Posts belonging to Category Pastors

A Pastor’s First-Hand Response from Newtown, CT

For those of you who have been praying for the Newtown community in the wake of Friday’s shooting, I recommend this first-hand account from Pastor Joey Newton, pastor-teacher of Newtown Bible Church in Newtown, Connecticut.

Weeping with those who weep–a first-hand response from Newtown:

The church I pastor is three miles from the site of Friday’s slaughter, where 26 people were murdered. Certainly this event will in some way define and shape the spiritual life of the community for decades to come. I know it will profoundly affect my family; many of those killed were the same age as one of my three daughters.

I spent last Friday in the counseling center the town set up, where families had gathered waiting to hear the names of their child, or to see if any new information came out. (Click here to read the full article.)

Personal Update – Back into Pastoral Ministry

After three years back in the business world, I am now heading back into pastoral ministry. On Sunday October 7th Plantation Community Church voted to call me as their next Senior Pastor starting December 1st. I served on staff at PCC from 1994-2004, so we have many dear friends and memories at this church. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers as I prepare to transition out of Verizon and back into the ministry.

Ligon Duncan on Bible Study and Prayer

Dr. Ligon Duncan offers ministry leaders the following six wise suggestions on how to help your people grow in Bible study and prayer.

  1. Be patient.
  2. Preach the word from the pulpit with fervency, clarity and power, and let the prime means of grace do its work.
  3. Emphasize the importance of a weekly prayer meeting.
  4. Invite a core group of potential leaders in the congregation to study the Bible and pray with you, weekly and personally. Meet as a small group and do a Bible survey, and lead them in prayer. Model for them how to do it. Make them take part and be active participants. Watch the contagion spread among them for the study of God’s word and prayer in the church, homes and their personal lives. Let them become recruiters and encouragers of others to study the word and pray for themselves.
  5. In the course of your teaching/preaching the Bible in the local church, spend time explicitly and specifically on explaining why it is important for Christians to study the word and to pray, and how one ought to do it.
  6. Get your people to read good books about Bible study and prayer (John Blanchard, “How to Enjoy Your Bible,” Don Carson, “A Call to Spiritual Reformation,” Matthew Henry, “Method For Prayer,” “Ryken’s Bible Handbook,” etc).

Church Search

(Note: New posts are below. This post automatically bumps to the top.)

I am currently seeking God’s will for his next place of ministry for us as a family. If you know of a church that is looking for a pastor, please pass this information on to them. Thank you! Click here for my Pastoral Profile page.

Related posts:
    • Yes, we are all in Florida now!
    • Update on the Fowler Move
    • Big Change for the Fowler Family
    • Questions and Answers about Our Upcoming Move

Ordination Vows

I have been encouraged to share with you my ordination vows. I was ordained by Plantation Community Church on October 9, 1994. Plantation Community is a non-denominational church, and so in lieu of denominational vows, I wrote my own vows drawing from various Scriptures relating to pastoral ministry. I take these promises as seriously as my marriage vows, which means, very seriously! Here are the promises I made before God and his people that day.


Before God and by his grace I covenant the following:

  • I covenant to keep watch over my own life, seeking to live in a manner pleasing to God and worthy of his calling. (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:1)
  • I covenant to watch over and pray for the flock of God entrusted to my care as one who must give an account. (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:17)
  • I covenant to love, guide, and care for God’s people — not by constraint, but from a willing spirit; not motivated by personal gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to me, but rather being an example to the flock. (1 Peter 5:2-3)
  • I covenant to set an example for other believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)
  • I covenant to love my family, to raise my children in the training and instruction of the Lord, to manage my own household well, and to maintain a good reputation in the community. (Ephesians 5:25, 6:2; 1 Timothy 3:4,7)
  • I covenant to study the Scriptures that I may teach what is in accord with sound doctrine and handle God’s Word correctly to the best of my ability. (2 Timothy 2:15; Titus 2:1)
  • I covenant in my teaching to show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech befitting the Word of God. (Titus 2:7)
  • I covenant to preach God’s Word, to be prepared in season and out of season, to correct, rebuke and encourage — with patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2)
  • I covenant to proclaim the whole counsel of God from the Scriptures without fear or hesitation. (Acts 20:27)
  • I covenant to discharge faithfully all the duties of my ministry in a manner that is honorable to both God and man. (2 Timothy 4:5)

These things I covenant before God, asking his grace that I may fulfill them and his forgiveness where I may fail or fall short.

“Now may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)


Related post: Tim Challies was ordained as an elder/pastor at Grace Fellowship Church yesterday. See his post Ordination for the excellent set of promises Tim made at his ordination. Congratulations, Tim!

On Pastor Burnout (Briscoe)

From the Christian Post:

“I have a theory why so many pastors burn out: They start out walking with Jesus but they end up working for Jesus.”

(Pete Briscoe of Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Carrolton, Texas, recalled hearing from someone at a time when he was depressed)

Update: I found a similar saying in Oswald Chambers’ devotional My Utmost for His Highest:

“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66 ). They turned back from walking with Jesus; not into sin, but away from Him. Many people today are pouring their lives out and working for Jesus Christ, but are not really walking with Him. (Chambers; Devotional for March 9)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Bible Meditation

Dietrich Bonhoeffer required his seminarians to give half an hour each morning to scripture meditation. Many of the students struggled with this task, so he wrote these instructions to help them understand the importance of meditation and to help them learn how to meditate on God’s Word.

Why do I meditate?

