It amazes me the misconceptions some have concerning ministry. One student walked into my office at Roswell Street and said, “It must be nice to get paid to study the Bible.” Since then, he has entered the ministry. He has now discovered that ministry is a multi-faceted, high and holy calling that demands everything a man is. Jess Moody described it this way: “Pastoring is like trying to nail jell-o to a tree.”
A minister must march to the beat of a different drummer. He must have the hide of a rhinoceros and the heart of a lamb. The trouble comes when time, toil and tribulations harden his hide and his heart. A man of God must have “gospel guts.” Charlie Draper wrote, “Keep your head down, powder dry and sit with your back to the wall!” It’s important to have a good sense of humor in the ministry. If you don’t, you’ll become cynical.
As I visit in our community, I’ve listened to Christians who are concerned about churches not teaching the truth. There is a hunger for solid biblical truth! I am grateful to God for biblical thinkers who make no excuses or apologies. There is a falling away from the faith that was “once for all delivered to the saints.” The need of the hour is not devotionals, but sound doctrine. Think of what cities could be if every pulpit preached the Word without apology.
We live in a society of itching ears. Ministers are encouraged to not rock the boat or to go along with the status quo. God calls us to distinctive ministry. Popularity has killed more prophets than persecution and pressure. Fear of men is the hangman’s noose for a preacher. A true pastor must not only feed the flock, but also warn the flock.
We do that best when we preach expositionally and let the text speak for itself. The Word is not changed by time, culture, opinion polls or tradition. God gave ten commandments, not ten suggestions. A pastor cannot allow his people to become so tired with church busyness that they have no time for church business. A church that isn’t evangelistic and missional is not a church. When a church is fishing for men, it doesn’t have time for feuding, fighting and fussing. Ministry takes priority over meetings.
I’ll close with a profound thought from Dr. Havner: “Preaching the truth makes people either sad, mad or glad. Too many people today leave church on Sunday neither sad, mad nor glad; they go out as they came in.”
(copyright Michael Catt, All Rights Reserved)
Michael served as the President of the Large Church Roundtable, the Southern Baptist Convention as an IMB Trustee, President of the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Preaching Conference, Vice President of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and President of the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference. He has spoken at conferences, colleges, seminaries, rallies, camps, NBA and college chapel services, well as The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Michael is the recipient of The Martin Luther King Award, The MLK Unity Award, and a Georgia Senate Resolution in recognition of his work in the community and in racial reconciliation.
Michael and his wife, Terri, have two grown daughters, Erin and Hayley.