Doriani, Daniel M. Putting the Truth to Work: The Theory and Practice of Biblical Application. Phillipsburg: P & R Publishing Company, 2001.
The writer of the above mentioned book places emphasis on the life of the preacher who delivers the message to the contemporary audience and how the truth preached from the scriptural text should be practiced exemplarily by the deliverer of the message followed by the audience preached to. The book places and capitalizes practical preaching and practical living. The truth must be put to work through living it on the daily basis by the preacher; or else, the preaching will have no positive dramatic effect on the audience who listens to the message. Every message preached from the pulpit should be applied practically in order for the audience ministered to, to have a change lifestyle. Throughout the book, the message of holiness, dedication, and commitment are emphasized. Every topic in the book directly or indirectly addresses such issue with reference to the above mention topics. He writes in the following paragraph,
Can we expect the Bible to supply answers to question about telephones, emotions, and such? The Bible is not an answer book where we look up answers to life riddles. The teaching ministry of the church should focus on God’s salvation and kingdom, not our emotions. Few applications include be holy, be faithful, and be committed. These things are repeated by pastors on the pulpit and its repetition becomes boring.
The command to be holy in Biblical application is essential in the Christian life. It is an exalted state of an individual worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness. The effectiveness of the preacher to make impact to the contemporary audience with reference to the cognitive, emotional, psychological and spiritual dimensions depends on the preacher’s relationship with God who gives the anointing of empowerment and teaching. Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness (Romans 1:4). My effectiveness to make impact to the lives of the congregation I minister to is tied to my relationship with God. My standing relationship with God in the positive direction is tied to how I relate to God when it comes to total obedience. I am commanded in scripture to live holy life because without holiness no one can have fellowship with God. My refusal to submit to God’s holiness to be like him disables me to preach to the congregation to make impact. Holiness is demanded in scripture; therefore, I must be holy in all things to enable me communicate the message of God with conviction and power manifestation (deliverance, healing, and salvation). Divine for the Lord our God is holy (Psalms 99:9 KJV).
To be faithful or committed is the act of being loyal, constant, steadfast, resolute, and firm adherence to whatever one owes allegiance to. It implies unswerving adherence to a person for thing or to the oath promised by which a tie was contracted. Christians are stewards of God; therefore, Christians are charged with the responsibility to be faithful or committed in everything. Lack of being faithful or committed disables me to be loyal to God; therefore, my disloyalty before God renders me powerless or ineffective to preach God’s word to the congregation. This is hypocrisy and it is dangerous state a minister takes in ministry. Being unfaithful or uncommitted to God is a spiritual suicide because the unfaithful or uncommitted minister exposes himself or herself to dangerous situation. Ministry is life and death. It will be impossible for me to deal drastically with the kingdom of darkness if I live the life of unfaithfulness before God. Holiness is far from the individual who is unfaithful. Unfaithful individual continually lives in disobedience.
TOPICS TO EXPLORE FURTHER
Sermons without enough or clear illustration do no good to listener, but create confusion for the audience. It is debatable that in the absence of illustrations, the Holy Spirit convicts and gives understanding to the sinner with reference to the message being preached; therefore, capitalizing on illustrations as the only gateway for people to understand the message is too general because of the Holy Spirit convicting power and individual differences with respect to spiritual and cognitive levels of receptiveness.
The Bible is not an answer book where we look up answers to life riddles. This is not totally true; though, the Bible may not give an objective answer to every life riddles; however, the Bible is the means that answer is given with reference to the human’s condition. Jesus used the scripture to give answer to every life question raised during his days. This statement is too general and need further research since a riddle is a question devised to get unexpected or clever answer usually often having veiled or double meanings. Scripture should have answer to life question; notwithstanding, it depends on the theological or Biblical knowledge of the individual whom the life riddle question is given to answer that has spiritual implications.
One of the views of the theories of interpretations and application, called counterproposal theory states that the meaning of the particular scriptural passage is the application which implies that exegesis is equal to application. Since exegesis is the critical explanation of the scriptural passages taking into account the historical cultural context, literary, geographic, grammar, and languages, the meaning of scriptural passages literally does not change; however, application varied based on dispensations and time period; therefore, it is too general to say that exegesis is equal to application taking into account cultural, historical, and geographical context of people who lived before this generation.
Chapel, Bryan. Using Illustrations to Preach with Power. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2001.
The argument that preacher must pander to congregational deficiencies by illustrating reinforces the notion that illustrations are a necessary evil in preaching. Such a rational may keep the books, card files, and website catalogues of homiletical illustrations selling, but it will further convince conscientious pastors that illustrations are the charms of lower-case preachers.
The above quotation is indicative of how human measures others’ ability or approach to the preaching ministry. Whether illustration reinforces congregational deficiencies which might be tend as necessary evil envisioned by conscientious pastors that illustration are charms of lower-case preacher, God is not interested of how well we craft our messages, but he is interested of whether what a preacher preaches is making impact or changing lives. It does not also divorce the fact that preacher should not study, but reinforces and reminds preacher that it is necessary to do complete exegesis of scriptural passages read and to carefully and craftily create or adopt illustration that gives sound understanding to the audience taking into consideration the cultural, social, language, education, and the biblical or theological background of the congregation. This means, to exegete these mentioned dimensions of the contemporary audience; it requires a preacher to pray and to listen to the Holy Spirit. Despite of the theological or biblical background of the preacher, the preacher should enter the school of the Spirit to enable him or her makes impact to the audience preached to in term of life changed. Divorcing the Spirit’s involvement in the preaching ministry, but placing methodologies and educational background of the preacher or how the preacher is knowledgeable in hermeneutical-homiletical presentation advocates the religion of intellectualism. The religion of intellectualism is an enemy to God’s anointing which is tantamount to destroying the anointing on the life of the preacher.
Going through this book, I learned that while enrolling into the school of the Holy Spirit to enable me craft careful and powerful illustrations, it is clear that illustration pins mental pictures of the message; therefore, it reminds me to adopt illustration in messages; though, I have neglected it over the years or may have unconsciously included illustrations into previous messages without recognizing that such analogies tended to illustrate the understanding of the message to the contemporary audience. Not only does illustration pin mental pictures of the message, but it also presents practical image of the sermon; therefore, it recommends that illustration is necessary to pinpoint the image of the sermon preached to the contemporary audience. Does every sermon preached in the church contemporary setting needs illustration? I am of the opinion that no every sermon preached should be illustrated because some sermons can indirectly illustrate based on the nature of the sermon and how the sermon is presented. Sermon which tells a story or narrative sermon might not need illustrations or analogies. When crafting sermon, it is necessary to listen to the Holy Spirit for direction because depending on the preacher’s educational and theological background can mislead the preacher to become self-centered and therefore refusing to listen to the Holy Spirit. In this case, the birth of intellectualism, which kills the anointing, is imminent.
Not only does illustration presents the practical image of the sermon, but also it makes the message memorable; however, divorcing the Holy Spirit as the person who makes people remember the message and placing illustration as the tool to make people remember the message is questionable and misleading. When the preacher capitalizes on illustration as the tool to make people remember the message and divorcing the Holy Spirit, it is theologically and biblically wrong according to scripture. Understanding the above factors concerning illustration guides and directs as the pastor or preaching in the ministry which God has called me.
TOPICS TO EXPLORE FURTHER
Illustration pins mental picture of the message needs further exploration because it is the Holy Spirit who gives mental picture of messages preached to the audience.
Illustration makes the message memorable needs further exploration because it is the Holy Spirit who reminds people of what is being preached instead of illustration. I have asked some many people who attend churches to tell me the message preached. Their answer is “I don’t know.”
Illustration cannot be the finality to make people understand the message because putting or capitalizing illustration as the road map to enable the audience to understand the message puts intellectualism ahead of the Holy Spirit making human as the agent of change mechanism; nevertheless, it depends on the motive of the preacher. The word of God is being preached into places where people or preachers are not hermeneutically or homiletically prepared; however, people understand the message, get saved, and the fruit of the Spirit is seen in the Christian life.
Hughes, Jack. Expository Preaching with Word Pictures ‘with Illustrations from the Sermons of Thomas Watson. Scotland: Christian Focus Publications Geanies House, 2001.
Many churches are moving away from exposition preaching. The sermon hours are absorbed by music, drama, and other forms of entertainment. Satan knows that Biblical exposition guides the church; therefore, he uses strategies to keep the church from hearing God’s word.
We live in the era, where churches are infused with programs; therefore, the issues of soul saving and soul growing spiritually have not caught the attention of pastors in this generation. Naturally, human by nature hates spiritual things when it comes to God; on the other hand, people who go to church, might have gone to church on someone’s invitation without knowing Christ as Lord and Savior. Churches are full with unsaved people that are serving on spiritual departmental wings of the church, such as the Choir, Praise and Worship team, instrumentalists etc. Satan knows who belongs to him despite of people being involved in church matter. Once people who go to church are belong to him, he holds the position to influence their lives in some many ways. It is probable that people who are involved with music, drama, and other forms of entertainment are belong to him somehow; therefore, he uses them to prolong entertainment other than Biblical teaching and preaching.
Narratives in the Bible are word pictures. When we read a piece of story in the Bible, we should ask ourselves what God is telling us through this story. God, who is infinite, can only explain things to finite man through word pictures.
As stated above, the Bible is not a mere story as compared to other narratives in other fields of knowledge; therefore, it is advisable that we read the Bible with open mind because the Creator uses the Bible to explain complicated messages to finite man using word pictures in the form of stories. Such stories depict events unfolded in the past in theological and Biblical stories using characters to represent heavenly reality from earthly representation portrayed in narratives depicting word pictures. The narratives in the Bible were inspired and placed in the Bible to explain to human the intent of God, the plan of God, the morality of God, and the future plan of God toward his creations. Narratives in the Bible are stories of what happened in Biblical history and what is yet to happen in the future. They are stories of prophetic historical events and prophetic revelation events that are yet to happen. This is the reason God has placed in the Bible Genesis and Revelation. Any book in the Bible that narrates stories which has already happened is the Genesis category and any book in the Bible that narrates future prophetic event is the Revelation category. In this light, stories in the Bible portrayed Biblical characters that went wrong as opposed to the character of God and that did the right thing to please God. We can read, synthesize, analyze, and evaluate them to see which one that is relevant and applicable to our situation knowing that we were not the original recipient of these historical narratives; however, the narratives have been placed in the Bible for our admonition and advice so that we will not do the wrong things that the past people did and were punished gravitated by their situations. The narratives are word pictures of warnings, advice, recommendation, suggestion, and direct command from God. Narratives are the intents of God, the now plan of God, the morals of God, and the future plan of God. Understanding the narratives enables me to better understand the mind of God, interpret the scriptures in their setting, apply the scripture in our time based on the nature of the stories in their time, and enables me craftily, vividly, and expositionally deliver Biblical messages to the contemporary audience God has called me to lead. With reference to further topics to be explored, I see none because everything read is understandable and does not need further research.
Kuruvilla, Abraham. Privilege the Text! A Theological Hermeneutic for Preaching. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2013.
According to Mohler, one should preach the cross in every sermon, no matter what the text. “As Charles Spurgeon expressed this so eloquently, preach the word, place it in its canonical context, and make a bee-line to the cross.” It is often claimed that the pattern of apostolic preaching validates a Christocentric approach.”
