Refreshing Words for Ministers of the Gospel of God’s Grace

2 May

Dr. Chapell

This past Monday and Tuesday evening, I had the opportunity to attend the evening plenary sessions of the RHMA’s 20th Annual Small-Town Pastor’s Conference held in Morton, Illinois.  In these sessions I had the privilege of sitting under the teaching of Dr. Bryan Chapell, former president of Covenant Seminary and current senior pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria.  Not only was it a joy to hear someone who has been specially blessed in his preaching abilities (as Dr. Chapell has), or to hear two Christ-centered messages from the Old Testament (something I am particularly passionate about), but it was refreshing to hear the things Dr. Chapell had to say to pastors young and old, those just beginning in ministry and those who have labored for decades.  Below are some of my notes from each night:

Monday Night (Judges 6-8)

-You never get to a point in ministry where there is no longer a risk.

-Even when you are full of fear, or feel as though you are useless, God is not done with you, and can and will use you.  Why?  Because the instruments of God are the weaknesses of humanity.

-Grace is not math. God will do whatever He must in order to get the hearts of His people.  This is His way, and by it, we will know it is the glory of God.

-There is hope for the useless.  That is Gospel truth!

Tuesday Night (Numbers 20:1-13)

-You cannot serve God and be god at the same time.

-If you cannot forgive, you cannot lead. 

-Most pastors don’t burn out from being overworked.  Most pastors burn out because they get mad.  If you cannot forgive, you will see your anger turn to bitterness, and bitterness burns through its container.

-There are three voices we can listen to in ministry: 1. The People; 2. Our own; 3. The Divine (God’s Word)

As I continue to prepare to serve as a minister of the Gospel in the local church, Dr. Chapell’s words prove invaluable.  Even now, there have been times when I’ve been afraid, felt useless or questioned the value of the work I’ve done, and I know there will be to such times in the future.  Yet, as Dr. Chapell reminded us, God will still use us to do the work He’s called us to.  God’s instruments are the weaknesses of humanity.  Thus, He will use us to boldly declare the Gospel of His grace–grace that will do whatever is necessary to get the hearts of His people–and to serve as undershepherds for His glory and the good of His people.

I thank God for people like Dr. Chapell and his Gospel-rich, grace soaked words of encouragement, hope, and challenge.

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