As a pastor, I am constantly faced with deciding between what is urgent and what is important. Too often, they are not the same. So what guides me in making daily decisions? How do I plan out my week to ensure I am not sacrificing the most important tasks for the urgent ones?
The key is through establishing priorities. Below, I have listed the three pastoral priorities that I am committed to in order to combat the tyranny of the urgent.
2 Timothy 4:2 – "preach the word…"
Preaching is the number one responsibility of every pastor. Every other pastoral duty should come second to this great task. There is no building of God’s people apart from the proclamation of God’s Word. To sacrifice this responsibly for others is a grievous error that has severe spiritual consequences.
When Martin Luther was asked how he sparked a reformation in the church this was his response: “I simply taught, preached, wrote God's Word: otherwise I did nothing…the Word did it all.” This was just as much true in the sixteenth century as it is in the twenty-first. My number one priority is to preach God’s Word.
Psalm 127:1 – "Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain…"
It is foolish to think that a church can flourish and prosper apart from prayer. Every pastor knows this, but too often we function as if it were not true. We profess, “If God does not build his church our labor is in vain”, but we spend too little time on our knees asking him to work in us and through us. Too often we succumb to the temptation presented by Satan and our flesh to believe that we can succeed in ministry by our own power and effort.
As a pastor, I cannot become so busy that there is little to no time for prayer. As the apostles in Acts 6:4 stated, “…we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
Preparing Young Men for Ministry
2 Timothy 2:2 – "…entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also"
The biblical mandate for pastors is to multiply their ministry by investing in the next generation of leaders. This was evidenced in Jesus’ life as well as his apostles. Pouring yourself into a group of young men is a scriptural precedent.
As a pastor, I have the burden and responsibility to train young men to faithfully serve the Lord, his church, and proclaim the gospel. Allowing other tasks to interfere with this essential commission is to drop the baton when it comes to faithful pastoral ministry.