Privilege the Text is the theological hermeneutics for preaching. It outlines important issues in the text such as general and special hermeneutics in chapter one of the textbook. Whether general or special hermeneutics; however, hermeneutics is the science of Biblical interpretation. Some will say that one needs to gain mastery of Biblical languages such as Hebrew or Greek in order to understand Biblical interpretation; nevertheless, one does not need to know Biblical languages to interpret the Bible, but one will need to know certain tools or methodologies in interpreting the Bible. Such tools or methodologies like historical, geographical, cultural, and literary contexts coupled with grammar need to be known to exegete the congregation and the text successfully. The quotation above advocating that a preacher should preach the cross in every sermon no matter what the text looks like requires understanding the exegetical approach of the text taking into consideration all the methodologies involved in Biblical interpretation. One should be able to craft scripture into sermon through the examination of the Biblical text. Preaching the cross in every sermon requires the careful study of the text leading to the creation of the historical, geographical, cultural, and literary contexts of the scriptural passages. It must be done skillfully and intellectually in order to craft text into sermon that does not relate to such subject of the cross message; however, the sermon depicting the preaching of the cross in every sermon from Genesis to Revelation. Preaching the word, placing it in its canonical context, and making a bee-line to the cross are made possible when rules governing hermeneutics and homiletics are carefully observed by the preacher. It can be done with hermeneutical, homiletical, and exegetical mindset of the preacher. It is true that application is the life and soul of the sermon because in the absence or isolation of the application eventually giving birth to disobedience in the life of the believer. The question of how does a believer apply scripture? Who is the source of strength to enable a believer apply scripture in his or her daily Christian living? Does it have anything to do with human involvement? Who is responsible to convict a sinner to repentance? I believe the propagation of the gospel for the salvation of souls requires human involvement; however, the preacher has nothing to offer when it comes to salving the individual. Man has the responsibility to preach the word and the Holy Spirit has the responsibility to convict and to save the sinners. Does the preacher interfere with the works of the Holy Spirit when the preacher explains or indicates how the audience could apply scripture? Is it not the Holy Spirit who informs, convicts, and shows a sinner to apply scripture in his or her life? I am of the opinion that teaching the congregations how to apply sermon to their lives is the direct interference with the works of the Holy Spirit. Preacher should preach the word and allow the Holy Spirit to inform, to remind, and to make the congregations apply the sermon to their lives based on individuals’ situations. Application is the life and soul of a sermon; whereby these sacred truths are brought home to man to a man’s particular conscience and occasions, and the affections engaged unto any truth or duty. In other words, application is the alignment to God’s people to God’s demand, the inhabitation of the world in front of the text by the adoption of that world’s precepts, priorities, and practices. The application or practice of scriptural truth is tied to these three mentioned (precepts, priorities, and practices). The understanding of general and special hermeneutics, the roles of the preacher, the roles of application, the roles of the Holy Spirit, and the essence of exegetical approach to scripture, inform and prepare me for active teaching and preaching ministries. I will eventually adopt them in my teaching and preaching ministries with reference to sermon preparation and delivery. With reference to topics to be explored further, I see none because every read is understood and does not need further research.
Overdorf, Daniel. How to Balance Biblical Integrity and Cultural Relevance. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2009.
“Effective preaching includes application that first allows the word of God to speak (which requires Biblical integrity) and second, allows the word of God to speak as explicitly and concretely today as it did originally (which requires contemporary relevance). Preachers often “fall off the wagon,” as William puts it, because our application lacks one or both of these elements.
The theme of this book is focused or centered on the above quotation. Effective preaching allows the word of God to speak with Biblical integrity. Numerous theological schools have been created or instituted in this generation; therefore, many religious settings such as the church desire to educate her pastors through these schools as to enforce learning. Many have taken courses in the subject area of homiletics and hermeneutics probably with the purpose to equally divide the word of truth; unfortunately, the practical application of scriptures tailored towards obedience is lacking in these church settings. This has consequently emerged and embodied as deficient Biblical integrity in the lives of ministers or pastors who preach to the contemporary church audience. The key to true homiletics and hermeneutics that affects people’s lives giving spiritual transformation is living what one has preached to the contemporary church audience. The minister who preaches the word of God must live the word by ethos to emotionally and passionately convince the people to live it. Living the word applies to all Biblical doctrines preached through the Bible. In 2009, I started a congregation in Charlotte after having had six months of evening prayer meeting at my house. Most of the people who attended the evening prayer meeting were members of different church groups in Charlotte. These people attended their churches in the morning hour and then came to the evening prayers. I did not have the plan to open church; however, members who attended their churches in the morning suggested that the prayer meeting time should be held in morning instead of the evening. I had a reservation that having church prayer meeting in the morning will prevent the people from going to their churches in the morning; therefore, I objected to their proposals. Despite of my objection, the meeting grew in membership to the extent that my house could no longer host the congregation. This led us to transition to a church building. Our transitioning from my house to a church building warranted us to have our meeting in the morning instead of the evening. At one time after church service, the treasurer for our meeting asked me a question with reference to if it is obligatory for pastors to pay tithes. My answer to her was “Yes.” She asked me this question because the church she formerly attended, the pastor does not pay tithes; thought, he preaches or teaches on tithing and condemns congregational members who have refused to pay tithes. The member who asked me the question was concerned because she sees me paying tithes on the monthly basis. Biblical integrity is made possible when preachers live what they preach. How does a preach apply the scripture? Application should be practical through lifestyle. This is how preacher balances Biblical integrity with cultural relevance in any setting they happen to live while doing ministry.
The second way of balancing Biblical integrity with cultural relevance is allowing the word to speak as it has done before when a preacher preached it. The meaning or interpretation of scriptures does not change; however, scriptural application will change based on dispensations and covenants. For example, in the Old Testament time, animal’s blood was offered to God in order to atone for sin committed; on the contrary, Jesus’ blood has been offered to atone for sin in the New Testament time. It is obvious or true that blood is used for sin atonement; however, animal’s blood is not used in the New Testament time to atone for sin; therefore, it cannot be used for sin atonement as the result of dispensations and covenants. The situation has the same meaning, but different applications with reference to dispensations and covenants.
The book focuses on application of sermon; however, effective sermon application depends on the methods of interpretation and delivery. Homiletical and practical applications of scriptures are dependent on the methods of homiletics and hermeneutics.
The message presented in this textbook indicates that true preaching is tied to true living the word of God in total obedience; therefore, I will practice obediently what I preach or teach the congregation God has assigned me to. This is will done by studying the word of God, fasting and praying, and surrendering myself to God.
TOPICS TO EXPLORE FURTHER
Applying scripture has no weigh when a preacher lists items for the audience to follow in applying the scripture because great application is lived out in the smaller details of life. Application should be practical life experience when it comes to obeying the word of God and not theoretical application.
The thought that listeners need help from the preacher now to apply sermon in their lives need further explanation because sermon becomes too human when the Holy Spirit is left out who should help listeners apply the sermon in their lives as they yield to the Holy Spirit in their daily walk with God. I am not divorcing the preacher’s input; however, looking at the preacher as the helper to make the congregation apply the sermon is the direct act of denying the works of the Holy Spirit thereby placing the preacher as the change mechanism or agent of change.
I do not believe or support that the preacher should call the congregation to apply the sermon because sermon application should be left with the Holy Spirit. Unless the Holy Spirit convicts the sinners, there will be no application of sermon. Application of the sermon is equivalent to life change; therefore, the Holy Spirit should call the congregation to apply the sermon because he is the agent of change.
Capill, Murray. The Heart is the Target: Preaching Practical Application from Every Text. Phillipsburg: P & R Publishing, 2014.
“It is possible to live a full life and yet have the reservoir remain almost empty. It is also possible to preach week after week with empty reservoir, and the result is that people experience drought conditions from the pulpit.”
The above quotation vividly points out that preaching is a spiritual service that cannot be humanized; unfortunately, we live in the era that due to the proliferations of seminaries and the increase in knowledge, the religion of intellectualism has overshadowed the preaching ministry; as he result, the Holy Spirit has been kicked out of churches and the ministries. The study of Biblical languages to help ministers understand scriptures and exegetical methodologies adopted in hermeneutics and homiletics are barriers to the move of the Holy Spirit in the teaching and preaching ministries. Some ministers live luxuriously in the physical with reference to materials and financial gains; unfortunately, they are dry spiritually. What can such ministers offer the church spiritually? Despite of their numerous preaching in the church, the congregations experience spiritual dryness.
“Effective expository preaching takes place when Biblical faithfulness and insightful application are inextricably bound together. One is neither substituted for, nor overshadowed by the other.”
The quotation completes the primary quotation stated above with reference to the drought condition of the congregations despite of the minister’s numerous preaching and educational or theological degrees. The religion that undermines such effort is the religion of intellectualism that employs humanism in the preaching ministry. Effective expository preaching takes place when the preacher lives what he or she preaches from the pulpit. Biblical faithfulness or application that comes from the Holy Spirit changes lives. The religion that undermines Biblical faithfulness is the religion of selfism (the inability to submit to the rule of God or adhere to any religious discipline). In order for the minister of God to affect the pathos of the congregations emotionally, his ethos (morality) must be in place or in alignment with God agreed characters by practical examples through living what he or she preaches. Testimonial preaching by example is what changes people’s lives.
“All the preacher has read, learned, thought about, observed, suffered, processed, and experienced has the potential to form a rich reservoir out of which must powerful preaching and penetrating application can flow. I say it has the potential to do so. It is not automatic.”
The first and second quotations depict the religions of intellectualism and selfism respectively; on the other hand, the third quotation depicts the religion of Christocentrism. Christocentrism is the relationship between the believer and Christ which indicates the tendency for the minister of God to allow himself or herself to live for Christ. A preacher is advised to avoid the former religions and becomes Christocentric in his or her daily Christian living and preaching ministry in order to be effective in the delivery of messages to the contemporary audience or congregation to make impart. The insights discussed in this text inform and reminds me that humility is the key to be used by God in the teaching and preaching ministries. Understanding this prepares me to be sensitive to guide against pride in the ministry. Wither reference to topics to explore, every read from the textbook does not need further exploration or research.
Robison, Haddon & Larson, Craig Brian. The Art & Craft of Biblical Preaching: A Comprehensive Resource for Today’s Communicators. Grand Rapids: Christianity Today International, 2005.
A little girl riding on a bus was overhead asking, “Daddy, where will we be when we get to where we are going?” That question ought to be asked by preachers and congregations regarding sermons. Where will we be when we arrive at the place the sermon is supposed to take s. Confusion over that question has ruined ore sermons than all other kinds of homiletic incompetence.
The above questions are important because they caution teachers or preachers of the Bible the goal of preaching. What comes to teachers or preachers’ minds when studying and preparing for teaching or preaching engagement? What is the motive of the teachers or pastors who regularly stand before the contemporary audience to teach or preach? The motive of the teacher or preacher should be dictated by the the lifestyle of the preacher or teacher in the community. If the preacher’s goal is clear concerning what he or she intends to preach through lifestyle, conviction, and clear exegesis of the scriptural passages coupled with the help of the Holy Spirit; then, the sermon should be able to take the contemporary audience to her destination. Preaching the word with hypocrisy is directly proportional to preaching without a reservoir; in this light, the congregations will eventually experience a drought condition in their lives. The preacher’s obedience to what he or she preaches from the scriptures, his or her conviction, and studiousness in dividing the world of truth will enable him or her to preach the word with clarity, conviction, and power and therefore takes the congregations to where God intends the congregations to be. The optimal goal of God concerning the church is salvation experience. Every God sent preacher should preach for the congregations to experience salvation through Christ. Sermons that are dry will only entertain the congregation because the preacher is preaching without a reservoir sustained by the power of the Holy Spirit. It tells preacher that this ministry’s impact or effectiveness does not depend on intellectual’s ability, but it depends on the Holy Spirit’s ability that indwells the preacher or the Bible teacher. The preacher or the teacher cannot get the congregation to their destinations (healing, salvation, and deliverance) without the Holy Spirit. Preachers or teachers who do not believe the Holy Spirit will only preach from intellectual’s abiity creating a drought condition for the congregations. There are churches in this generation that are not growing spiritually because the preacher and the congregations have rejected the Holy Spirit in words and deeds. It should not be a surprise that churches such as the Lutheran, the Episcopal, and the Presbyterian Church can accept homosexual marriages in their churches. This is a disgrace because they have rejected they have rejected the Spirit of grace. In 2010 at the Charlotte Christian College and Theological Seminary, a professor who attends the Presbyterian Church said, “ I am on the delegation from the Charlotte’s branch who will be going to New York to vote if homosexuality should be accepted in the Presbyterian Church.” I was dumb folded when I heard this statement from someone who attends the church. I said to myself while seated listening to her that such things should not be discussed neither voted upon in the church.
