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Pollard: Ministers must remain confident when preaching gospel

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–To be a great man for God, a Christian minister should always remember where he came from, know why he is preaching the gospel and continuously point to Christ as the one whom he has come to proclaim, Frank Pollard said Nov. 9 at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Pollard, pastor of First Baptist Church, Jackson, Miss., used John the Baptist in John 1:6 as an example of “a great Baptist,” and a role model for the man of God.

“There was greatness in him (John the Baptist) the Scriptures tell us,” Pollard said. “Wherever you are the rest of your life, I pray it is a place that you can say with confidence, ‘God put me here.’

“For there will be times in ministry when you are challenged and you [will] need to be like Moses to be able to stand and say to Pharoah, ‘I am here because God sent me and God put me here.'”

Pollard said a minister needs to always be aware of his calling so that when he is buffeted by doubt and Satanic attack, his confidence will be in God and not in himself.

Said Pollard, “I pray that as you get up on Sunday and Satan begins to say those things [like], ‘What right do you have to tell anybody anything?’ or ‘Who are you to have a right to preach to people?’ or ‘Look at what you’ve done, look at who you are, look at how much of a sinful person you are.’ And you can say, ‘I am here because God put me here.’ You will be like John the Baptist because he was a man who knew where he came from.”

Pollard spoke of the many changes that enter a person’s life from year to year. He compared life’s ever-changing nature to the IBM Corporation, a company that recruited him after Pollard completed a business degree.

In those days, IBM’s most advanced machines were calculators and punch-card mechanisms. In the years since, IBM has become a leading player in the age of microcomputer. Though changes can come to ministry that are just as profound as those at IBM, a minister must keep God at the center, Pollard said.

“The changes that come in life are a lot like that,” he said. “But the person who has real confidence and gets through it is not the person that has self-confidence. That is a fake kind of confidence. The real person with confidence is the one who has God-confidence, who knows that God has put him there and that he is following God.”

Pollard also held up the apostle Paul as an example of a biblical persona who stayed true to his calling despite undergoing massive persecution and opposition. Following his conversion on the road to Damascus, Paul preached the gospel without regard for his own safety and prosperity because he was a man who knew his mission, Pollard said.

Pollard said he could imagine Paul sharing the gospel with the executioner as the apostle was led from prison to be martyred just moments later. He urged ministers to be willing to keep the same sort of intense focus on the mission of spreading the gospel.

“There is power in knowing what you came for,” he said.

Pollard recalled an event at Southern Seminary several years ago in which Billy Graham was preaching. Pollard himself was scheduled to speak just ahead of the famous evangelist who, as the featured speaker, was to close the meeting. But prior to the beginning of the service, Graham approached Pollard and asked him to go last.

When Pollard gave an altar call, he said Graham was the first to respond.

Said Pollard, “He got on his face, not on his knees, but on his face at this altar and I could hear him praying, ‘Oh, God, use me for your honor and your glory.’ This was at the peak of his (Graham’s) popularity. I pray we’d all do that, that we’ll all decide to follow a man who knew where he came from, who knew what he came for, and knew who to point to.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: FRANK POLLARD.

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  • Jeff Robinson

    Jeff Robinson is director of news and information at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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