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The Apostle Paul’s advice to Titus on attending church conferences.
Did you know that the Apostle Paul spoke to Titus about key points for attending a church conference? Okay, so maybe he didn’t. But if he did, I believe the letter would have read something like this.
I Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ and bond-servant of God, for the hope of you my dear son and others who are called into pastoral leadership, am writing to you so that you can honor God in the role He has placed you and not be distracted by the lies of satan.
Titus, it has been brought to my attention that you have recently returned from a gathering of ministry leaders. As I have taken part in many of these myself and been invited to be a keynote speaker, I want you to be aware of a few things. I urge you to carefully consider these words, so that you may honor God in the way you serve those He has called you to serve.
God is the giver of every great opportunity and this one is no exception. God gave you the chance to learn from others so that You may be more fully equipped to properly care for those He has called you to serve. In light of this, I urge you to…
- Take time to reflect on your notes while being encouraged by others who are on this pastoral journey with you.
- You didn’t take notes? Oh, I encourage you to not make this mistake again. If you haven’t learned by now, going to conferences can often feel like you are sticking your head in the waterfall and trying to drink all the water as it comes at you from the river above. There is no way you can consume it all in one drink.
- As you reflect on your notes, take time to consider the transferable principles. What will work for you where God has placed you? I heard that Pricilla and Aquilla gave a resounding talk on “How minister together as a couple in a pagan city”. At first glance you must have felt that what they shared may not apply to you, as you are living a life of singleness for the sake of devoting yourself to the service of others in ministry. Nothing can be further from the truth! When you take time to reflect on what they shared, I feel confident the Holy Spirit will open you eyes to see the transferable principles which will better equip you to serve where God has placed you.
- Follow up with the connections you made at the conference. Titus, don’t lose touch with the new friendships you have made. You will need the support and listening ear of others in ministry. While you may not feel as though you need them today, consider this, God placed you there for their benefit, not your own. When they call upon you answer, when they write to you, write back. You will one day need the ear of someone else, respond to them as you will want someone to respond to you.
Titus, I hear that there were some amazing ministry leaders present at this gathering. Therefore, I hope to encourage you in this manner, as our enemy satan wants you to feel “less than”.
- Don’t get involved in foolish discussions or spiritual pedigrees. Satan will try and tell you that you are less than, because you don’t have a spiritual pedigree to match up with others. Just as you have trusted in the work of Jesus Christ for your salvation, know this- God is enough! The Holy Spirit working through you is enough. Just as the work of Jesus Christ is enough to redeem you for eternal salvation, He is enough to lead you as you serve others.
- Yes, I encourage you to study and work hard, but never place spiritual pedigree above what God is doing through you.
- Don’t become envious of what you perceive another ministry leader has. Our omniscient God knows what you have need of and He is keenly aware of your current situation. If the ministry leader you meet is in a great place, be happy for them and praise God for this. For in this way we rejoice with those who are rejoicing. If you allow yourself to become envious, you will only nurture a covetous heart and this will distract you from serving those God has entrusted to your care.
Titus, I leave you with these words of encouragement.
The work you are doing in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ is hard. I know this because it is the hardest thing I have ever done. Studying under Gamaliel to acquiring knowledge and making tents for a living was way easier than being a prisoner for the sake of the Gospel. While at first glance, it may seem as though my words to you are not encouraging, but I hope they will be. For I know this, God will give you a peace and a joy that are expressible as you faithfully serve where He has placed you. The more you give of yourself to others, God will give of himself to you!
Titus, what you are doing matters. The believers in your city need you to lead them. Those who are unbelievers, while they may not be aware of this truth, they need you too. You are a conduit of the Kingdom of God in your very sphere of influence and I believe in you.
The head elder of the church in your city needs your support. While God has placed them in authority, submit and serve willingly, not begrudgingly. Ask God how you may serve those in authority over you and I am confident God will reveal this to you. If you are not sure how to do this, reach out to someone in the network you are starting to develop, ask for help. I am confident that the Holy Spirit who speaks to you, also speaks through others. I have found this to be true as God has spoken through others such as Barnabas, Mark and even young Timothy, to me as well and I am better for it.
Titus, you are not alone. Don’t let satan feed you this lie, as I know he will. I am here for you as are others God has placed in your path. We are in this together.