My goal as a preacher is to help the audience understands the meaning of the text, to help them interpret it, and to understand what the implication are for them. That is because the power of the sermon is rooted in the text. Second Timothy 3:16 -17 says the scriptures are inspired, they are God-breathed; they are useful for equipping the believer for every good work. We work so hard on our sermon that we sometimes forget the power of the message is the Word.
In the above quotation, the preacher has a very good goal concerning his sermon delivery; unfortunately, his ideology is infused with too much self or humanism. In the preceding paragraphs, key phrases in the quotation are discussed subsequently.
Helping The Audience Understand The Text
In one of the textbooks, I nomenclature a western religion called “Intellectualism.” The proliferation of religious schools such as the seminaries has helped educated seminarians in various religious studies disciplines. Some have taken specialized and concentrated studies in the areas of Counseling, Chaplaincy, Hermeneutics, and Homiletics, Apologetics, Theology, Biblical Studies, New Theology, Old Testament Theology etc. Pastors or Preachers have gone to schools and become highly educated to the extent that they have the answer to these specialized areas mentioned above. Instead of recognizing the Holy Spirit as the helper in understanding the scriptures, they have refused to do so. Helping the audience understand the scripture gives no reference to the Holy Spirit. Such assertion is influenced by intellectualism.
Helping The Audience Interpret The Text
Based on his education and knowledge in Hermeneutics, he will help the audience understand and interpret the the text. He also did not give reference to the Holy Spirit. His intellectual’s ability to know and to interpret the text has also led to the birth of selfism. This ideology is a humanistic religion that believes that one can know spiritual things without the help of the Holy Spirit as per my definition. Self is that god of this religion. It is marked by the spirit of pride. This spirit cannot listen to others and feels that he or she is superior to everyone. There are pastors, bishops, or prophets that carry such in ministry.
Helping The Audience Understands The Implication Of The Text
The implication of the text has to do with the application of the text in real life situation. The question is ask, “Does the preacher have the responsibility to indicate how scriptures should be applied? There are disagreements or opposing view whether the preacher should preach and allow the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of the congregations to apply the scriptures or the preacher should lay out steps in applying the scriptures based on the theme of the sermon. I am of the opinion that the preacher should preach and leave room for the Holy Spirit to help the congregations apply the scriptures. Helping the audience understand the application without recognizing that it is the Holy Spirit who helps the congregation to apply scriptures is motivated by the religions of intellectualism and selfism. I am not judging the writer provided he made these statements that are free from intellectual and selfish motives. These insights discussed in this textbook, will eventually guide and help me how I need to depend on the Holy Spirit to guide me in the preaching ministry. With reference to further topics to be explored, I see no topics of such challenging.
Spurgeon, Charles. An All-Round Ministry: Direction, Wisdom, and Encouragement for Preachers and Pastors. U.S.A: Banner of Truth, 1978.
STRENGTHS OF THE BOOK
The strengths of this book can be seen in the expressions of faith, individuality, strengths in weakness, and the evils in the world; however, the three are tied to faith. Walking in faith enables an individual to do the three; therefore, I will only talk about faith with reference to the strengths of the book.
The writer asks three questions with reference to the topic on faith. He writes, “First, we have faith in God. We believe “that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Faith is the great need that ministers need to be functional in the ministry that God has called them to according to Spurgeon. Indeed without faith, it is impossible to please God according to Hebrews 11:6. In this light, faith is God and God is faith. Walking in faith as believers or ministers of God is believing who God is in this life and the life to come. Refusing to walk in faith is refusing to follow God; in this light, failure is inevitable in the ministry God has called the ministers of God to. We live in the world that is full of challenges and running effective and functional ministry to do the exploit, demands walking in faith. He said that faith is our great need. God rewards those that diligently seed him. Our rewards come in various forms. They come in the form of God healing us, elevating us, and meeting our daily needs as we run effective and functional ministry. What does it mean to run an effective and functional ministry? Paul said, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life (2 Cor 3:6 KJV). Despite of our theological background with reference to intellectualism or being articulated theologically or biblically, the minister of God must depend on the Holy Spirit to run an effective and functional ministry. After we have given exegesis of scriptural passages, using Greek or Hebrew during exposition of biblical passages, what is the next thing that ministers are required to do? We are not only called to teach or to preach, but we are also called to minister. We cannot minister if the Holy Spirit is not with us. The Holy Spirit is the individual who uses us to preach, to teach, to deliver, to heal, and to bring messages to the congregations that God has called to. Your ministry is incomplete if you preach or teach, but you are unable to minister. If the Pastor preaches or teaches on healing, after the teaching or preaching, God should heal the congregation through the ministration of prayers offered by the Pastor. Faith discussed in this book is the strength of the book because nothing we will do well theologically if faith is absent.
ISSUES DISAGREED WITH AND WILL NEED TO RESEARCH
He writes, “Another great evil of the times is the insatiable craving for amusements. The men should have rest from labor, and that they should enjoy such amusements as refresh both body and mind, nobody wishes to deny. Within suitable bounds, recreation is necessary and profitable; but is never was business of the Christian Church to supply the world with amusements. Did Christ found His Church that it might offer to public tableaux vivants, and living waxworks?
In the above quotation, the author talks about resting from labor similar to amusement as he put it and on the other hand, he talks about recreation to be profitable; however, he gives the other side of the coin that it was never so with the early Christian church. Is he condemning recreational activities to be wrong in the 21st Century? I disagree with him on this matter.
APPLICATION TO MY MINISTRY
The things learned from this section will be implemented as follow:
- I will teach my congregation and pastors;
- I will organize pastoral conference to teach it;
- I will continue to read the book in order to refresh myself
Hull, Bill. The Disciple-Making Pastor: Leading Others on the Journey of Faith. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2007.
STRENGTHS OF THE BOOK
The Disciple-Making Pastor offers the inspiration and practical example to do so. Bill Hull reveals to pastors the obstacles they will encounter, what disciples really look like, the pastor’s role in producing them, and the practices that lead to positive change. He also offers a sex-step coaching process to help new disciples grow in commitment and obedience and practical ideas to integrate disciples making into the fabric of the church.
Hull writes, “As I will mention several times in this book, people cannot be formed in Christ in a climate that is dominated by a consumer mentality, Jesus calls us to come and improve our lives and enhance our personalities. In light of this, I have reserved two overarching observations for the introduction. They are not long, but I pray they will interest you in reading on. They include the following: (1) The church continues to try to reach the world without making disciples (2) Second, it is more important to be a disciple than to have a plan to make disciples.
The two statements made in the above quotation resonate how to reach the world for Christ and who is qualified to reach the world for Christ. The first statement will admit that in order to reach the world for Christ, we must make disciples. Making disciples for Christ involves going, teaching, and baptizing believers so they can become part of the church’s family. These methodologies are encapsulated in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18–20).
The second level of disciple-making is to become a disciple. The disciple is an individual who obeys his master or teacher; therefore, a disciple is a follower. We cannot reach the world for Christ if we are not disciples. Disobedience in the kingdom of renders potential disciples powerless to reach the world for Christ. We must possess spiritual powers (anointing) to reach the world for Christ (Romans 1:4).
ISSUES DISAGREED WITH AND WILL NEED TO RESEARCH
After having gone through this book, I did not find anything that I disagree and will needed further research.
APPLICATION TO MY MINISTRY
This book talks about the disciple making and lays out the framework how disciples are made. Applying this teaching into the ministry that God has called me to, requires me to first recognize that I need to be disciple before I can make disciples; in this light, the requirements of being a disciple such as holy living and total obedience should be the slogan of my Christian life. Secondly, I will conduct teaching on evangelism and church planting will have schedule for church members for evangelism. I will write paper on the methodologies involved in evangelism.
Hiestand, Gerald, & Wilson, Todd. The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015.
STRENGTHS OF THE BOOK
The ministry of the pastorate called the pastoral ministry is often dedicated by an emphasis on goals that are not vibrant or short-sighted pragmatic and narrow reasoning. Unfortunately, those in the school tend to have the opposite problem, and are unable to connect to the theological study to solve the pressing issues facing the church today.
They write, “Over time, an unhealthy division of labor ensued, in which academics have come to be viewed as theologians and pastors have come to be viewed as practitioners. This division of labor, though well-intended, masks the inevitable reality that pastors are, whether they like it or not, the theological leaders of the church; the theological integrity of the church will never rise above its pastors, no matter how astute the local university’s religion department. And insofar as pastors have largely lost their ability to provide theological leadership, and indeed no longer see doing so as part of their vocation, the theological integrity of our congregations has suffered considerably. But most significantly, as an inevitable consequence, with the collapse of theological integrity in our churches, a corresponding erosion of ethical integrity has followed.”
As quoted in the above passage, the theological integrity of the church can never rise above the pastor of the local church assembly; in this light, being a pastor is not determined by academics; indeed, pastors are theologians and not practitioners only in their field of pastorate. It calls attention to pastors to go to school because the theological integrity can never rise above them. Pastors should answer questions with reference to theological controversies in the body of Christ. It forms parts the pastor’s job descriptions. He is not only call to teach or to preach, but he is called to answer questions that come from the religious community concerning doctrinal issues. By virtue of their call, pastors are theologians.
ISSUES DISAGREED WITH AND WILL NEED TO RESEARCH
This book contains wealth of information and after having gone through the book, I did not see anything that I disagree with.
APPLICATION TO MY MINISTRY
Since the theological integrity of the church cannot rise above the pastor of the local church, it reminds and motivates me that I must spend time in scriptures to enable me answers questions that relate to doctrinal issues affecting the body of Christ. Responding to controversial theological issues with sound doctrinal and giving true answer to the problem gives awareness to the body of Christ to come to solution concerning theological issues that require answer. One of the ways of doing this is to organize conferences and biblical teaching carried out in order to bring awareness to the body of Christ on doctrinal issues concerning the body of Christ. Such topics could include hell, heaven, holiness, eschatology etc.
Yost, Robert A. Leadership Secrets from the Proverbs: An Examination of Leadership Principles from the Book of Proverbs. Eugene: An Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2013.
STRENGTHS OF THE BOOK
The book of Proverbs is a wisdom book that gives wise advice to those who read and apply it in their daily walks with God. As Dr. Yost explores this book in correlation to leadership principles and in connection to relationships, roles, priorities, and planning, he conveys, and proves that the secrets of a leader becoming successful in his leadership endeavor is the ability to connect to the divine relationally, his openness to discern his roles in leadership, the tendency to prioritize, to plan, and the wise use of the tongues. The secrets of the good leadership characterized by success are tied to these principles called leadership secrets according to Dr. Yost.
Yost writes, Oswald Chambers, in his devotional classic my Utmost for his highest, writes, “Your priorities must be God first, God second, and God third, until your life is continually face to face with God and one else is taken into account whatsoever.” A Christian leader’s relationship to God is the primary and most important priority in his life. If he fails to recognize this fundamental truth, his ministry will be fruitless and a shame.
Dr. Yost unpacked the realities or the secrets of becoming a good Christian leader. In his book, he named three categories of secrets; however, in this assignment, I have chosen the first category mentioned in the above quotation. He said in the above quotation that, “Your priorities must be God first, God second, and God third.” To become a good and successful leader, a Christian leader must have genuine relationship with God. Disobedience to God in holy living exhibited by the Christian leader destroys the relationship between God and the leader.
