It could be argued that Paul was the first bivocational minister. We know from a few accounts that he worked on the side as a tent maker (Acts 18:3; 20:34). Other times he received gifts from one church to support him while planting another (2 Cor 11:8-9). Note however that he never had to! In 1 Corinthians 9 he lays down the theological basis for paying pastors and states that as an apostle he had every right to be paid. However, he chose to lay that right aside for the sake of the churches. Continue reading Paul: A Model for Bivocational Pastors
For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
Just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
Paul knew Who his Master was. He opens his letter to the Galatians by saying he was sent out “through Jesus Christ and God the Father” (Gal. 1:1). Paul elsewhere labels his calling a “steward of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1), and “an ambassador for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20). Here in Galatians the term is bond-servant, or better, a slave. This signifies how he belonged to Christ and was under the authority of Christ. Thus, when he preached, he was going to preach how and what his Master told him to preach. Continue reading Does Our Preaching Please God, or Men?
Since very early on in my Christian walk I’ve been serving in various ways at various churches, studying the Bible and theology like crazy, and trying to find a seminary that fits both my budget and lifestyle. This is because I hope one day to go into a pastoral ministry role full time. Why do I want to do that? Certainly not because it’s fun or pays well. No, I want to be a pastor because I feel that God is calling me to full time ministry. Continue reading The Call to the Ministry: Some Help From Michael Bennett
In our Church culture we tend to delay baptism for far too long. I personally was baptized 5 months after my conversion. I have seen as long as a few years after one getting saved that they are finally baptized. Churches have a tendency to hold “Baptism Classes” for believers new and seasoned. Those classes, spanning a few week period, go over the doctrine of baptism in order to assure the baptizees know why they are going through with it. After completing this long course, the believers then set a baptism date a few Sundays away. I have seen discipleship material, which is otherwise excellent, with weekly lessons about the basics of the faith, and the last chapter is on baptism. At the end of the chapter is a section to set a date for your baptism. I remember regarding one Bible College (a Baptist one!) that, within their Statement of Faith, under “Baptism” it stated that one should wait until they show fruit, just to make sure their conversion is genuine.
May I say boldly that this is not the way it is supposed to be. In the New Testament baptism was performed immediately after one was saved. There was no probation period. There was no “Bi-Monthly Baptism Service”. The natural bend was not to doubt one’s conversion until they show enough fruit to prove they are genuinely saved. Rather, it is a mandate that all who are saved be baptized. Let us survey the book of Acts and see what the practice of the apostles was. Let us glean all we can from these accounts, and revolutionize the way our churches go about obeying this command. Continue reading When Should a New Christian Be Baptized?