Pastors challenged to embrace the times, remain faithfulby C. Walter Overman
Joe Brown, former pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, opened day two of the North Carolina Pastor’s Conference by calling pastors to consider carefully what it means to be called by God to preach in modern times.
He cautioned pastors about the dangers of becoming discouraged during an era of widespread sin and godlessness, and called pastors to consider it a privilege to preach even in these difficult times. “I believe you were born to preach. I believe God made you for the day we are living in right now,” Brown said. “That is a great and high calling.”
Brown urged pastors to remain faithful to their calling to preach the gospel, to correct and rebuke sin, and to call people to repentance. He said pastors who are faithful with that message will see lives transformed. “In the currency of heaven, the value of your preaching and your church is determined by the lives that are changed,” Brown said.
Don Bouldin, interim pastor of First Baptist Church Marshville, encouraged pastors to remain relevant without conforming to society, as the sweeping changes in society have disturbed many pastors to the point of despair. “Change is an absolute fact of life. The complicated factor to this day is the speed of change,” Bouldin said. “Who would have thought 50 years ago that the culture God called us to minister to would have the kind of things that we have today?”
Echoing the words of Brown, Bouldin said this is no time for pastors to despair, but to recognize that God has called them for this time in history. “This is the time that God placed us on the scene. God gave us the good news of Jesus Christ to proclaim to all the earth right now.”
He asked pastors to remain faithful to their calling and to recognize that the church must take the gospel to the culture without compromise.
“Preaching with relevance simply means nothing more than telling the truth of what God has done in our world,” Bouldin said. “The most relevant sermon you will ever preach will focus on Jesus Christ.”
Mike Whitson, pastor of First Baptist Church Indian Trail, spoke to pastors about the role they can have in bringing about spiritual revival in the United States. Whitson said spiritual revival must begin with faithful men who have been called to preach God’s Word.
“I am convinced with all my heart that God is looking for leaders with convictions and leaders who will stand on those convictions,” he said.
Speaking from Philippians 3, Whitson shared several characteristics that godly men must possess in order to bring about revival. Above all, a man of God must seek to know God intimately, and should evaluate how well he knows God not by his education or experience, but by the factors that motivate and lead to action.
“What you live for, and what you love, is what will put the energy in your life,” Whitson said. “Is the real purpose to grow a bigger church or to know God?”
Whitson added that God is looking for godly men who are willing to confess and repent of sin, serve God unconditionally, be consistent in prayer, study God’s Word and strive to finish well.
“God is not looking for extraordinary people,” Whitson said. “He is looking for extraordinary faith.”