ISSUES DISAGREED WITH AND WILL NEED TO RESEARCH
This book is well written and articulated on leadership secrets. After having gone through the book, I did not see anything in the book that I disagree with neither is there anything that needs to be researched.
APPLICATION TO MY MINISTRY
The author of the book lay out and discussed three leadership secrets which include the leader’s priorities, the leader’s plans, and the leader’s speech. It is necessary that these secrets be put into place to path the way for the Christian leaders to become successful. Under the insight, I pointed the leader’s priorities under the subheading, the leader’s relationship to God. If the leader can genuinely connect to God relationally, he can succeed in fulfilling or practicing the other secrets through the grace of God. In my application, I will connect with God relationally, pray to Him to help me manage my plans and the proper use of my tongues.
Thompson, James W. Pastoral Ministry according to Paul: A Biblical Vision. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006.
STRENGTHS OF THE BOOK
Before going further with this textbook, the following questions should be answered. These questions give ground for spiritual insight with regards to the pastoral ministry. The questions are as follows: (1) what is the main purpose of the pastoral ministry? (2) What emphases and priorities should fuel the study of the purpose? These are questions that the pastor should answer theoretically and practically to give the true meaning of the pastoral ministry. Not only should the pastor answer these questions, but also the church that employ them and seminaries that prepared them are required to answer the questions. Many of the insights in the book are wonderful including his emphasis on the eschatological nature of the pastoral ministry.
Thompson writes, “Despite the pressure that often come from the church and society to define the minister’s role pragmatic terms s the maintenance and growth of the institution, the answer to the question of ministerial identity, as Ellen Charry has argued, is a theological one. In this book I address this missing dimension in the conversation about ministry by offering a pastoral theology that rests on a conversation with recent interpreters of Pauline theology. Examining the theological foundations and goals of Paul’s pastoral work, I argue that the Pauline vision will contribute to the discussion that now occupies churches and seminaries throughout North America: What is a minister? For what roles do we prepare future ministers? What are the goals of ministry?
To answer the questions, the minister is the individual who is being called to represent Christ’s image in everything he does with reference to moral, ethical, or spiritual matter. The roles future ministers are prepared for are to become servant leaders who will reproduce himself in other leaders that he leads in the church. The goals of ministry is to go, to teach, to preach, and to win souls for Christ so that fallen humanity will come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. To fulfill these objectives in order to meet the goal, the question of ministerial identity comes into picture as mentioned in the above quotation. Ministers are called to represent Christ; therefore, they must strive toward holiness as they walk with God and lead the congregations. The pastoral ministry is a spiritual ministry; therefore, no pastor will do well he is disconnected from God. Pastors get disconnected from God through disobedience.
ISSUES DISAGREED WITH AND WILL NEED TO RESEARCH
I have gone through this book and have not seen anything in this book that I disagree with and will need research.
APPLICATION TO MY MINISTRY
My ability and knowledge to define who a minister is, his roles, and goals of the ministry, puts me in the position to redefine my identity and roles in Christ as the pastor. From this discussion, I have come to be knowledgeable that God has called me to honor him in my body; therefore, I recognize and admit that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Knowing these things, I will teach my congregations on Christian identity and what God wants us to be in Christ.
Vanhoozer, Kevin J & Strachan, Owen. The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015.
STRENGTHS OF THE BOOK
By virtue of the pastoral office, many pastors perceived themselves primarily as counselors, leaders, and motivators. This perception gives birth to renaissance at the expense of the fundamental reality that the pastorate belongs to a theological office; in this light, pastors are theologians by virtue of their call and the responsibility placed on them to give Biblical exegesis of scriptural passages. Their task is to be theologians mediating God to the people; therefore, the church needs pastors who can contextualize the word of God in order to assist their congregations’ reason theologically with reference to all aspects of their lives, such as works, advance directive with regards to the end of life situation, political involvement, and entertainment alternatives. Drawing from the Biblical standpoint with relative to church history and Christian theology, the pastors as the public theologians called to serve as public theologians to their congregations and the communities they serve. As the result of their engagement in the pastorate as the public theologians, they are prepared cognitively to give pastoral and theological reflections on the tasks they have been involved with which could serve as resources for other ministers to improve on their areas of assignments.
They write, “The idea of the pastor as a theologian–one who opens up the Scriptures to help people understand God, the world, and themselves–no longer causes the hearts of most church members to “burn within” them (Luke 24:32). Too many pastors have exchanged their vocational birthrights for a bowl of lentil stew (Gen. 25:29–34; Heb. 12:16); management skills, strategic plans, “leadership” courses, therapeutic techniques, and so forth.”
Despite the pastor’s assignment as public theologian, some have lost sight of their assignments and have exchanged their God’s giving ability to materialism and money as stated in the above quotation. To cement their actions of spiritual negligence, the congregations they serve do not have the burning desire to know God and his word. These are dead churches that exist on planet earth. In such church, despite of the pastor’s theological background of having the Master of Divinity or PhD, the person teach or preach from a dry reservoir; as the result, the congregations die and so is the pastor who is teaching and preaching; unfortunately, he is dead and therefore he cannot give anything to the congregations. The congregations and the pastor are dead. These Churches are churches which allow homosexual ordination. They are calling God a liar and so they do not believe the scriptures. They are anti-Christ in the house of God.
ISSUES DISAGREED WITH AND WILL NEED TO RESEARCH
I have gone through this book; however, I did not find anything theologically or biblically that I disagree with.
APPLICATION TO MY MINISTRY
From the reading of the textbook, it can be recorded that everyone who reads the Bible or attends church is a theologian. From the biblical standpoint of the lead pastor, he is a public theologian; therefore, he owes the congregations to give answers to theological controversy. How can I apply this to the ministry? I have to study the word of God and draw biblical teachings that will biblically and positively affect not only the congregations that I minister to, but to also minister to the body of Christ universally. I will do this by planning pastoral conferences to teach church leaders, pastors, lay leaders, and young believers.
Ward, Pete. Introducing Practical Theology: Mission, Ministry, and the Life of the Church. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2017.
STRENGTHS OF THE BOOK
Practical theology is the field of theology that reclaims a theological vision for the life and work of the church according to Pete Ward. He asserts that practical theology mythically is a distraction from the real tasks of ministry or from serious academic theological work. He argues that practical theology forms the integral of the everyday life of the minister and the church and there are varieties of possible methodologies adopted such as aiding readers evaluate their approaches or methodologies that are appropriate to their ministerial settings and theological practices. Practical theology is the everyday life experience of the minister of God as well as the life of the church and it is suitable for the believer who is already involved in the ministry or on training.
Ward writes, “Practical theology, Root says, should adjust its attention to take account of the experience of God in people’s lives. Unfortunately, the discipline has tended to downplay divine action, and this has led to what he calls a theological deficiency” (CP, x). “Practical theology has rightly started with people’s experience, but because it has been blind to the possibility that people have real experiences with God, it has neglected to wade deeply into conceptions of divine action that would move practical theology further toward unique theological contribution.”
I want to comment from the African standpoint with reference to practical theology. As mentioned above, practical theology takes account of the experience of God in people’s lives. The involvement of God’s people in prayers, worship, evangelism, spiritual retreats, revival services, obedience to God, reading of scriptures, memorization of scriptures, missions, leadership, and many more are direct practical reflections of practical theology. This theology is the doing theology; therefore, there are practical theologians in the field of theology. In the African setting, many pastors who are leading churches as pastors might not have gone to Bible College or theological seminary; nevertheless, many are very effective in the ministry when it comes evangelism and church planting. Many are obedient to God; therefore, God started to use them even before they planned going to school. In practical theology, experience is put above knowledge; therefore, the tendency to marginalize ministers of God with reference to theological studies before being used on the pulpit, has no place in such church traditional setting. In African churches, people are used on the pulpit not based on degree, but people are used on the pulpit based on what they can give the congregation spiritually and knowledgably with reference to the anointing and sound biblical teaching. In most instances, people are used based on how well they are anointed. One’s failure to minister adequately using spiritual power to deliver people from oppression and sicknesses in the African settings renders an individual to not being used on the pulpit. In America, it is on the opposite as compared to Africa. In conclusion, practical theology is about changed lives.
ISSUES DISAGREED WITH AND WILL NEED TO RESEARCH
As I have walked through this book, I have been informed and inspired on the topic of practical theology. It pins a picture of me during these years in ministry as the young believer, church planter, Bible school teacher, and visionary of the ministry. I have to come to realize that I have been a practical theologian before going to a theology school. With reference to any issues disagreed with, I did not find anything in this book that I disagree with; though, some scholars mentioned in the text seem liberal in their explanation of the text; however, their contribution has reflection on the kind of faith tradition they come from.
APPLICATION TO MY MINISTRY
Every true believer should be a practical theologian. I strongly believe that God wants every believer to be a practical theologian. It is the beginning of the Christian life. One’s inability to become a practical theologian through one’s obedience to God, I term it as spiritual suicide. If we are not living spiritually as the result of our disobedient before God; then, we are dying spiritually. This cautions me as the believer and leader of the spiritual ministry that I must be obedient to God to be effective in order to deliver effective and functional spiritual services to the congregations that God has called me to. My application of this topic is tied to my obedience.
Stout, Steven Oliver. Preach the Word: A Pauline Theology of Preaching Based on 2 Timothy 4:1–5. Eugene: Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2014.
STRENGTHS OF THE BOOK
The charge to the young Pastor Timothy at Ephesus from Apostle Paul to preach the word is the charge to every pastors or ministers of God in the 21st Century because every minister should be a model of biblical preaching. Timothy is admonished to preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage… (2 Timothy 4:2). The book gives the careful examination of the preaching ministry of the Apostle Paul as recorded in the letters and the book of Acts; indeed, Apostle Paul is the model of every Christian leader who is called into the preaching ministry should emulate. Preaching biblically is the model of Pauline theology of the preaching ministry.
Stout writes, “It has been the thesis of this study that the central activity of the Apostle Paul was the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as he stated to the Ephesians elders, “I do not consider my life of any account as dear myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
The above quotation illustrates the cost of discipleship in the preaching ministry. Paul understood his mission on earth with relative to being a disciple of Christ; therefore, he made example himself by saying in the above quotation to the elders of Ephesus that he does not consider his life of any account, but to make known the mystery of the gospel that has been entrusted to him by the Lord. He mentioned the phrase, “to testify solemnly of the gospel of grace of God.” The solemnity of our testimonies can lead to apprehension or death and Paul historically, is an example of martyrdom. He said in the above scripture that his life worth nothing other than preaching the gospel so that he can finish the course or the race has been called to. The insight in this Pauline theology of the preaching ministry is the willingness to die for the preaching of gospel message. He told Timothy to preach in season, out of season, to rebuke, to correct, or to admonish. When these imperatives are executed by the minister, the kingdom of darkness can get into rage (Acts 17).
ISSUES DISAGREED WITH AND WILL NEED TO RESEARCH
During my study in “Preach the Word,” I did not see anything that I disagree with. The book of the Pauline Theology or Preach the Word is full of information to the extent one could be encourage to go into Greek study because the author used lot of Greek words transliterated to enable a non-scholar or pastor to read.
APPLICATION TO MY MINISTRY
Paul has explicitly asserted that Timothy is required to preach the word in season, out of season, rebuke, correct, and encourage. My application in ministry will require me to preach in season. This means that I should be prepared to minister the word of God even if the condition is not favorable with reference to the audience unwillingness or refusal to hear or listen to sound doctrine. In most of our churches today, many pastors might want to preach sound doctrine with fear that people will leave the church; therefore, many has recanted to preach biblical and sound doctrine to their congregations. The church has become like business in our generation. In regardless of the above mentioned, I will preach the word while rebuking, correcting, and encouraging. These action wordings mentioned in the text are ingredients for preaching biblical, sound, or uncompromised doctrine to the congregations. I must rebuke members in wisdom when they have left God and have decided to do their own agenda. I must correct and encourage.
