During his October 14 chapel message at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Texas Baptist College, Bill Skaar, pastor of First Baptist Church Grand Prairie, reflected on his pastoral ministry and offered students key principles for serving well in ministry.
Prior to the message, President Adam W. Greenway welcomed Skaar, a two-time graduate of Southwestern Seminary (M.Div. ’87; D.Min. ’92), “back home to the dome.”
“I tell people often that one of the marvelous advantages of campus-based theological education, especially here at Southwestern Seminary, is being a part of this rich and vibrant Fort Worth-Dallas Metroplex,” Greenway said in his introduction of Skaar. “We are blessed with hundreds of great churches like First Baptist Church Grand Prairie.”
In his opening remarks during his chapel message, Skaar reflected on his own experience at Southwestern Seminary, noting, “those are just wonderful times that God used to do preparation in my life at the same time I was getting to do the practical ministry, and doing the preaching and sharing.”
Gleaning wisdom from those years of preparation, in addition to his years of ministry experience, 22 of which have been as pastor in Grand Prairie, he offered advice and encouragement to students now beginning in ministry or who will soon start their ministries. Skaar preached from passages in the Book of Acts and elsewhere, drawing from the life of the Apostle Paul who endured in ministry to the end of his life.
“Ministry is not a sprint,” Skaar said regarding the difficult work of ministry and what is required to finish well.
“When God called you into the ministry, He didn’t call you into something that is easy; He called you into something that is eternal,” Skaar said. “He has a plan and a purpose that He wants you to finish that race, and He wants you to finish it well. He wants you to endure all the way through, whatever changes come along.”
The first principle for enduring in ministry, Skaar said, is through the development and cultivation of friendships.
“Ministry is going to have some difficult times. It’s going to have some rough spots,” Skaar said. “You need some people to encourage you along the way.”
Second, Skaar encouraged students to “stay spiritually fresh” and maintain a personal quiet time with the Lord that is separate from all other preaching and teaching responsibilities.
“Your studies here at the seminary are no substitute for time alone with your heavenly Father,” Skaar said. “For the preacher, going into the study and preparing for the Sunday sermon, that’s not your time with your heavenly Father. That is your call to prepare and share His Word with God’s people and feed them every week.”
“You need to keep a fresh relationship with God,” Skaar added. “I promise that everybody that has dropped out, quit, gotten too discouraged, they quit having that personal fresh quiet time.”
Skaar’s final point for enduring in ministry is to “stay focused on God’s purposes.”
While many ministers have lost sight of their vision and purpose, Skaar said they must remain committed to “glorify God and work with Him as He builds His kingdom.”
“Look to the future,” Skaar said. “Don’t ever quit. Stay fresh, build friends, keep a focus on your purpose, but always look to the future. The best is yet to be.”
The entire sermon can be viewed here.
Chapel is held every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 10 a.m. (CT) in MacGorman Chapel on the campus of Southwestern Seminary. Chapel may be viewed live at swbts.edu/live.
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