Last week, we began our series on The Pastor’s Responsibility. Our text was in Acts 6:1-5a
Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.
And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
I pointed out last week that these two pillars of the pastor’s ministry are paramount. All other responsibilities must revolve around these two — prayer and ministry of the word and prayer.
In the KJV, verse 4 says:
But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
I like the KJV rendering because it gives a clearer sense of the Greek meaning of the phrase. The ESV translates that devote. The Greek word for it is proskartereo (say that fast three times). It means to be earnest towards or constantly diligent.
The call elucidated by Peter in Acts is echoed throughout Scripture:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:1-2)
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. (Titus 2:1)
Teaching has gotten a bad rap today. Pastor’s today have an aversion to teaching because they feel it’s too academic. Too bland. They conjure up pictures of high school chemistry class then project that onto their congregation who end up thinking the same way. So quite often, they skip teaching altogether in favor of motivational vignettes, conversational exchanges, or emotional theatrics. That’s not teaching nor preaching. They’re religious gimmicks when all its meant to do is hold a person’s interest. It’s not our job to hold their interest. That’s God’s job. If they have no hunger for hearing the preaching and teaching of God’s word, no amount of religious gimmicks will work for the long term. It is a temporary salve to an immature mind.
Teaching and preaching are part of our call. They are cornerstones of our calling. There is no divorcing one from the other, believing we can skip one or the other because we think we know what the people want. What they want doesn’t matter. It’s what they need that matters and God has said plainly without stuttering, they need teaching and preaching. He has placed that responsibility in our laps.
What is the difference between preaching and teaching? Not much. They are interconnected and intertwined in a spiritual synergy.
Preaching literally means to “speak forth” or proclaim. To herald. The Greek word is kerusso. To teach means to instruct so that the people may learn. Greek word didasko. A third is to speak the word. To utter it. To tell it. Greek word laleo.
All three need to be happening every Sunday in our pulpits or we fail to fulfill our call as the Lord’s shepherds. Our teaching should be preached. Our instruction should be proclaimed, heralded, and spoken to the people of God.
Next week, we’ll take a look at how this concept plays out in everyday life in other areas and how that affects pastors as shepherds and leaders.