Yost, Robert A. The Pastor’s Library: An Annotated Bibliography of Biblical and Theological Resources for Ministry. Eugene: An Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2017.
STRENGTHS OF THE BOOK
Yost writes, “Although there are numerous excellent resources available to students and pastors, that there is a need for such a project should be obvious to anyone familiar with the field of biblical and theological studies.”
Despite of numerous excellent resources available to students and to pastors on the internet, in the traditional library, on CD’s, on SIM cards etc. the effort made by the author of this Pastoral library is enormous. Its enormity resonates with the methodologies adopted by the author to include books according to subject areas with annotated bibliography. The annotated bibliography highlights the significance of the books and informs the potential user if such resources could be used according to his or her needs. The library is a collection of books which comprises of the Old and New Testament languages, lexical, grammatical tools, commentaries, theologies, and pastoral resources drawn variously according to subject areas. It guides students and pastors the easy way out to get resources in desire subject areas of one’s choice.
Despite of numerous excellent resources available to students and pastors as quoted above, the writer or the author of the Pastor’s Library deemed it necessary to develop updated resources currents that meet the demand of the 21st Century scholarship. The inclusivity adopted with reference various hermeneutical tools such as commentaries, Greek and Hebrew tools, various theologies, and among other things gives the profundity of the materials which contributes to insightful materials that can be used in biblical research, scholarly research, exegesis, and the preparation and delivery of sermons. The profundity of the materials presented in this Pastor’s Library contributes to insights.
ISSUES DISAGREED WITH AND WILL NEED TO RESEARCH
The Pastor’s Library contains wealth of information referencing various theologies, Old and New Testament, commentaries, grammatical tools, lexical aids, books, and among other things resourceful in academia with reference to aiding of scholarly research, thesis, or dissertation scripts. I have taken the time to go through the book despite of being directed to read certain portions of the literature. I decided to read each annotated bibliography of books, commentaries, lexicons, and among other resourceful materials in the book. While reading these annotated bibliographies, I came across a book on eschatology entitled, “The Rapture; Pre-, Mid-, or Post-Tribulational? Contemporary Evangelical Perspectives. Grand Rapids: zondervan Academic Books, 1984. The book examines the issues of the timing of the Rapture from three different camps of opinions by three evangelical scholars. I have read this book before during my master program. I have been somehow twisted which position I should agree with; on the hand, the studies pose ambiguity and will require careful critical studies of each position before I come to the conclusion of which camps I should agree with; in this light, I am still going the book at home to see which camp I should agree with. From now, I stand in the neutral position until I can do thoroughly studies of these positions using scriptures to evaluate, to correlate, to compare, to reason, and to hermeneutically to the conclusion of my stand in this subject.
APPLICATION TO MY MINISTRY
The Pastor’s Library can be applied in various ways in ministry due to the fact that it serves as the resource for pastoral studies, scholarly research, and applied ministry.
Pastors are called to preach and to teach the congregations they have been assigned to by God; therefore, pastors are required to study scriptures taking into account exegetical approaches. The pastor is required to study the text or passages of scriptures taking into account the historical cultural context, the geographical context, the literary context, grammar and syntax, and biblical languages. He is also required to use commentaries, dictionaries, books, articles etc. I will use this Pastor’s Library to do research, to prepare sermon, and to prepare teaching materials required to be taught to the congregations that God has called me or will call me to.
Not only will I use the Pastor’s Library for the above mentioned, but I will also use the Pastor’s Library in scholarly research when it comes to writing my dissertation in the Doctor of Ministry Program at Charlotte Theological Seminary. The Pastor’s Library contains books, commentaries, articles, grammatical tools, and lexical aids which are useful in writing Master’s Thesis or Dissertation; therefore, the book serves as wealth of information useful for adoption in writing these scholarly papers (Master’s Thesis and Dissertation).
Not only will I use the Pastor’s Library for the above,
but I will also use this book for applied ministry. Applied ministry is
teaching materials to the congregations that I have prepared during research.
My inability to demonstrate what I have studied renders my studies or research
fruitless; therefore, applicability in ministry is vital to functional and
effective ministry operation.
Charles Spurgeon, An All-Round Ministry: Direction, Wisdom, and Encouragement for Preachers and Pastors.U.S.A: Banner of Truth, 6.
Ibid., 189 –190.
 Bill Hull, The Disciple-Making Pastor: Leading Others on the Journey of Faith. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 12–13, 2007.
 Gerald Hiestand, & Todd Wilson, The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 16–17, 2015.
Yost, Robert A, Leadership Secrets from the Proverbs: An Examination of Leadership Principles from the Book of Proverbs. Eugene: An Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers, 12, 2013.
James W Thompson, Pastoral Ministry according to Paul: A Biblical Vision. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 11, 2006.
 Kevin J Vanhoozer & Owen Strachan, The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1, 2015.
 Pete Ward, Introducing Practical Theology: Mission, Ministry, and the Life of the Church. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 45, 2017.
 Steven Oliver Stout, A Pauline Theology of Preaching Based on 2 Timothy 4:1–5: Preach the Word. Eugene: Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2014.
 Robert A Yost, The Pastor’s Library: An Annotated Bibliography of Biblical and Theological Resources for Ministry. Eugene: An Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2, 2017.
Daniel M. Doriani, Putting the Truth to Work: The Theory and Practice of Biblical Application (Phillipsburg: P & R Publishing Company), 2001, 2.
 Bryant Chapell, Using Illustrations to Preach with Power (Wheaton: Crossway Books), 2001, 66.
Hughes, Jack. Expository Preaching with Word Pictures ‘with Illustrations from the Sermons of Thomas Watson.(Scotland: Christian Focus Publications Geanies House), 200, 7.
Abraham Kuruville, Privilege the Text! A Theological Hermeneutic for Preaching. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 45, 2013.
 Daniel Overdorf, How to Balance Biblical Integrity and Cultural Relevance. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 15, 2009.
 Murray Capill, The Heart is the Target: Preaching Practical Application from Every Text. Phillipsburg: P & R Publishing, 81, 2014.
 Ibid., 14.
 Ibid., 81.
 Haddon Robison & Craig Brian Larson, The Art & Craft of Biblical Preaching: A Comprehensive Resource for Today’s Communicators. Grand Rapids: Christianity Today International, 2005, 217.
 Ibid., 22.
Russel, Bob. After 50 Years of Ministry 7 Things I’D Do Differently and 7 Things I’D Do the Same. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2016.
The book is written from the experience the author experienced practically while running the ministry after 50 years. At the age of 20, he became the Pastor of the Southeastern Christian Church, the church containing the membership of 120. While running this Church, the Church grew from 120 memberships to 20,000 memberships becoming the largest Church in America at the time. Despite of the membership’s growth, Bob Russel felt that he has not accomplished much as required of him. In this book, he outlined what he would do differently and what he would do the same. Some of the things or topics discussed in the book include how to respond to criticism, protecting one’s marriage, stop comparing oneself to another pastor, how to handle staff moral failure, prioritizing preaching schedule, building trust with church elders, making best of downtime, and among other things relevant to perpetual ministry. After having gone through the book, I have selected few quotations in the book that could express the thesis statement of what the author has written to his audience.
ANALYSIS AND RELEVANCY
He writes, “We see a doctor after he performs a dramatic surgery that saves someone’s life. He accepts the effusive praise from the patient’s family, gets into his luxury car, and drives to his spacious home and we think, “Wow, it would be great to be a doctor.” But we don’t see the extra years of medical school, the government regulations, the patients who don’t survive, the late-night emergency phone calls, and the occasional lawsuits that a doctor endures.” The above quotation indicates sacrifice and continued practice of a career taking into considerations the downside and upside of things. It is a practical analogy that fits into ministry’s activities with regard to the stress, the trauma, the trials, the temptations, and the hardship pastors face while running the church ministry. The quotation resonates meaningfully with the statement “Ministry is harder than what it looks like.” The medical doctor has spent time studying medicine in various subject areas with reference to the human body taking into account the physiology, the anatomy, the pathobiology, the pathology, the diagnostics, and the treatment decision based on specified disease or illness diagnosed during the his or her medical practices in health care setting. Based on his or her training, he or she is able to treat patients with various conditions; therefore, he or she is praised based on the job carried out on patients. The approvals or praises did not come overnight; however, he or she had spent sleepless night studying to enable him or her treat these medical conditions that patients face. Being a Pastor of 120 congregations and the congregation growing to 20, 000 calls for dedication on the part of the Pastor. To anticipate growth in the ministry, Pastors should plan and envision how the he or she wants to the church to become. The Pastor’s inability to see what the church will look like is directly proportional to his or her failure to commit to the church’s works with reference to growth. God has not called us to be successful; however, he has called us to be faithful. Our response to the kingdom of God with reference to evangelism and church planting is the act of faithfulness that leads to church’s growth. The product of success is the act of our obedience encapsulated in our faithfulness before God that brings about being successful. God will grow the church as we become committed to evangelism and church planting. God has not only called us to work harder; however, he has also called us to minister by faith and less by fear. Moses was able to do the uncommon because he had humility that enabled him walk in faith. He adds, “Some mistakenly interpret insecurity as humility, but the two are vastly different. Insecurity is self-centered, while humility is God-centered. At the burning bush, God did not commend Moses for this reluctance to lead. He chastised him for his lack of faith. Humility is not self-consciousness; humility is discovering what gifts God has given to you and using them wholeheartedly for His glory, not your own.”
The above quotation indicates that humility is trusting God what he can do through you instead of looking at your inability to do certain things; therefore, faith and humility work together to have the job done in the ministry. God called Moses to lead; however, Moses sensed that he was incompetent to lead considering his human ability. After having had conversation with God with reference to his mission to the children of Israel as the deliverer and having considered himself to go; then, did he realize that he was anointed to do what he could not have done as human being. In ministry, ministers are required to walk in faith to do the uncommon things. If God has called us to walk in faith; then, he considers us to be the winner; nevertheless, we are required to be desirous of winning which plays very well how well we succeed in the ministry. We must seek the kingdom which is related to the passion we have for the advancement of the kingdom of God.
He concludes, “I have always been a competitive person. From the time I was a young boy I wanted to win; to be the faster runner, score the most points, or be the first kid chosen. That is not all bad. Competition is healthy and normal. The late, great commentator Paul Harvey used to say, “It’s each tree striving for a place in the sun that makes them all grow tall.”
The author’s injection to ministry’s trauma experienced during ministry’s operation and his input how pastors can change to do things differently are true and are relevant to a functional, viable, and sustainable church ministry. His practical ministry experience during previous years is worth reading, meditating, adopting, modeling, presenting to others, and applying it in one’s ministry experience. His life and ministry’s experience and how he got there should be welcomed and adopted into the Christian’s ministry experience to make impact with reference to evangelism, church plant, and church growth.
Black, Michael. Pressing on Finishing Well: Learning from Seven Biblical Characters. Scotland: Christian Focus Publishing Ltd, 2019.
