Category Archives: Perils of Shepherds

Driving Miss Message

Imagine how you would describe the job of a race car driver.  Would you say “Drive Fast” or perhaps “Drive faster than everyone else.”  Simple, to the point, accurate.  Also a bit incomplete.

Imagine our new hire following his job description on I-95.  He would be a menace to all around him and not accomplishing what he was supposed to.  Yet he did drive fast; faster than everyone else.

The problem was that driving fast is not the point of a race car driver.  The point is to win the race.  Driving fast is a method, not a goal.  The goal is to win on the track.  Driving fast is just a description of how to best fulfill that mission.

Without a clear view of that mission, the instruction to Drive Fast could result in failure.

Now consider this key verse for pastors.

 “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. ”
(2 Timothy 4:2)

This is an important instruction from Paul to Timothy.  Paul even warns a few verses later that the day will come when many won’t want sound doctrine, preferring to have their ears tickled.

So how does this relate to my race car driver?

The job of a pastor according to Scripture is to equip the saints for service.

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
(Ephesians 4:11-12)

This is the only time in the New Testament where the word Pastor is used.  The job here is clear, to equip the saints for the work of service.

I fear that sometimes pastors are driving fast, but they are not trying to win a race, they are merely barrelling down I-95, scattering people left and right.  They are preaching the Word.  They are ready in season & out of season.  They are rebuking and exhorting their hearts out.  They go home feeling good that they “drove really fast today.”

But did they win anything?   Sometimes our hearers are deeply educated but lightly equipped.  They will win at Bible Trivia and pass the theology test, but haven’t made a Disciple in years.  They can recite the four spiritual laws but are still not mature leaders who are training other leaders.  They have been in church for years, learning, but producing no disciples, and haven’t even brought a friend to church in recent memory.

Preaching the Word for a pastor is like Driving Fast for a race car driver.  Both are essential and neither is the point.  The point, the goal, for the pastor, as well as every Christian is Make Disciples.  Not merely educated believers, but equipped-for-service believers.

Without a clear view of that mission, the instruction to Preach the Word could result in failure.

It is beautiful when we put aside our pride at being “Preachers of the Word” and pour ourselves into the race that has been set before us:  to equip the members of the Body for their service.  To see them not only become Disciples, but to become Disciple makers.  Some of them even becoming Pastors & Teachers.  Oh, the joy of that winner’s circle.  Paul looked at Timothy and saw the wreath he had won.   He had preached the Word, but in a way that achieved the goal.  He had finished the race.