FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Pointing to an epidemic of moral failures among pastors and other ministers, an Austin pastor challenged seminarians to re-examine what it takes to minister and asked them to rededicate themselves to following God’s call in their lives.
The moral failures of pastors and ministers is so commonplace that “it doesn’t even surprise us anymore when we hear about another one going down,” said Kie Bowman, pastor of Hyde Park Baptist Church, during Fall Revival at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, Sept. 5-8.
At the end of Bowman’s Thursday chapel, scores of students responded to his invitation to come and kneel at the altar “to say I will take up my cross daily and follow my Lord.” People crowded around the altar, and the aisles were filled with people responding to the invitation.
During his messages, Bowman described the revival’s theme “Our Desire for His Fire,” as “just a simple passion for the glory and the power of God.”
Addressing the student body, Bowman reminded them not to neglect prayer while pursuing their education.
“Work on your theology but master your prayer life,” Bowman said. “You can become a prince in the pulpit, but you need to become a king in the closet of prayer.”
Bowman also outlined a “job description” for the twenty-first century minister.
Drawing on the text of John 9, Bowman said the motivation for a minister “is a simple one … and that is people need the Lord. That’s out motivation.”
Bowman went on to say that that motivation makes ministry more than just a simple job that starts and ends at a certain time – ministers are on the job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.
“If the only time you are going to really do the work of evangelism, and the work of God and the work of ministry is from 9 to 5 … you ought to pack up and go home right now,” Bowman said. “God doesn’t even need that type of laborer in his field. We have had enough of that already.”
He added that ministers should not be motivated by power or prestige.
“Forget about it, those days are gone,” Bowman said. “When the mayor and the city council starts making their decisions, they’re not going to call your office and say, ‘Pastor, what do you think we ought to do?’ That’s not going to happen.”
Ministers should also lay aside being motivated by finances, he continued.
“If you’re doing this for the money, then there’s just about a thousand other things that you could do to get more money,” Bowman added.
He warned ministers to stay away from the “blame game” in which today’s ministers tend to blame sinful people for the problems of the world.
“Let’s understand this, sinners are never the problem for a minister,” Bowman said. “You exist for sinners.”
Bowman also cautioned the students against limiting their ministries to a particular demographic.
“You and I better be real careful deciding, ‘Well, I am going to be a Gen X minister,'” Bowman said. “You better target lost people who need Jesus.”
On Friday, Bowman focused on discouragement that he said will come in every minister’s life.
“You and I might as well admit the fact that if our Lord could go to the Garden of Gethsemane and say, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,’ then you and I cannot say with some kind of arrogance that we would never be discouraged in ministry,” Bowman said.
As a means to help defeat discouragement, Bowman challenged all students to make daily Bible reading a top priority.
“Folks, I want you to make a commitment today,” Bowman said. “It’s a real simple commitment … that you’ll read the Word of God everyday from now on for the rest of your life and never miss a day.
“Make the Word of God your light, your guide, your lamp, make it your life. If you stay in the Word of God, God will mark your ministry as a successful ministry.”
In closing out the 4-day revival, Bowman told the students they can take heart in troubled times because God is with them. Drawing from Joshua 1 where the Israelites were instructed to “be strong and take courage” because the Lord was with them, Bowman pointed out God is always on the team of a minister.
“God is on your side,” Bowman said. “God is rooting for you. He says it like this, ‘I will be with you, I will never leave you, and I will never forsake you.’ God said I will be with you wherever you go. God is with you.”