The book delineates on the finiteness of this life. We were destined or predestined to live on planet earth together; therefore, it is advisable to apply wisdom to our hearts in this life while pressing on to finishing well. In the introductory section of the book, the author explains the reasons of writing the book. He and his Christian friends had decided to be involved in activities in order to socialize. During their socialization on the beach, they shared their aspirations for lives and asked many questions surrounding life situations including theology. During reflective interaction via these times, they questioned their weaknesses, strengths, and infallibility in the Christian scene. In the book, he discusses biblical characters like Caleb and Paul who waited and anticipated their prize and Solomon and Lot who were distracted by the pleasures of this life. While we strive to gain various professional backgrounds in various disciplines of our aspirations, it should be noted that we should do our best to meet those goals we desire by setting objectives and implementing them so that we can finish well. The best place that we can finish well after we have pursued these earthly things is in God. In this discourse, the below listed quotations give the overview of the book and tend to present the main idea of the book; therefore, I have decided to caption the listed quotations under the heading, “The End Is Near,” and “What Does It Mean to Finish Well.”?
ANALYSIS AND RELEVANCY
He writes, “Someday soon, I will be dead. I don’t know when but whether by accident, disease, or simply old age, I shall breathe my last and pass through the veil. My friends and family will no longer see me. I will no longer walk on the earth. I will be gone. Everything on this earth will come to an end for me.”
The above quotation resonates with the validity that we did not come to live in this world forever; therefore, it calls for careful observation of our steps knowing that one day we will give an account of our lives before God. No one or someone will be responsible for our actions, but we will be held accountable for ourselves. In this regard, what are we here for? Where are we going? What will life look like after we have died? These questions define human existence; therefore, sociologists, anthropologists, atheists, philosophers, or political scientists tend to answer these questions. In the nut shed, the question should be, “What is the whole duty of man?” The title is taken from Ecclesiastes 12:13, in the King James Version of the Bible: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. Fearing God and keeping his commandments answer these questions of existence found in the Bible. If we can answer the questions practically, we must adhere to the above scripture. The following quotation validates how we can finish well cementing on Ecclesiastes 12:13: He adds, “The secret to finishing well as a Christian isn’t about the success. It isn’t about greatness. It isn’t about accumulation of great wealth. A poor Christian can finish well. And a rich Christian (or nor-Christian), whosoever is misplaced, can finish badly. It is how you make your life choices relative to your relationship with Jesus Christ. For the Christian, a life lived well should reflect a gospel-centered focus on living a life of love for the Lord to the glory of the Lord.”
The Apostle Paul validates the above quotation in the following expression, “If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (Cor 5:13–15 NIV).
Jesus died for us so that we can live and express the glory of God according to the above quotation; therefore, our lives here should be lived for God. What we do in family, business, education, politics, and ministry should express the glory of God with respect to how we conduct ourselves daily. The book answers life questions which are relevant to individual and ministers with regard to how we relate to God in service and in holiness.
Drury, Keith. Soul Shaper: Becoming the Person God Wants You to Be. Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2013.
This book introduces believers to the ancient practices that allow God to shape them in order to become Godlike individuals. The book delineates on various spiritual disciplines categorically with reference to the disciplines of abstinence, the disciplines of action, the disciplines of relationship, and the discipline of response. The practices of these spiritual disciplines genuinely can become marks of God’s visitation in the life of the minister of God to be used in the kingdom. It takes self-denial of the believer’s sinful acts and reactionary response to spiritual activities to become Godlike individual in order to do the exploit in this life. In this junction, I have selected three quotations that resonate with the discipline of action, discipline of relationship, and discipline of response respectively in the following:
ANALYSIS AND RELEVANCY
He writes, “The spiritual discipline of confession is humbly admitting our sins and shortcomings to another person as a means of spiritual healing. Of course we should confess first to God in prayer. But the spiritual discipline of confession is not about confessing to God in solitude but about confessing to another person in community. Confession is good for the soul. The act of confessing is humbling. It prevents us from casting an image that is better than we really are.”
Confession is the spiritual discipline that requires admitting our shortcomings before God in solitude and then also confessing our sins to another person in public. Many of us will not want to confess our sins to another individual or a community of believers because we are afraid of our bad image being known by others in the community we live; however, doing this will prevent us from casting an image better than we really are according to the writer. Practically, this is true. If people know my shortcomings in the community, I will be careful how I walk honestly in humility to correct the errors I have made. It takes pride from my life because I have admitted this sin problem to friends who also will help pray for me. There is the tendency that gives us awareness that people whom we confess our sin to will take this information to another level of publicity; nevertheless, do it as the Holy Spirit leads you. Why hide sin? Sin is ugly and it should be exposed. Not only should the believer be encouraged to confess sin to others, but the believer is commanded in scripture to forgive others because not forgiving others is the direct act of holding oneself down as indicated in the following quotation:
He writes, “As God exposed the breadth and depth of my old grudge against Miss Culp, I came to realize its fruitlessness. I hadn’t hurt her a bit. In my attempt to even the score with her, I had only hurt myself. The blame for my inability to spell hung as a burden around my neck, not hers. I confessed to a sinful grudge that day and fully forgave Miss Culp. No, I did not say she was a fine teacher, because she wasn’t. But I determined that I would no longer hold a grudge against her. It was too costly to me; I fully forgave her.”
The author experienced an incidence when he was in grade school. His teacher threw questions of spelling to him and he was required to spell these spellings; unfortunately, he was not able to spell them; therefore, the teacher held him responsible for not spelling the wordings and she therefore became resentful to him in the class. This made him to create a grudge for his teacher and therefore became indifferent to her. He came to the realization that he needed to let go the grudge and therefore forgave her. Holding grudges for people who wrong you or walking in the spirit of not forgiven is a spiritual captivity. God commands that we forgive people who wrong us so that we too can walk in the freedom of forgiveness because we too sin against God and people as well. What we do with reference to confession and forgiveness is the direct act to the discipline of response. How well we respond to life situation determines how victorious or the downside of life we experience. Our responses are tied also to our spirituality and to our maturity in the faith; in this light, God wants us to respond to situations whether be in our family life, ministry life, or individual life, should be geared toward preparing and maturing us for the betterment of his name and the works he has called to do in his kingdom. The author concludes in the following quote:
He writes, “In the discipline of response, we manage our responses to the experiences life bring us, both good and bad. Much—or perhaps most–of our spiritual growth comes as we learn to respond in a Christ-like way to both difficulties and blessings. The disciplines of action, abstinence, and relationships are invaluable to our spiritual progress. But if we focus only on these, we will miss the most powerful discipline of all–the discipline of response to life.”
Author delineates on 21 lessons of disciplines that include the disciplines of abstinence, the disciplines of action, the disciplines of relationship, and the discipline of response which are vital to the Christian life and ministry. These disciplines as he call them “Soul Shaper” are relevant to the believer’s spiritual life and ministry.
Shelley Marshall, Harold Myra. The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham. Grand Rapids: Christianity Today International, 2005.
The book discusses and analyzes the 21 essential leadership principles of Billy Graham written by its author. The leadership principles of Billy Graham, the most influential leader encapsulated in his leadership secrets are delineated. It delineates on his leadership and his transferrable applications for leaders in the Church, para-church, academia, government, and the business world. The book is diversified in a way that it appeals to its audience and puts the audience in the position to continue to read the book. The book is informative and educative in term of leadership principles and the basic leadership functions. The information contained in the book is tailored to deepen capacity building and efficiency maximization in the leadership scene. Among few of the things discussed in the book include igniting, confronting temptations, and communicating optimism and hope. In the following quotes, the issues highlighted have been chosen to highlight the thesis of the book in summation.
ANALYSIS AND RELEVANCY
He writes, “Leadership is forged in the furnace. The gracious positive spirit of a Billy Graham or the broad smile of a Dwight Eisenhower or the exuberance of a teddy Roosevelt does not reveal the complex, painful stories of how they rose to great challenges or sustained their intensity. Far from being a formula to learn, leadership is asset of life experiences melded by intense heat. The heat and struggle create often unexpected results.”
The above quotation resonates with the fact that leadership is not easy; therefore, it is learned through observable skills characterized by trials and errors in difficult times. In leadership, one of the things a leader should be able to guide against is to learn what is called emotional intelligence. It is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. In leadership, the people one leads matters the most. How does a leader treat the people he or she leads? Walking in wisdom judiciously and empathetically to lead people is paramount to running a successful organization. How a leader relates to the people he or she leads depends on how the leader controls his or her emotion. Understanding one’s feeling and drastically and carefully dealing with those feelings that tend to undermine one’s leadership ability is vital to creating very good interpersonal relationships with the people one leads. If a leader is unable to understand his or her own feeling, he or she will be unable to comprehend other people’s feelings. One of the reasons, there are authoritarian leadership in the world today is because a leader lacks emotional intelligence. To be a good leader, one should be prepared to face criticism from the people one leads. God will allow people to oppose you in the ministry in order to prepare you because you might be doing something that could not be in line with biblical practice and God has placed someone in the church to correct it. Why show resentment to someone who is being used by God to shape you? A leader is never born, but a lead is made; therefore, leadership is an observable skill practiced overtime during leadership execution. Billy Graham practiced emotional intelligence; as the result, he left a mark or legacy that we can follow today. God knows that leadership is forged in the furnace; therefore, he has called us to confront temptations.
He writes, “Billy had to resist the enticements that confront the traveling man. He knew of many who did not. Billy saw how spiritual enthusiasm did not make you immune to greed, pride, lust, and ambition. Indeed spiritual passion and more earthly passions often possess the same soul. During his years as a field representative for Youth for Christ in the mid-1940s, Billy traveled constantly speaking to high school groups, college rallies, gatherings of Christian businessmen, and civic clubs.” It is obvious that a leader is exposed or pruned to enter into temptation; therefore, every leader should recognize that his or his tendency to fall into temptation is imminent. To guide one’s integrity or credibility in ministry is to guide against temptations that make a leader vulnerable with reference to ethics. Leaders are called to be examples for the people they are leading. The above quotation is true of leadership. A leader is required to escape the enticements that confront him or her while attending preaching engagement, visiting seminar sites, and among other things. God did not only call a leader to escape and confront temptations, but God has also called a leader to communicate optimism and hope to the people he or she is leading.He concludes, “Longer than anyone else, decade after decade after decade, Billy Graham has been included in good housekeeping’s most-admired list. Over the years presidents and other luminaries have appeared, then faded. But Billy has always been at or near the top of the list.”
The life a leader lives before the people he or she is leading is vital for that leader to communicate optimism and hope. Leaders do not only communicate optimism and hope through ovation speech; however, they can communicate it by their lifestyles. Someone says, “Action speaks louder than word.” This is true saying. If the people can see you do, they will do because a leader is practically living what he or she preaches. Leaders should be to the foot front of everything including physical works, giving, etc. Leaders should always take the lead; then, the membership will follow. The leadership principles discussed in this book are relevant to the minister of God and the church ministry.
Henderson, David W. Tranquility: Cultivating a Quiet Soul in a Busy World. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2015.
This book talks about the essence of time and how one can utilize time to meet goal knowing that our time on earth is limited in time and space; therefore, we are finite and incapacitated with respect to time and space. How well we become conscious of utilizing time wisely determines how fruitfulness of the work we do in advancing the kingdom of God using time. Jesus said, “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work “(John 9:4 NIV). In this discourse, we anticipate deliberating on the “The River People,” “Flying Fish,” and “Living Well.”
