Prayer and ministry of the Word: Core of pastoral ministry

Bishop Dr Solomon congratulating the Rev Isaac Raju after he had been ordained as a Deacon. Looking on are ETAC President Rev James Nagulan (partly hidden) and District Superintendent Rev R. Prabhu. – Methodist Message picture by DANIEL LIE.

IT IS NO SMALL THING to serve the Living God, and the core of pastoral ministry is prayer and the ministry of the Word.

Stating this, Bishop Dr Robert Solomon added that pastoral ministry is an especially heavy responsibility and a great privilege.
“We need great models to discover and maintain the great dignity of the office. ere are many models, but Jesus Christ is the greatest model.”

The Bishop was speaking at the Closing-cum-Ordination Service of the 36th Session of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) at the Tamil Methodist Church on Nov 12, 2011. His sermon was based on the text from 1 Samuel 12:23; 3:10-21.

Speaking in Tamil, interspersed with English, he stressed the great importance of prayer – a relationship with God. A pastor’s main task is to pray, he said. “Every time we pray, we pray with Jesus. What a great privilege! What we need today are pastors well versed in Scripture. A pastor has to spend time digging deep into God’s Word so that when he stands on the pulpit, people will know that this is a man who knows God’s Word.”

On the ministry of the Word, the Bishop said that one of the things that characterised Samuel’s ministry was that he fed on God’s Word. e Lord revealed Himself to Samuel through His Word (3:21). True ministry of the Word comes from diligent study of and obedience to God’s Word.

“Samuel did not have the Bible as we have today. But he had the Law of Moses. is was a man who knew his God very well.”

The Bishop said the Lord is saying, “Let my pastors study the Word”, “let my pastors grow”, “let my pastors go, don’t imprison them with unnecessary programmes and activities”.

Turning to Pastor Isaac Raju Vedamuthu, who was being ordained as a Deacon, the Bishop said: “Remember your calling. Just to have the title Reverend is already a blessing. Work diligently with dignity and humility, and in partnership with the clergy and lay.”