My Dear Pastors, I want you to know that it is my great joy to bear witness to God’s call in your life, and to be a part of your ordination this day. I’m sure I speak for all of God’s children over here today, when I say we are very proud of you and of your wives. After all, we are your church family and have been for most of your life, dearly Pastors!
I wasn’t here at the time but I’m sure this church was thrilled when both of you became Christians as small children and then began to mature spiritually. The people of this church listened to you attentively and watched you participate in both church activities and the youth ministry over here. Many of the members have literally watched you grow from babes to adulthood. Is anyone present who watched these Pastors in the beginning, taught them, or worked with them in all stages of their life till now? Would you please stand? You have well done!
Many also are here present today watched you meet and fall in love and get wedded in this same church under the watch of the head Pastor. Today we rejoiced with you Pastors, as God set you apart for this task of being a pastor and we’ve prayed for you the past few years while some of you have been in seminary preparing for this call. So, this day is indeed a joyful time, a proud day, in the life of this Local Church and in your personal life. And before we send you and wives off to serve as pastors, I would charge you with three important things.
1. First of all, Pastors, I charge you to LOVE GOD.
As I just said, you first responded to God’s love as a child-the day you gave your heart and life to Jesus. And now, as you begin your ministry as a pastor it is essential that you continue to develop and deepen your love relationship with our Lord. Make an appointment to be with God at the start of every day and keep it. Use that time to talk to Him and listen to His voice.
Here me on this Pastors, you must do this because you cannot be a successful pastor on your own. In fact, is impossible to do so. The decisions you must make; the problems people will bring to you asking your counsel; the sermons you must prepare; none of these things can be done with mere human resources.In being called to the pastorate you have truly been given a God-sized task, one that will REQUIRE supernatural strength and wisdom.
So I charge you to Love GOD. As the Bible says: “Draw near to Him…” because if you do you will find that He will indeed, “…draw near to you.” I can tell you that in my own limited experience, I have learned that God does just that. He has never let me down when I asked for His strength and guidance and presence no matter what Pastoral crisis I have faced.
So, deepen your love relationship with God…spend time alone with Him each and every day. Your ministry must be an outgrowth of your walk with God so on this important day commit to lead your people from your knees.
2. Secondly, I charge you to love HIS WORD.
Psalm 119:97-105 says, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers for I meditate on Your statues. I have more understanding than the elders for I obey Your precepts. I have not departed from Your laws for [in them] You Yourself have taught me. How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth. I gain understanding from Your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Pastors as you study the Bible, like the Psalmist, you will gain insight and wisdom and guidance that you will need to be a good pastors: insight and wisdom and guidance that your people will also need if they are to do all God calls them to do as a local church. So, as Paul told Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the WORD OF TRUTH.”
You told us yesterday at our meeting that you love to teach, and that is wonderful because, as a Pastor you will have the responsibility to do just that as you preach and teach every single week. Well this is your textbook! This is God’s unchanging Word of truth, and people need to hear it, especially in these days when truth becomes ever more relative. So Pastors, I charge you to love this book; this book that is different from any other book because it is the written Word of God. Take seriously the messages you deliver each week and BATHE them in Scripture. Feed your people and feed them well.
When I was in the Bible school, my professor taught me that preparing each Sunday sermon is one of the most important things you do as a pastor. And he was right because it is your greatest opportunity to feed the most people. Infact, the sermon is the only spiritual nourishment many of them receive. So as Paul told another young pastor named Timothy,
“I give you this charge; Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct,rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:2-3)
Love GOD; love HIS WORD…
3. Finally Pastors, I charge you to love HIS PEOPLE.
I would remind you that this is the commission that our Risen Lord gave Peter on the beach that morning when He repeatedly said, “take care of my sheep.” Over the years, members of your flock will come to you for help in lonely times and desperate times and when they do, what they will need the most from you is unconditional love. As a pastor you will also have UNIQUE opportunities; opportunities no one else has to love and care for people. In my opinion this is one of the most wonderful aspects of this job because pastors are able to show their love by walking with people through the BEST times of life. I mean, you’ll stand with them at the marriage altar; you’ll come to the hospital to welcome their babies into the world. When they grow old enough you’ll tell their children how to become Christians and then you’ll stand with them in the baptismal pool.
You’ll also care for people in times of CRISIS; you’ll stand at their hospital bedside when they are sick and finally at their graves. In fact, sometimes you’ll do many of these things in the same day. I can think of several days when I have visited in the maternity ward at a hospital and held a new born in the morning, visited another person that afternoon following surgery, and then that same evening gone to a viewing in a local funeral home.
So Pastors, God is literally calling you to care for people all of their lives from beginning to end. And I know of no other job that gives you opportunities like this; to stand where no one else stands; to get close to people; and be an integral part of the pivotal times of their lives. In fact, some of your best “sermons” will be “delivered” in times like this as they see you obey Jesus’ command to care for His sheep. And this is the third part of my charge to you as newly Ordained Pastors into Ministry. “LOVE people and care for them”.
In closing I want to read 1 Peter 5:2-4 where it says to all pastors, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care serving as overseers not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”
And now I would ask you, the members of this church. Do you acknowledge and affirm these newly ordained Pastors calling as your pastors/shepherds and will you pray for them and wives in their ministry. If so, will you signify your assent by standing?
LAYING ON OF HANDS
I would ask that deacons and ordained clergy come forward and in unison. Crowd, around and lay hands on these pastors, and that we all would join hands in prayer. Let us all take a few moments to pray for these pastors and their wives now and then in a few moments I will close with prayer.
Our heavenly Father God,
In Your Word it says that You set apart some people for this task of being a pastor. We thank You for this privilege we have today to see this happening in our church, this special opportunity we have to affirm this calling in these pastors life. It is so clear to us all that You have gifted them for this purpose. We eagerly anticipate all the ways You will use them to further Your kingdom. I ask now Father that You would be with them in all the years to come. Give them the wisdom they will need…the patience they will need…..the love they will need to serve as a pastors. I pray all these things in Jesus’ name.
Ordination Sermon. 2016
At Victory Evangelistic Church International, Kpessi Village, Togo.
By Rev Ed Arcton.