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What is expected of a pastor

REPORTS ON THE CHINESE ANNUAL CONFERENCE AND TRINITY ANNUAL CONFERENCE BY PETER TEO AND EARNEST LAU

29TH SESSION OF CHINESE ANNUAL CONFERENCE: NOV 16-19, 2004

Bishop’s sermon at CAC Ordination Service

PASTORS are servants of Christ, stewards of God’s revelation, and spiritual fathers (and mothers) of the family of God, said Bishop Dr Robert Solomon.

Giving his take on “Being A Pastor” at the Installation of the President, Ordination and Closing Service of the 29th Session of the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) at Queenstown Chinese Methodist Church on Nov 19, 2004, he added that pastors are to have:

• Commitment and faithfulness to God as His servants and stewards;
• Christ-like character; and
• A competent ministry of shepherd-ing and mentoring in the churches.

Bishop Dr Solomon installed the Rev Khoo Cheng Hoot as President of the CAC. The Rev Khoo was re-elected President for a second term of office on the first day of the conference session on Nov 16.

Following the installation, the Bishop ordained three Deacons – Pastors Louis Chai Shung Chee, Chin Yan Chong and Susan Lim Bee Yong – and an Elder, the Rev Erick Tan Eng Ghee.

Pastors, the Bishop said, are the under-lings of Christ. “We are servants more than captains. This is both a comfort and chal-lenge. The comfort is that we are ultimately not accountable to human critics. The chal-lenge is that we are accountable to Christ who knows our hearts.”

And, he warned, all pastors are tempted to be lazy because “we are often unseen and unsupervised”.

Preaching on the Scripture text taken from 1 Corinthians 4:1-17, Bishop Dr Solo-mon stressed that pastors are essentially teachers, and they are to teach what has been entrusted to them. “We pastors are called to preach and teach the Word of God. We need to be faithful.

“Pastors are called to a ministry of ex-position, not entertainment. We are to be warm containers of divine treasure. We must be touched and transformed by the message. It is a high calling to be a preacher of the Word.”

As servants and stewards, pastors would be judged – by men, by the self, and by God.

On man’s judgment, he said there would be the question of “what others think of you, there would be the issue of pleasing people, and there would be social expectations”.

As for self-judgment or self-evaluation, there is a thin line between clear conscience and a self-righteousness attitude.

But God’s judgment is the judgment that ultimately matters. “Divine will is more important than desire and duty.”

He warned pastors and church leaders to beware of two things – popularity and power.

“Popularity and faithfulness do not sit easily together. Wesley identified two sins – pleasing ourselves and pleasing others. “We must realise our impotence and weakness. Only then will we realise His presence and power.”

Bishop Dr Solomon told the congre-gation that Paul was the missionary founder of the church. Paul became like a father to the church through the Gospel.

Fathers have authority, but Paul’s authority was not based on status or skills, but on spirituality. Paul was also a model disciple and servant, and a mentor.

“We need spiritual parents in church, not burnt-out pastors,” he said.

And emphasising the importance of pastors spending time praying and com-muning with God, he encouraged the congregation to “allow your pastors to spend more time with God studying the Word and preparing to preach well”.

A HIGH CALLING

‘Pastors are called to a ministry of exposition, not entertainment. We are to be warm containers of divine treasure. We must be touched and transformed by the message. It is a high calling to be a preacher of the Word.’

— Bishop Dr Solomon.

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