Preaching from 1 Timothy 1:3-20, Blake Gideon urged future pastors to stay the course, stay true to the Gospel, and avoid temptation to deviate from that path. Gideon, senior pastor at Edmond’s First Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, and president of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), spoke in chapel at The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Nov. 5. 

Gideon, a two-time graduate of Southwestern Seminary, began by relating his recent pastoral ministry experience of frustration at the apparent lack of spiritual growth in his congregation, leading him to question whether he was failing as pastor.

“I felt that, in some way, I was failing God and failing the church,” he said. He even asked himself if he should consider leaving First Baptist Edmond “to save this church.” 

Gideon recounted that he scheduled a remote fishing trip and rented a cabin and kayak. “I spent time with the Lord throughout the day,” he said. “I just knew the Lord was going to speak to me personally through the Gospel of John.” 

After two days, he had not heard the Lord’s voice and continued to pray.

“Then I thought, ‘Why don’t you go to Timothy and let the Lord minister to you?’” he said. “And He did. I came today thinking I would preach from John, but the Lord had other plans.”

After reading the account of Paul urging Timothy to stay and preach at Ephesus and to avoid false teachers, Gideon came to the realization that his preaching was not damaging, but rather blessing the Edmond church, and he determined that he should stay.

Gideon said in the passage Paul tells Timothy he “needs to be faithful, and to be sound in doctrine and faithful to truth: ‘Come on, Timothy, you remain there at Ephesus. Don’t you veer off, don’t you waver. I implore you to stay faithful to the ministry God has called you to.’” 

“In your ministry, the Gospel is to be preeminent,” he told the chapel audience. “You’re going to be tempted to be pulled away from the Gospel, and you’re going to begin to compare yourself to what someone else may be doing, maybe the megachurch down the road, and you’re going to be tempted”—tempted to preach from popular books or lean on special events to draw people to church. 

Speaking of the desire to hire entertaining youth pastors, Gideon warned, “Don’t fall on that trap of people pressuring you to be funny. I can’t speak for every pastor, but what I want is a fiery hot, soul-winning preacher. Nothing substitutes for the Gospel.” 

“God has appointed you,” he said to future pastors. “You’re to be a steward of the Gospel. In your Gospel ministry, there will be no rival for your affections, there will be no refusal in your commitment, and there will be no retreat on your journey.”