1) Saturate your preaching and conversation with Bible truth.

If, as Paul says, those Old Testament stories were given to us as examples, then we should use them that way. When you are addressing deacons, elders, students or any group in the church, learn to work in Bible narratives and show how they apply to everyday life and decisions.

2) Address the situations that everyone is talking about.

Do not, in the name of being faithful, stick to your preaching plan so rigidly that you fail to speak truth into significant events that shock or affect the sensibilities of your congregation. The death of a local teenager, the closing of the town’s largest employer or a 9/11-type national tragedy all demand biblical answers to the questions in everyone’s mind. Show them how the Word of God addresses those types of events and how the gospel is the ultimate need.

3) Make them fall in love with Jesus.

Being in ministry means learning to live with the disappointment of people. Sometimes you will genuinely let them down because of your shortcomings and failures, and sometimes they will have unrealistic expectations. If you build your ministry on yourself and on your abilities, this disillusionment — both yours and theirs — will be crippling. If, on the other hand, you show them that Jesus is the only one who never disappoints, that our hope is in him and that he alone is our standard and our strength, then their hope rests on Christ alone. Talk constantly about Jesus, about his attributes and about his grace and truth. We see more of God’s glory in Christ than Moses ever saw on Sinai. Jesus is lovely and he is ours.

4) Pivot to the gospel.

Just as all the Scripture ultimately relates to Christ, so does all of life and knowledge. Ministry is usually done in the context of hurt, tragedy, sin and sin’s effects. In every one of those situations, comfort the hurting with soothing words of genuine pastoral affection, but find the way to turn toward how the gospel addresses this kind of situation with redemption, salvation, forgiveness and the resurrection.

5) Stay there.

If you want a church to be saturated with truth, then stay there and walk through life with them. It takes time to lay the foundation, and more time to build the superstructure. Plant your life. Show them what a gospel-centered marriage and family looks like. Preach the Word — both testaments, law and gospel, all genres, creation, fall, longing, fulfillment, consummation. They won’t get that strategic grasp of the scriptures from six consecutive pastors, but they might from one who stays and lives life in community with them.

 

**EDITOR’S NOTE: Hershael W. York is Victor and Louise Lester Professor of Christian Preaching at Southern Seminary and senior pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort, Ky. 

_____________

Hershael York serves as professor of Christian preaching at Southern Seminary. He is also pastoring Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort Ky. You can connect with Dr. York on Twitter.

 

See also: