SUNDAY, APRIL 28, 2013.
‘And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles’ -Lk. 6:12-13
JESUS was concerned about those who would do the work of the ministry. He took time to pray and select them. He sent them forth to bear fruits. With these 12, He was able to turn the world around.
The work of ministry is ongoing. Those who would go into it should be thoroughly prepared. God will not use ‘drifting wood’ for sacrifice. It is, therefore, the business of the Church to make the men that make the ministry.
The requirements should include paper qualifications (Acts 6v1-7; I Tim. 3v1-7; Titus 1v5-9; I Pet. 5v1-4). The would-be minister must be full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom. (Heb. 5:4) No one takes the honour upon himself. He must be called, just as Aaron was. Note the call of some Old Testament leaders/prophets (Gen. 12:1-5; Ex. 3:1-4; 1 Sam. 3:1-10; Isa. 6:1-8; Jer. 1:4-8; Amos 7:14-17). But we need to ask: are all in the ministry truly called by God?
It is also important that he is trained (formally and informally), to enable him fit adequately. He must be highly spiritual -always keeping the fire burning at the altar (Lev. 6:8-13). He must be a man of prayer because no pastor is above his prayer life. He must be holy (Lev. 11:44; 1 Pet. 1:13-16).
He should not be wanting at the family front. He must be a husband of one wife, having his children in subjection with all gravity. He must feed the flock of God willingly and take delight in visiting them.
But are there people who have all these credentials in the Church? We are taught in Matt. 9:35 that Jesus went about teaching and preaching. He had time for the flock because when He found them harassed and helpless, He had compassion on them.
The man that will make the ministry, therefore, must be on his toes and note that the work includes preaching, teaching, visiting, counselling, praying etc. Any ministry that lacks these is meaningless and susceptible to mass exodus by members.
These aspects of the ministry should be intensified:
•Preaching – this must be in season and out of season (2 Tim. 4:2l; Matt. 9:35).
•Teaching – Jesus taught. St Paul also taught (Matt. 5:1-2, 9:35; Mk. 2:13; Lk. 6:27-35, 37-41, 43-45, 46-49, 1 Cor. 1:10, 3:5-7).
•Visiting – ‘A house-going pastor makes a church-going people’. This is a secret of success. ‘Jesus went about…’ St Paul also had time to visit. Consider his second and third missionary journeys (Acts 15:36, 18:23, 19:1-2).
•Counselling – Laying the cards on the table to enable your members choose wisely on matters of marriage, sickness, dispute, etc)
•Praying – The Bible tells us (1 Thess. 5:17) to pray without ceasing. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers (Eph. 6:12).
We have some distractions such as pride, arrogance, worldliness, materialism, prosperity preaching, boastings, timidity, ignorance and not yielding to God.
Sir C. I. Eziuzo lamented in his book, Guideline for General Administration of the Anglican Church (2009), that ‘some Church leaders are becoming more materialistic than members of the congregation they are supposed to direct in line with the Biblical injunctions. To achieve their materialistic tendencies, they engage in one form of corrupt practice or another. It is no longer strange to hear of clergymen embezzling church funds because of the race to get rich at all cost.’
Such attitude is wrong. Those, who are called, formed and sent out, should go and bear fruit; not do the opposite. God is interested in people He has formed for the work of ministry. I hope charlatans are listening!
It is our prayer that those who are made and sent out for the work whould represent God in whatever congregations they find themselves.
If we work well, then the Lord of the Church will say to us: ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount. Now, I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together’ -Mtt. 25v21, 23.
Think about this.VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.