people need counseling, no matter how many times he is supposed to teach and preach to the congregation, Timothy is to make sure that he multiplies his ministry through disciple-making. Multiplying your ministry is essential to the mission of the church and the spiritual growth of the congregation.

You don’t have to change your circumstances to multiply your ministry through investing in others. Be assured, if you invest in others in a way that leads them to invest in others, you will change your environment over time. If you are looking for resources, visit my friend Robby Gallaty’s site http://replicateministries.org

I will be writing next about how our staff has shifted from the administrative mindset to a multiplication and missional mindset.

If you want to talk about how to shift your life and schedule around in a  traditional church to make room for investing in others, email me at rarmstrong@newunionbaptist.org

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