ANALYSIS AND RELEVANCY
He writes, “We get so absorbed in cleaning out the garage, for instance, or reading a book that we drift like sleepy rafters across the calm stretches of a river. Time’s surface is so still and smooth that we are unmindful of the insistent current that yet presses forward beneath us, carrying us along. When we finally extract ourselves from whatever has absorbed us, we are amazed at how time has flown. Time may seem to stop, but it never really does. Never are we truly still; always are we carried downstream. We can only forget, never escape, time’s current.” The issue of time management with reference to what we do in ministry, in school, in business, and at home is vital. Our failure to create objectives setting goal within a time frame and working to meeting the goal, can lead to doing nothing significant that may not be meaningfully related to what God has called us to accomplish; therefore, there is a need to prioritize what we do with regard to the subject of our obligations. This prioritization can be effective by developing “To Do List” using the scale of preference. The above quotation resonates with time management. Sometimes, we get absorbed performing tasks that may not be important at the time and by the time we look at time, we are very late to accomplish the required tasks; in this regard, time is on the move and we become incapacitated to do the job in meeting the time frame. Pastors get too busy with tasks that they may not have been obligated to do; therefore, there is the need to dedicate responsibility to others so that they can carry out such tasks to enable the Pastor to perform his obligated tasks within the time frame instead of getting late. Time management is part of our stewardship responsibility. We must be conscious of time because time has wings and it is in current. Human activities on planet earth are controlled by time. Everything we do is within the course of time and since time runs like river metaphorically, people are nomenclature as river people in the text as indicated in the following quotation: He adds, “We are a river people, we human beings, and time is the current in which we live. From the instant we splash into time, we are swept along by its coursings. We live by it and with it and on it and in it.” Despite of being named as “River People,” we were made to fly instead of to swim. In ministry, what we have not accomplished after ten years can be accomplished within a year when God has made us to soar on wings like eagles. God’s timing is important in ministry and a minister of God should learn to discern the timing of God. The minister should be involved in spiritual disciplines on the consistent basis to discern the timing of God to soar. This is the period of the anointing and God’s favor being displayed to do the unusual. This is the time when all outstanding projects that require funding will God release the fund to carry them out. We were made to fly as stated in the following quotation: He writes, “You and I were made to fly, not to swim. We began this book with the image of time being like a river current. But common as the metaphor is in our culture, and apt as it is to our experience, Scripture never once speaks of human beings bobbing about in the river of time. In fact, in the pages of Scripture, we are compared to all manner of flying things, not swimming things: to swallows that dwell near God in the temple (Ps. 84:1–4), to chicks gathered under God’s protective wing (Ps. 91:1–4), to doves vulnerable and innocent (Matt. 10:16), to sparrows watched over by the Father (Matt. 10:29), to ravens for whom our heavenly Father provides (Luke 12:24), and to eagles strengthened and upheld by God (Isa. 40:28–31). God made us to soar–to soar on wings like eagles.” There are transitions of lives in the spiritual journey. The first transition relates to the time we got saved after having acknowledged that we were sinners that prompted our repentance. At this life journey we accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. During this period, we are given weekly activity schedule by the Church we have committed our services to as the stewards of God. I can remember when I became a believer in 1985 at the Little Children Church situated in Liberia, Harbel, Crown Hill, an announcement was made with reference to the activity schedule. Having understood my obligations as the young believer, warranted me to attend Bible Studies and Prayer Meetings taking time into consideration. My inability to consider these schedule activities with reference to attendance would have rendered me spiritual bankruptcy leading me to experience spiritual underdevelopment.
The second transition is when we have undergone spiritual development through our commitment to spiritual services and God elects us to hold some spiritual positions in the church hierarchy, such as the Apostolic, Prophetic, Evangelistic, Pastoral, and the Teaching office, we begin another life transition in the spiritual journey. During the Christian life, we are confronted with trials as we function in the office that God has elected us for in order to prepare us for our destiny. Between the day we became believer to the time God calls us lies the tests or trials for our development preparing us to finish well and to enter into our rest. James writes, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2–4 NIV). Brother James cements the author’s conclusive statement in the following statement. Allowing perseverance to finish its works will therefore prepare the believer to become mature and complete in this Christian life lacking nothing resonates with the below listed quotation:
He concludes, “In the end, a life well lived is not the outcome of some sort of calendar calculus. It isn’t arrived at just the right additions and subtractions to our daily schedule. Even the disciplines of rest–Sabbath, sleep, retreat– bring but a modicum of rest and that short-lived. The tranquility, the soul rest, for which we long ultimately lies deeper than time, with the author of time. Only as we yield our lives up to him and allow him to order our days will our lives take the shape they are meant to have, and we will enter into his rest. Tranquility comes on the other side of relinquishment, not accomplishment.”
Despite of being absorbed by time in this busy world, we are commanded to give our lives to God so that he can shape us in a way that we can be prepared to enter his eternal rest. The human’s soul needs this rest of tranquility obtained in God. Our relinquishment is not accomplishment because we shall have departed this world to be with the Lord. The hidden thesis for this book is encapsulated in Ecclesiastes 12:13: What is the whole duty of man under the sun? Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this are the duty of all mankind. This book is relevant to answer the questions with reference to the existence of mankind: (1) Why were we created for? (2) Where are we going?
MaCDonald, Gordon. Building Below the Waterline. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2011.
The author delineates and presents topics that cover various issues with reference to how to lead the church, the validity and necessity of the church mission statements, individualism in the ministry’s public prayers, and sermon delivery to the contemporary audience on controversial issues affecting the body of Christ, and disputes among ministers in the kingdom of God universally and locally.
The book addresses the inner and the outer life of the leader; therefore, it proportionally addresses character development with reference to virtues and integrity that serve as the bedrock to efficient and productive ministry operation. The first half of the book addresses the inner life of the leader with reference to character, attitudes, and spiritual practices while the second half deals with how a minister of God models Christ as to enable him or her presents Christ to others through obedience. It discusses the four traits of the Christian leadership that include the ability to communicate the vision to others, sensitivity to people’s need, the ability to assess situation for problem resolution, and the keen to self-knowledge that demands of being capacitated to solve the unknown in unforeseen circumstantial happenings. “Building Below the Waterline” is the book that centers on character building and formation taking into consideration various variables that deal with ministerial integrity and virtues.
ANALYSIS AND RELEVANCY
He writes, “There was a time when I would have been jealous for leadership; today, I find it sobering. I have passed the point of aspiring to leadership. It is a privilege to be a leader, but the price is great. A leader has to watch every word he or she says and quickly learns that you can’t go through life without a few critics, some well deserved. Occasionally, leaders have a rough time knowing who’s a genuine friend, and there are serious time limitations on perusing healthy relationships. There is pressure on friends and family, and at time most leaders, I suspect, ask, “Who needs all this?” According to the above quotation, aspiring to become a leader, one should be ready to pay the price for leadership; therefore, the author asserts that he is not aspiring to become one; however, it is a privilege; nevertheless, one should be prepared to solve the unknown because leadership is asymmetric in nature and practice. It is an observable skill learned through trials and errors phenomena. In leadership, one learns to be interpersonal in dealing with the people you interact with; therefore, there is a need to build rapport with the people so they can learn to know the leader better. How well a leader is able to defeat challenges that confront the organization determines how well a leader is prepared to do so. People will trust the leader depending on his response toward the unknown situation that requires him or her to prove his or her capacity obtained during years of capability building; therefore, education and experience are needed to make a good leadership coupled with ethical and moral standards required of the leader. Leadership is not only built and expressed in the inner life of the leader, but it is also expressed and validated how well a reader responds to situation that require immediacy like the phone call coming at night to the leader when he or she is not obligated by the assignment given him or her because someone in the church has been assigned to carry out such tasks. He writes, “Remember that political ad in which the White House phone rings at 3 A.M and someone has to answer? I know the experience. Sort of. My phone call came late one afternoon. The caller, a church attendee I knew only casually, said he was at the hospital with his wife, Josie, was dying of cancer and might not last the night. Could I come right away? Even though this call came many years ago, I’m still embarrassed when I remember that my first thought was something like: Where is our pastoral care staff person? I don’t do hospitals. I’m the one who preaches, who leads, who casts vision, oh, and I’m the one always telling people (from the pulpit) that I love them and care for them. The caller said his dying wife was terrified. Despite the sedatives she had been given, she was almost violent and could hardly be restrained. “Perhaps you can say something to her that will help her to relax and go to sleep,” he said. It is normal and biblical for a pastor to assign people in carrying out various responsibilities in the church; however, the assignments given to people in the various functions do not excuse the head pastor to do the same job with reference to unprecedented situation. Leader is a servant hood ministry that requires the Pastor to leaving his or bed or sleep at night and attending to other people’s problems event when he or she is incapacitated to do so due to being fatigued. The above quotation resonates with the situation that deals with the pastor being called to the hospital at night to see a casual attendee of the church whose wife was dying of cancer. Though, someone was responsible for the task; however, the Pastor was obligated to attend to the assignment because it was unprecedented situation. The Pastor became sensitive to the need of the church member whose wife was dying of cancer and immediately responded to the request. Not only leaders should be sensitive to people’s needs; however, leaders should be ready to solve problems. Problems solving is the job description of a leader; therefore, if a leader is unable to solve the problem of the people he is leading, he or she fails leadership responsibility and he or she cannot lead. In the following quotation, the Pastor is called to lead; unfortunately, he is obligated to carry out this assignment despite of the leadership’s failure to reveal the problem before taking up the assignment as the Pastor. He writes, “Soon after I finished my theological education, I was asked to become pastor of a congregation in Southern Illinois. This was my first great awakening to the realities of pastoral leadership, and it was an uncomfortable experience. The skills (or gifts) that led the congregation to invite me to be their spiritual leader were probably my enthusiasm, my preaching, and my apparent ability, even as a young man, to reach out to people and make them feel cared for. The position called for me to report to a board of deacons who, while well-intentioned, were not highly experienced in organizational leadership. I was also responsible for leading a staff that consisted of a secretary, Christian education assistance, tow day-school teachers, and part-time choir director, and a janitor. What the position description didn’t say was that the congregation was seriously divided and disillusioned due to an acrimonious split in which the previous pastor had persuaded one hundred people to join him in leaving the church to form a new one down the road.”
Despite of the problem not being revealed to the Pastor, he was still obligated to solve the problem; though, it was not part of his job description written on the paper. In the pastoral ministry, Pastor should be ready to face the unknown situation as they lead the body of Christ. Leadership is about communicating vision to others, sensitivity to people’s need, the ability to assess situation for problem resolution, and the keen to self-knowledge that demands of being capacitated to solve the unknown in unforeseen circumstantial happenings. The material in this book is relevant to the pastoral leadership and ministry.
Cordeiro, Wayne. Sifted: Pursuing Growth through Trials, Challenges, and Disappointments. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.
This book unveils the challenges a minister faces in planting and leading new churches in the emergence of scared resources when trails, temptations, disappointments, and hardship are immanent or inevitable. The information contained in the book will help minister gets prepared to face crises and therefore joyfully accepts and allows them to serve as stepping stones for the minister’s preparation, ministry’s efficiency, and character formation. The author names characters in the Bible that faced challenges. He names David, Joseph, Moses, and Jacob as contemporaries of those who experienced trials in the Christian ministry; nevertheless, God used their trails to prepare them for the jobs they were called to do; in this light, God will not use an individual unless he prepares and shapes the person to face the uncommon. The author uses muscular exercise as an analogy to explain to his audience the essence of crises in the life of the minister of God. Crises are instruments God uses to prepare an individual for greatness. In this discourse, sifting and the twelfth repeat, where sifting begins, and identifying the two greater days of your life will be highlighted using quotes from the textbook.
ANALYSIS AND RELEVANCY
He writes, “The real question, then, is not whether we will face failure. It is how well we will face it. How we respond to the challenges and trials in our lives and ministries makes all the difference in the world.” Failure is part of life situation; therefore, it is inevitable because failure serves as stepping stone for success. In ministry, challenges or trials of life will emerge; however, the manner one responds to challenges or trials that serve as variables for failure determination matters the most. Every great leaders or ministries experience failure as the result of the challenges faced that outweighed them; nevertheless, despite of these challenges, they still emerged victoriously. God did not call us to be successful; on the other hand, he has called us from the very beginning of time to be faithful. Our faithfulness before God is the direct product of our success in God. Success is defined in what we do daily when it comes to serving the Lord. Once we remain faithful before him in our services, we are predestined for success. Joshua writes, “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:6–8 NIV). Success in this life and life to come is never obtained outside of God. Our success and prosperity lie in obeying the word of God on the daily basis. Our failure to obey God is the direct result of our downfall in ministry or what we have been called or desire to do. We are commanded in scripture to keep the law of God on our lips and to obey it. This is the formula for success that demands our faithfulness in the service of God. Not only has God called us to exercise faith in the face of challenges, but he promised us that sifting helps to develop our faith in God and therefore releases the harvest we need after we have remained faithful in his service.
