The priority of your pastor

From Mark Dever’s and Paul Alexander’s work: “The Deliberate Church” (Crossway, 2005)

When I was interviewing with Capitol Hill Baptist Church before they called me to be their pastor, someone asked me if I had a program or plan to implement for growth. Perhaps to this person’s surprise . . . I responded that I didn’t really have any great plans or programs to implement. I was just armed with four P’s – I would preach, pray, develop personal discipling relationships, and be patient.

Maybe even more surprising to some, I said that I was happy to see
every aspect of my public ministry fail if it needed to . . . except
for the preaching of God’s Word. Now what kind of a thing is that for
a pastoral candidate to say to a church? What I wanted to get across was that there’s only one thing that’s biblically necessary for
building the church, and that’s the preached Word of God. Others could do every other duty, but only I was responsible and set apart by the congregation for the public teaching of God’s Word. This would be the fountain of our spiritual life, both as individuals and as a
congregation.

God’s Word has always been His chosen instrument to create, convict, convert, and conform His people. . . .

The Gospel is God’s way of giving life to dead sinners – and to dead
churches (Ezek. 37:1-14). He doesn’t have another way. If we want to
work for renewed life and health and holiness in our churches, then we must work for it according to God’s revealed mode of operation.
Otherwise we risk running in vain. God’s Word is His supernatural
power for accomplishing His supernatural work. That’s why our
eloquence, innovations, and programs are so much less important than we think; that’s why we as pastors must give ourselves to preaching, not programs; and that’s why we need to be teaching our congregations
to value God’s Word over programs. Preaching the content and intent of
God’s Word is what unleashes the power of God on the people of God,
because God’s power for building His people is in His Word,
particularly as we find it in the Gospel (Rom. 1:16). God’s Word
builds His church. So preaching His Gospel is primary.

Mark Dever and Paul Alexander, The Deliberate Church: Building Your
Ministry on the Gospel (Crossway, 2005), p. 33, 35.

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