The leaders of a local church are to follow the model of a shepherd. The pastors and elders serve as a team to feed, lead, protect, care, and model Christlikeness for the flock. Feeding the flock through preaching and teaching must remain the #1 priority of the pastors and elders. The presence or absence of good preaching can keep a church healthy or speed its decline.
Pastor and blogger Tim Challies explains this fact in two insightful blog posts.
“Destroy a church in 4 simple steps” looks at four principles found in 2 Timothy 4. (1) Reject truth; (2) Reject truth-tellers; (3) Embrace false teachers; and (4) Embrace false doctrine will lead to the decline and downfall of a local church.
“Protect your church in one easy step” explains how preaching (2 Timothy 4:2) will keep a church on the right track. “The church that remains faithful to God is the church that remains faithful to the Word of God.” We should (1) Preach expositorily—“Preach the Word”; (2) Preach persistently—“Be ready in season and out of season”; (3) Preach practically—“Reprove, rebuke, exhort”; (4) Preach patiently—“with complete patience …”; and (5) Preach doctrinally—“…and teaching.”
Looking to a future in which people will not tolerate the truth, Paul tells Timothy to remain faithful to his central calling: To lead the church with and through the Word of God. It was Paul’s charge to Timothy 2,000 years ago and today that same charge goes out to you and to me. As God’s people living in that age of itching ears, we must remain confident in and committed to nothing less than the faithful, week by week preaching of God’s precious Word.
Good advice and well worth following. It certainly resonates with my values and convictions.