My dear son,
I realize you will be serving Christ in a world far different than the one where I was trained and first released into ministry. Your methods, your dress, your vocabulary, the technologies you use and even the problems you face may have little in common with the world I knew, or even the world in which we both minister today. You will be a faithful servant of Christ not because you mimic my words or imitate my ministry style, but because you live out the timeless values we share – values that come to us from the Word of God and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
So while I still have the opportunity, I want to take a few minutes to summarize in writing the values and life lessons I have attempted to live out before you and most want to pass on to you…
First, I want you to understand the vital importance and impact of the Word of God. Remain strong to the study, teaching and implementation of the Bible. The scriptures are the measuring stick that rightfully decides truth. You will here much talk about the relevance of Christ to today’s world. You will engage those that will want their itching ears massaged with music and language that fits neatly into their perspective of faith, worship and God. While there must not be “sacred cows”, or systems that scream, “that is the way we have always done it”, one must be careful to not appease these at the expense of Biblical truth or tramples upon the Holiness of God. A line must be drawn in the sand. But allow God to do the writing as seen in his Holy Word. Relevance of our faith to our culture is important but not at the irreverence of God and his Word.
Second, it is imperative that you live a life of integrity. Do what you say you will do and live what you say you believe. The people you shepherd must see you living what you teach every Sunday. If they do not see it in your life you will be easily exposed as a fraud. Remember, the youth culture of today has been exposed to many leaders that live lives without integrity distanced from what they say they believe. This has provided them with a spirit of discernment that makes them keenly aware of hypocrisy.
Finally, as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a shepherd of the flock, know that the task and demands are great. You must work hard, be prepared “in season and out”, be energized with the love of Christ. You must take time to refuel, care for your wife and family, relax and retreat but know that this ministry stuff is hard work. It will sometimes take many hours of your time. You must be dedicated. Surround yourself with those that can provide a listening ear. Men of wisdom, prayer, integrity and authenticity. The apostle Paul knew this. That is why he gave council to those considering marriage at its impact upon ministry. He knew the demands and we must be willing to make the sacrifices necessary to meet those demands.
In Partner in Ministry,