Calvin on the Ministry (3)
And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain. Galatians 2.2
Shepherds need shepherding
We’re perhaps all familiar with the old management saw that goes, “People don’t do what you expect; they do what you inspect.” Put another way we might say, even the shepherds of God’s people need shepherds. All who are entrusted with the ministry of the Word of God will benefit from ongoing fellowship and accountability with other shepherds. That means you and me.
Calvin wrote in the Draft Ecclesiastical Ordinances, “Now as it is necessary to examine ministers well when they are to be elected, so also it is necessary to have good supervision to maintain them in their duty. First, it will be expedient that all the ministers, for conserving purity and concord of doctrine among themselves, meet together one certain day each week, for discussion of the Scriptures; and none are to be exempt from this without legitimate excuse.”
The Register of the Company of Pastors in Geneva during the time of Calvin provides fascinating reading and offers penetrating insights into the work of a body of ministers as they cared for the flocks of God in their city. The Register is the minutes of the meetings Calvin insisted on in the Ecclesiastical Ordinances. They show us that even he was subject to accountable and oversight by his fellow shepherds.
Ministers need other ministers for friendship, counsel, spiritual and moral accountability, and for improving their use of the various tools and gifts of ministry. Where such accountability is lacking, the wellbeing of the Body of Christ in a community suffers.
Find a soul friend. Create an accountability group. Meet often with other shepherds, to share in one another’s lives and work, and to seek the Lord together. The sheep to whom God has sent you will be better served if you are accountability to other faithful shepherds in your walk with and work for the Lord.
Resources for Shepherds
One way to initiate an accountability relationship is by praying together. Our booklet, If Men Will Pray, is a call for men to get serious about prayer. It is also a tool for enlisting others as prayer partners. Order several copies and use them to call other men to join you in prayer for your walk with and work for the Lord. If Men Will Pray is free by clicking here.
Feeling the need for a little theological review? Our podcast, The InVerse Theology Project, provides weekly insights to the various theological disciplines: Biblical, creational, historical, systematic, practical, and spiritual. Each weekly podcast addresses one facet of theological studies in a lively verse style. Each volume of six podcasts completes a cycle through all six theological disciplines. Click here to see what’s available on all 69 previous issues of this podcast.
From the Celtic Revival
“He keeps Christ’s blessed commandments in all things,
his bright deeds shine forth among men;
and they follow his holy miraculous example,
so that they too magnify God the Father in heaven.”
- Sechnall, on Patrick, Audite Omnes Amantes, Irish, 5th century
“By the grace of God Colum rose to exalted companionship;
awaiting bright signs, he kept watch while he lived.
His lifetime was short,
scant portions filled him.
He was learning’s pillar in every stronghold,
he was foremost at the book of complex Law.”
- Dallàn Forgaill, Amra Choluimb Chille, Irish, 6th century
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.