By Ken Blue
Bible colleges may be turning out good men who can preach, but most of them get an “F” when it comes to producing men who know how to pastor. One of the reasons for this failure is that none of the teachers or professors are pastors themselves; they are only textbook educators.
The dictionary definition of “preaching” is to deliver a sermon. However, Vines says the “pastor” is: “a shepherd, one who tends herds or flocks” (not merely one who feeds them), is used metaphorically of Christian “pastors,” Eph. 4:11. “Pastors” guide as well as feed the flock; cp. Acts 20:28, which, with ver. 17, indicates that this was the service committed to elders (overseers or bishops); —Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Preaching then, is one part of pastoring. It is the feeding aspect of the ministry.
If a young man thinks winning a soul to Christ or standing on the street corner preaching will qualify him to pastor; he is in for a rude awaking once he becomes the pastor. To be sure, soul winning and preaching are vital parts of the ministry, but they are just a part of it. I personally know many young men who are outstanding preachers and great soul winners, but their church never grows beyond 15 people. The number one reason for this is their lack of pastoring skills.
On the other hand, I know men who pastor large churches; but they are not outstanding preachers or teachers. The average response to this fact, by those who have not learned to pastor, is that those pastors with the larger churches are not giving the flock biblical meat; while the reason his own church is not growing is because the people can’t take strong Bible preaching.
If a pastor is killing his flock with strong meat, wouldn’t he be wise to feed them milk until they are mature enough for the meat? If you are adding new converts to your church each week, your task is to bring them from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity. This takes time, patience, and know-how. How do you get a person from where he is spiritually to where you want him to be spiritually? That is what pastoring is all about. Your deep sermons, alone, will not do it.
I recommend that a young man work for a pastor who knows how to pastor his flock. He should commit to at least five years and involve himself, over time, in every aspect of the ministry. If you can’t learn the things you need in Bible College; learn them from a pastor who is building a good church.
Finally, let me assure you that I do not believe a church is spiritual because it is large or small. However, some smaller churches could increase in members and maturity if the pastor would determine to learn all he can about pastoring and leadership. He must understand that preaching ability and pastoring are two completely different things.
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.