He writes, “You may be in a season of sifting, and if you respond correctly, this session can be every bit as important as the time of harvest. Sifting builds the muscle of our faith, giving us the caliber of strength we will need for what lies just around the corner. Scripture tells us that the challenges we face in life happen for a reason, and the process of sifting refines us, revealing our weaknesses, exposing our self-dependence and inviting us to greater faith in God and greater dependence on his promises. Our prayer during this time is not that we will avoid being sifted, but that we will navigate the process well, and after we’ve survived our faith will be ratified. Every time, we are faced with challenges, it becomes the season of God sifting and shaping us. During this time, God processes us through the furnace so that we can become like gold that has gone through the fire of purification. In this light, our weaknesses are revealed and our self-dependence is exposed so that we can have greater faith in God. Faith is known when the will of God is revealed through our situation. In the event of being sifted and shaped, we are ignited spiritually where we receive revelation that could be translated into God given vision. We become burdened with such vision and we are under obligation spiritually to carry out no matter what it takes. I can remember some 20 years ago when God gave me the vision of the Ministry called Praise Ministries International. I was consumed with the burden to the extent that nothing could stop me to carry out the mandate despite on being a refugee in the foreign land; in this light, the below listed quotation resonates with my experience in the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea. He writes, “Can you remember where you were when you first sensed God’s call to lead a church, serve in pastoral ministry, plant a church, or be strategic member of a church planting team? The call was likely very real, vivid, and powerful. God invited you to dream big dream for him, and you sensed God raising you up to do a mighty work for the honor of his name. I’m betting that you could not wait to get started on this large, kingdom-oriented adventure.”
The downside of the call is when the church planter starts the church, and the numerical growth of the church is alarming; as the result, the tendency of discouragement might step in and make the church planter to want to leave the ministry. On the other hand, the other church planter that have the same qualification of the one whose numerical growth is alarming might be succeeding numerically when it comes to growth in term of numbers. Both the church planters are faithful despite of what both are experiencing. The question is asked: Which church planter would you want to become? The below listed quotation resonates with the true incidence in the book stated below:
He concludes, “Are you wrestling with the answer to that right now? You see, theologically we can reason out this question and agree that both leaders are being faithful to their calling, that God measures success by faithfulness and not by numbers. We might say that in God’s eyes, both of these leaders are equally successful. And I believe that’s right. Both of these leaders have been faithful to the work God has called them to do. But here is harder question, the question that reveals our heart. Which one would you rather be?”
Evangelism or church planting in the midst of scared resources coupled with ministerial disputes in the church is one of the challenges a church planter will have to contend with. The incidence in the book resonates with our experience in planting churches in Liberia where the country’s economy system lacks equilibrium resulting into high inflation. The materials in the book have been written from practical experiences the Pastor has encountered in ministry while leading the church. The two individuals’ experiences indicated as the analogies with respect to church’s growth and faithfulness are real life experiences church leaders experience while leading new churches. Indeed the materials contained in the book are relevant to ministry.
Hughes, Kent and Huges, Barbara. Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2008.
How does one measure success in ministry? The question is answered in this book practically based on the experience of the author. The author advises his audience to turn and to depend on God. As one goes through this book, one sees success being defined in various arrays of life situations in ministry with reference to dedication disconnect from the worldly view point. Success realistically is defined scripturally not based on fame, but what one does faithfully before God daily. Success is practically defined in the book with reference to faithfulness in what God has called the believer to be and to do. To be, is directly proportionally related to your obedience in term of character formation that reflects God of what you are. It is the state of your existence (holiness). To do, is what defines your works in the kingdom of God. God has called us to pray, to win souls for him, to plant churches, to evangelize etc. These are encapsulated in what we are called to do (works). God has called us to be holy in everything we do; therefore, to be, is to be dedicated in expressing the holiness of God of what we do to be like him. To give the main idea in the book, I have selected two words used in the book to define success. Success is predicated referencing these words (faithfulness and serving) that resonates with the quotations from the book.
ANALYSIS AND RELEVANCY
He writes, “This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful (1 Cor. 4:1–2). It is imperative that we fully understand this principle and take it to heart if we are to escape the seductive clutches of the success syndrome.”
The worldly view with relative to success by definition and in practice is quite different or disconnect from the biblical or theological view point. Success is defined with reference to one’s obligation in the kingdom of God. It has to do with fulfilling our stewardship responsibility before God; in this light, it states that those who have been entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed must be proven faithful. In this regard, the writer states that in order to escape the seductive clutches of the success syndrome, we must understand what success means when it comes to the Godly view. He defines success of being faithful before God. What we do daily in Christian service defines what success is; therefore, success is the product of our services performed in the kingdom of God; by definition, success is predicated of what we are. We are called to live holy life, to pray, to serve people, to evangelize, to plant churches, and the list continues. If we adhere to faithfully execute these things, success is right at our door. Worldly success is quite different from biblical or Godly success. The biblical character defines success in this manner: “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful (Joshua 1:6–8 NIV).
Not only has God called us to be faithful, but he has called us to be humble. Humility is expressed in serving others in the kingdom of God. Humility is expressed in servant hood ministry. Every humble person enjoys serving others; on the contrary, the pride individual will want to be served instead of serving others. In the following quotation, Brengle has been a boss for so long in his company controlling employees. He happened to enter the ship wherein he was assigned to clean the boots of the trainees; as the result, he got discouraged due to the nature of the assignment he has received; notwithstanding, the Lord was teaching him humility after which he received a revelation from the Lord. His experience with the Lord humbled him to polish trainees’ shoes after cleaning them. The Lord was calling him to serve instead of being served. The writer explains the incidence in the following quotation: He writes, “You’ve been your own boss so long.” And in order to instill humility in Brengle, he set him to work cleaning the boots of other trainees. Discouraged, Brengle said to himself, “Have I followed my own fancy across the Atlantic in order to black boots”? And then, an in a vision, he saw Jesus bending over the feet of rough, unlettered fishermen. “Lord,” he whispered, “you washed their feet; I will black their shoes.”
When we become pride, the Lord can sift, shape, and humble us. The Lord has called us to be faithful in his service; therefore, we have a general call from the Lord to serve no matter our status or the positions we hold in the church, at the place of employment, in our homes, in the school we attend. This book is relevant to Christian ministry and to the minister of God whom God has called into the ministry.
Ash, Christopher. Zeal without Burnout: Seven Keys to a Lifelong Ministry of Sustainable Sacrifice. New Malden: The Good Book Company, 2016.
Many ministers or pastors leave ministry as the result of burnout; in this regard, the author discusses the seven keys of overcoming burnout in the ministry. The need for ministers or pastors to know these keys is crucial to effective continued functioning in the Christian ministry. Knowledge is power; therefore, knowing these keys and recognizing burnout in the ministry indicates the red flag informing the minister to take off and have rest for recovery. Burnout should not be ignored or taken for granted in the ministry because it can lead a minister to become ineffective and therefore withdraw from the works of God. To explain the relevancy of knowing burnout in the ministry and taking appropriate action, three selected headings have been adopted that resonate with the quotations that substantiate them. To avoid burnout, the minister of God needs sleep, needs the Sabbath rest, and the inward renewal. It is Advisable that the minister of God takes vacation to deal with the issue of burnout.
ANALYSIS AND RELEVANCY
He writes, “He is ever watchful, ever wakeful; he never needs to doze off and never loses his watchfulness for a nano second. This is a wonderful assurance. But you and I do need sleep; it is a fundamental mark of our mortality. If we neglect this, we are implicitly claiming an affinity with God that mortals should never claim.” There is a tendency ministers have with regards to ministry’s works to continually work without rest. We are humans; therefore, we cannot ignore the science of our existence. Human being needs sleep and according to science, sleep is the best kind of rest. The decision to deprive one from sleep is not healthy biologically for the living organisms. Human needs sleep; therefore, pastors or church planters are advised to take rest from the pastoral or church planting activity. Working continually without taking rest indicates that we want to measure out with God who does not sleep. God does not sleep because he needs to watch over his creation to keep it running according to his plan. If we human beings refuse to sleep, we implicitly claim an affinity with God that mortality should never claim. Sleep is necessary for good health and alertness that are necessary for the job performance. Our productivity in the ministry will maximize when we have had enough rest before resuming another tasks. It is also recommended that during burnout, we are required to take Sabbath rest. This is time we involve ourselves in meditation, reading of scriptures, and praying in the solitary place. The following quotation deliberates on the Sabbath rest referencing humanity and God. He writes, “The “rest” of God in Genesis 2 does not mean he takes a break from governing the universe; it is the rest of having completed the creation he has made. But God works tirelessly to sustain creation, to feed creation, and to govern creation by his providence. He does not sleep and he does not take Sabbath rests. But we must. If we neglect this, we are implicitly claiming an affinity with God that mortals cannot claim.”
Based on the nature of our being disconnects from God’s nature of being, we are recommended to take Sabbath rest as God did after the creation of the world. The rest of God does not resonate with our rest based on the nature of his being. He is God; therefore, he does not actually need rest; on the contrary, we are human; therefore, we need rest in order to recuperate. If we neglect to take Sabbath rest, we implicitly claim affinity with God that mortals cannot claim; in this light, we should take rest to minimize the impact of burnout to allow us do the works of ministry effectively and efficiently. Not only are we recommended to take Sabbath rest, but we are also recommended in scriptures to renew ourselves inwardly. He writes, “So as creatures of dust, we need sleep, Sabbaths, and friendship. God needs none of these. The final need I want to focus on for us as human beings is inward renewal. Just as we need food and water to keep our bodies physically alive, so we need the inward renewal of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives. What I mean is this: as a creature born from above, a man or woman in Christ, I am no longer merely dust; I am dust in whom the Spirit of Christ lives. Although the outward me is disintegrating, heading downwards inexorably towards returning to dust, ageing, weakening, losing my power and faculties there is within me the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8 v 10–11).”
The three keys recommended for burnout in this discourse are vital and sustainable tools to reduce the impact of burnout in the ministry which should not be under looked or taken for granted in the ministry. The keys discussed are relevant to the Christian ministry and to the life of the minister of God.
Pastor Jallah Yelorbah Koiyan, M.Div, Founder, Praise Ministries International, Inc
Bob Russel, After 50 Years of Ministry 7 Things I’D Do Differently and 7 Things I’D Do the Same. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2016, 16.
Michael Black, Pressing on Finishing Well: Learning from Seven Biblical Characters. Scotland: Christian Focus Publishing Ltd, 2019, 13.
Keith Drury, Soul Shaper: Becoming the Person God Wants You to Be. Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2013, 83.
 Ibid., 154.
Harold Myra Shelley Marshall, The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham. Grand Rapids: Christianity Today International, 2005, 19.
David W Henderson, Tranquility: Cultivating a Quiet Soul in a Busy World. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2015, 2.
MaCDonald, Gordon. Building Below the Waterline. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2011, 5.
Cordeiro, Wayne. Sifted: Pursuing Growth through Trials, Challenges, and Disappointments. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012, 11.
Hughes, Kent and Huges, Barbara. Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2008, 35.
Ash, Christopher. Zeal without Burnout: Seven Keys to a Lifelong Ministry of Sustainable Sacrifice. New Malden: The Good Book Company, 2016, 47.