Personal Challenges for 21st-Century Pastors -- By: Leith Anderson

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 151:603 (Jul 1994)
Article: Personal Challenges for 21st-Century Pastors
Author: Leith Anderson

Personal Challenges for 21st-Century Pastors*

Leith Anderson

[Leith Anderson is Senior Pastor, Wooddale Church, Eden Prairie, Minnesota.]

[This is article three in the four-part series, “Christian Ministry in the 21st Century,” delivered by the author as the W. H. Griffith Thomas Lectures at Dallas Theological Seminary, February 2–5, 1993.]

Pastoral ministry has never been easy. Paul told Timothy to “suffer hardship with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 2:3). Paul’s two letters to Timothy show why it was so difficult. Teachers of false doctrine were in the church (1 Tim 1:3), and Timothy’s ministry related not only to godly Christians but also to people who were lawless, rebellious, ungodly, sinners, unholy, profane, murderers, kidnappers, and liars (1:9–10), just to name a few characteristics.

Paul expected Timothy to measure up to the message and ministry of the great apostle himself (1:18–20; 2 Tim 2:1–2), to direct the worship of the church and make sure men and women behaved as prescribed (2:8–15), and to recruit overseers and deacons and their wives who met specified standards (1 Tim 3). And Paul encouraged Timothy to value staying in shape physically but especially to attend to godliness (4:7–8).

Also Paul instructed Timothy not to be discouraged by older Christians who might look down on him because of his youth. He was to live an exemplary life, read the Bible in public, preach and teach, and exercise his spiritual gifts, knowing that Paul would check with him to see how he was doing (4:12–14). Timothy was exhorted not to be harsh toward older men and to maintain purity in his relationships with younger women (5:1–2).

Timothy was to supervise the ministry of widows including regularly monitoring the approved widow list, finances, and responsibilities, being sure elders were properly honored. He was also to adjudicate accusations against elders and manage the timing of laying on of hands (1 Tim 5).

Since evangelism was needed, Timothy was to be involved in it even if he did not have the gift of evangelism. He was responsible to “be sober in all things, endure ...

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