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On the Ordination Service of David Field

Monday, April 07, 2008

On Sunday night, March 30, I had the great privilege of being able to take part in the Ordination Service of Pastor Dave Field at Hardingville Bible Church in Monroeville, New Jersey. Dave is a great guy and I greatly appreciate his asking me to take part in this significant milestone in his life. I look forward to continuing to watch and rejoice as Dave walks and serves God - along with his wife Dawn and the rest of the family.

My part of the service included giving the "Charge to the Candidate", which is designed to be a challenge to the one being ordained concerning life and ministry. In preparation for this, I re-read the books of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus, especially noting the commands regarding life and ministry that the Apostle Paul gave to these two young ministerial men. It was a good reminder of the types of things that ought to be our higher concerns in the realms of life and ministry and it was a challenge to me as I re-read these familiar passages.

Trying to narrow down the charges that Paul gave to Timothy and Titus into something that could be preached in 15-17 minutes is a bit of a task. There are around 50 different charges that Paul gives in these few short books. Some of them are repeated in the different books, some of them are unique to the situations, and some of them are unique to the addressee, but overall there is much in them that should apply to all of us who stand behind the sacred desk.

As I sought to narrow it down, I went with a little thematic view, taking a separate passage for each main point. My main points were all taken from common passages from the Prison Epistles and each is deserving of their own sermon. (Which may explain why I accidentally went over my allotted time by about 10 minutes - oops!)

I. Be a Pattern in Your Character (1 Timothy 4:12-16)

While the 1 Timothy 4 passage expresses this specifically, the same idea is included multiple times within these three books, both in specific charges to Timothy and Titus or in the concern for character expressed in the requirements for office that are listed.

As Pastors, we must be concerned that our character serves as a pattern to other believers. It is not enough to be able to stand up and give a "preaching performance." It is not enough to be able to "do" things. God is more concerned with our person than our performance. Repeatedly Paul focuses on what these men in leadership are like in their character.

II. Be Purposeful in Your Charge (2 Timothy 2:1-7)

Men in ministry have been given a special task - the edifying of the saints for the work of the ministry, the holding forth of the Word of Truth, the training of others who will, in turn, train others, the proclamation of God's Word.

If we are going to accomplish these tasks, we must be purposeful about it. We must be purposeful in our responsibilities, not allowing ourselves to be caught up in a lot of wasteful activities. As a soldier endures and a runner strives and a farmer labors, so must the man of God endure and strive and labor in the task that God has given us.

III. Be a Preacher who Continues (2 Timothy 4:1-8)

We are to proclaim as a herald the message of the Word. We are to be instant and ready whatever the circumstances may be. We are to carefully take the Word of God and use it to reprove, rebuke and exhort, being careful that the manner in which we do so is with all longsuffering and doctrine.

As Paul continued in this task until the end - so much so that he could confidently rest in the fact that he had fought a good fight and finished his course, so must the man of God continue in the task of faithfully preaching the Word of God no matter the circumstances.

If you are a Pastor reading this, may I encourage you to take a thoughtful re-reading of the Pastorals some time in the near future. It will do your heart good.

Just my thoughts,


P.S. In an earlier post I wrote regarding the Ordination Council and the process of preparation that Dave went through in regards to his preparation for that Ordination Council. (You can read that post here .)