“I’ve resigned my pastorate,” said a minister recently, “and have signed a contract to teach school this year so I can get something done for God.” This may seem an astonishing statement coming from a pastor, but I for one understand what he meant by it. As he later explained, he had become something of an office manager, a master of detail, an architect and a committee maneuverer; whereas originally, he had been trained and commissioned to give himself to the Word, to prayer, to soul-winning, to Bible teaching and to visiting the sick and the lost.
“Sure,” he admitted, “they let me preach on Sunday, but the real emphasis was usually on how I could organize, engineer, create publicity, and so forth.” By returning to high school to teach in the chemistry labs, he believed now that he would have more time actually to witness and win souls to Christ. Surely, this is a sad commentary on twentieth-century evangelical church life, but it is representative of the feeling of many earnest ministers today.
It is high time spirit-filled pastors took the position affirmed by the twelve disciples who, tom by increasing demands, said, “It is not fit that we should forsake the word of God and minister to tables.… But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the Word” (Acts 6). Others were appointed to attend to material matters. Did God vindicate and approve the stand taken by those disciples? The answer is found in verse 7: “And the word of God increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly.…”
Shall we pursue the matter a bit further and ask ourselves candidly what has contributed this sad condition? Here are a few possible answers:
The pressures and material demands of twentieth-century ...1
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