Local church should be the priority for pastors, says York at Pastor Well event
God is going to use pastors in many different ways during their ministries, so they need to know intimately the world of the church, said Hershael W. York at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Pastor Well event, December 3-4. York addressed a room of 30 current and future pastors at the event, drawing on his extensive pastoral ministry experience and biblical conviction.
York, who is the dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary, encouraged the men to be confident in their calling and commit themselves to the local church. York also serves as the senior pastor at Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort, Kentucky, and has taught preaching at Southern since 1997.
“The success of your ministry will depend on the sense of your calling,” York said. “Find a place as early as you can — [a place] where you can plant your life and stay there.”
During the event, York shared biblical truth and practical wisdom on several topics regarding pastoral Ministry. He addressed calling, leadership in public worship, deacons, leadership structure, finances, business, hospital visitation, weddings, funerals, and many other topics.
York focused on the topic of calling, which is a crucial step in the life of the pastor, he said. It is important for pastors to know that they called, which they discern by considering their desire, gifting, opportunity, the testimony of others in the local church, and the Word of God.
“Once you know you’re called, follow that calling,” York said. “Don’t give yourself a way out. Everything you are to do is for the purpose of you doing ministry.”
York also highlighted the role of a pastor’s wife and family in his ministry. Pastors need to remember that they share their ministry with their families; they will never do it alone.
“The greatest credibility I have at Buck Run is not that I have a Ph.D. in New Testament or that I am the dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary, but that I am married to Tanya York,” he said. “Your call to ministry is significant and it doesn’t involve just you.”
Quoting from the Pauline epistles and the Gospel of Matthew, York also explained the purpose and grounds for church discipline. The goal of church discipline is always restoration, he said, and the grounds for church discipline are gross immorality, doctrinal heresy, causing division, and the sin of an elder, according to York.
York spent nearly half of a day explaining the two important matters of Scriptural baptism and the Lord’s Supper, noting that they are related to one another.
“Baptism is a prerequisite [for] the Lord’s Supper,” he said. “Baptism does not complete your salvation; it demonstrates your for salvation.” York explained from the Scriptures that baptism requires the proper candidate (believers), mode (immersion), purpose (symbolic), and authority (church). York also examined the various positions of closed communion, close communion, and open communion.
York ended the Pastor Well event with an explanation of weddings and funerals. He emphasized the importance of church and personal policy when it comes to whom you will marry. Regarding funerals, York explained the three goals of such a service. “Honor the person, honor the Lord, and clearly articulate the gospel,” he said.
Pastor Well is a collection of resources from Hershael York to equip pastors for the work of ministry within the local church. For more information and content, visit York’s website.