Training for ministry. Rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

Submitting to the Process

This article originally appeared in the 2023 Summer Edition of “The BBI Bulletin” available for free download here.

Submitting to the Process: Advancing as God’s Servant

by Pastor Justin Lynn, Director of Technology and Advancement

Estimated Time to Read: 4 Minutes

As a child, I fell in love with music.  It consumed my life; it filled my time, my affection, my energy, and so much more.  Through my teenage years, my passion for it only grew, as did my skills and abilities.  I advanced to countless honors ensembles and prestigious recognitions.  I learned.  I studied.  I sought mastery.  As I graduated high school, it seemed as if the world was at my fingertips; every path I took held potential and opportunity.  It was in those first footsteps of adulthood, however, that God began to crumble my life’s unsteady foundation. 

Entering my first semester of music school, God brought me face to face with the pride of my heart.  I was quickly forced to accept how much I did not know and how much skill, technical expertise, and musical ability I did not yet have.   In these very moments, God met me in my prideful folly and altered the trajectory of my life.  He began to fashion my life upon the unchanging, solid rock of His Word and Jesus Christ (Ps. 119:41-48; John 14:6; Col. 1:24-29), ultimately calling and leading me into a lifetime of full-time ministry and service as a Pastor. 

Since then, often simultaneously, God would continue (and does to this day) to take me on a journey of joy, sorrow, victory, suffering, success, and failure.  God has continually furnished His training amidst the classroom of my life and the pages of my heart.  The lessons and themes of each season have perpetually prepared me for the ministry opportunities around each corner (Tit. 2:11-15).

Seasons of Preparation

God’s story in my life, while unique and personal to me, reflects a generalizable path of wisdom and testimony present throughout the whole of Scripture, even unto this present dispensation of grace.  God offers us a glimpse of this training process in the life of King David.  Psalm 78:70-72 displays God’s preparation of David amongst the fields and flocks of Israel,

“He chose David His servant and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the ewes that had young He brought him, to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance.  So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.”

Psalm 78:70-72

God offers us training and preparation through many venues.  As in young David’s case, God worked circumstantially to help mold His servant into the man He would eventually use greatly in Israel.

As a young shepherd boy, David would have learned how to tend to the needs of his flock, how to care for them, and protect them (Ps. 23:1-4).  No shepherd-in-training was left in the fields without instruction and initial oversight.  With people’s livelihoods on the line, skillful competence was always the goal.  It was the formative training and experience he received that developed David’s “skillfulness” of hands (Ps. 78:72b).   How much more so for those who care for souls!

Likewise, Paul encourages shepherds today to develop skillful excellence in preaching, teaching, serving, evangelism, and more (2 Tim. 4:2, 5).  The child of God must submit himself to the continual process of God’s perfecting preparation for ministry.   Without training in God’s Word and the practical skills of ministry, how can a pastor effectively shepherd his flock?

Beyond skillful competence, God equally cares for “the integrity of…heart” (Ps. 78:72a).  From David’s initial calling, God looked at his heart and not merely his outward appearance and ability like the world (1 Sam. 16:7).  God saw within David a man of character (Ps. 78:72), one who valued the very things of His own affections (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22).  Throughout his life, God continually sought to transform His shepherd; David was a man, though flawed, who walked with God, seeking Him with his entire being.  As a shepherd of both sheep and “Jacob His people”, God cultivated a heart of humility, dependence upon Him, and a rock-solid commitment to His unchangeable truths and ways.

Again, Paul also calls upon his personal integrity, comparing his ministry to both an instructive, comforting father (1 Thess. 2:11) and a gentle, nurturing mother (1 Thess. 2:7).  The relational skill and ability that flows from such a heart are fundamentally foundational to the ministry of a pastor (1 Tim. 3:1-16).  For the willing servant, God provides ample opportunity for such transformational growth. 

Are You Willing?

Heading off to music school, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  That statement’s impact only heightened as I underwent ministry preparation at BBI.  But God has faithfully provided what I needed to equip me with the “skillfulness of hand” as well as the “integrity of heart” (Ps. 78:72) as a minister of the gospel of grace.    It didn’t happen overnight.  In fact, I’m still not done.  I have, however, submitted myself to God’s path and process.

As you read this, dear one, I humbly ask you to evaluate your own life.  Are you willing to submit to the molding and shaping of God’s grace-life instruction?  Will you consider the transformational benefits of formal ministry training?  BBI is praying and waiting for you as you submit yourself fully to becoming a minister of the gospel of the grace of God. 

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Read another article from this edition of the BBI Bulletin:

Interpretation of Prophecy

The Institute Update

For Our Learning

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