  1. Because I am a Christian. Therefore, every day in which I do not penetrate more deeply into the knowledge of God’s Word in Holy Scripture is a lost day for me. I can only move forward with certainty upon the firm ground of the Word of God. And, as a Christian, I learn to know the Holy Scripture in no other way than by hearing the Word preached and by prayerful meditation.
  2. Because I am a preacher of the Word. I cannot expound the Scripture for others if I do not let it speak daily to me. I will misuse the Word in my office as preacher if I do not continue to meditate upon it in prayer. If the Word has become empty for me in my daily administrations, if I no longer experience it, that proves I have not let the Word speak personally to me for a long time. I will offend against my calling if I do not seek each day in prayer the word that my Lord wants to say to me for that day. Ministers of the Word are especially called upon to perform the office of prayer: “But we will devote oursleves to prayer and the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). The pastor must pray than others, and has more to pray about.
  3. Because I need a firm discipline of prayer. We like to pray according to our moods — briefly, at length, or not at all. But that is to be arbitrary. Prayer is not a free-will offering to God; it is obligatory service, something that he requires. We are not free to engage in it according to our own wishes. Prayer is the first divine service in the day. God requires that we take time for this service. “Early in the morning I cry out to you, for in your word is my trust. My eyes are open in the night watches, that I may meditate upon your promise” (Psalm 119:147-148). “Seven times a day do I praise you, because of your righteous judgments” (Psalm 119:164).
  4. Because I need help against the ungodly haste and unrest which threaten my work as a pastor. Only from the peace of God’s Word can there flow the proper, devoted service of each day.

(From Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Meditating on the Word, pp. 22-23).

Fowler Digital Books | The KJV Bible Memory Version: A Tool for Treasuring God's Word in Your Heart (King James Version), by Ray Fowler

For more on Bible meditation, click here for The Bible Memory Version.


Accountability ( PTOM 8 )

(Last week and this I am sharing my Personal Theology of Ministry. Click here for more posts from the Personal Theology of Ministry series.)

The pastor is responsible to God and the church:

Therefore I will be accountable for my ministry. Those who have been given a trust must prove faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). Those who have been faithful with little things will be trusted with much (Luke 16:10-12). Therefore I will endeavor to set the example by following the example of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). I will watch over the church as one who must give an account (Hebrews 13:17). I will be careful to teach God’s word accurately (James 3:1). I will pray for those under my spiritual leadership and care (1 Samuel 12:23). I will be accountable to the church that I serve (1 Timothy 5:17-20).

Back to Table of Contents | Next section: Personal and Family Life (PTOM 9)

Related post: Church Search

Serving the Church in Love (PTOM 3)

(This week and next I am sharing my Personal Theology of Ministry. Click here for more posts from the Personal Theology of Ministry series.)

The pastor is called to serve the church in love:

Therefore I will be motivated in ministry by love for God and love for people (Matthew 22:37-39). All of my best efforts count for nothing apart from love (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). My model is Jesus Christ, the good shepherd who laid down his life for the sheep. I must have the heart of the good shepherd rather than that of the hired hand who cares nothing for the sheep (John 10:11-13). I will be genuinely sincere with people and not operate from impure motives, flattery or deceit (1 Thessalonians 2:3-6). I will treat all people with dignity and respect (James 2:1-4) and use wisdom in dealing with different types of people (Jude 22-23). I will serve the church willingly and freely, not lording it over the flock, but setting the example for them (John 10:35-45; 1 Peter 5:1-5).

Back to Table of Contents | Next section: Missions and Evangelism (PTOM 4)

Related post: Church Search

Call to Ministry (PTOM 1)

(This week and next I am sharing my Personal Theology of Ministry. Click here for more posts from the Personal Theology of Ministry series.)

When God calls, God enables:

Therefore I will trust God to enable me to fulfill his calling. An assurance of God’s calling is essential to effective pastoral ministry. Just as Old Testament priests did not take the honor of spiritual leadership upon themselves (Hebrews 5:4), so also the pastor must be called by God. This call contains both inward and outward aspects. Inwardly the pastor must have a sense of God’s call to the ministry. The apostle Paul experienced this as an inner compulsion to preach the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:16). Outwardly the pastor must demonstrate the giftedness and ability to perform the work of the ministry. The pastor should also demonstrate the leadership qualifications for ministry specifically listed in Scripture (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:6-9). The inward and outward calls come together at the point when a church calls and the pastor accepts a specific call to ministry within the church. This assurance of God’s calling both initiates and sustains the pastor in ministry. The knowledge that God enables those whom he calls gives the pastor great confidence in difficult ministry situations (Exodus 4:10-12; Jeremiah 4:1-10).

Back to Table of Contents | Next section: Equipping the Church (PTOM 2)

Related post: Church Search

Questions and Answers about Our Upcoming Move

I know people may have some questions about our upcoming move, so I thought I would answer them here.

1. Why are you leaving your present church?

    We are moving for family reasons and to be closer to family back south.

    Are you leaving because of conflict in the church? No. Agawam Church is a wonderful, peaceable church family with little to no conflict. I would not want the news of my moving to reflect badly on the church in any way.

    Are you leaving because you were caught in some sin? Ooh, the juicy stuff. No. Although I confess sin daily, I am not being asked to step down because of some disqualifying sin in my life.

    Are you leaving because of financial reasons? No. Agawam Church of the Bible has always provided well for me and my family.

2. Where are you going?

    I wish I knew! We are focusing on Florida, Georgia and Texas, but we want to remain open to wherever God might lead us.

3. When are you planning to move?

    The “when” depends on a number of things, including the “where” in the list above! We are probably looking at a 3-6 month window before we can move. We need to find a new place of ministry, we need to sell our home, and we need to make sure there is a smooth transition for our church on this end.

4. Does your church know you are leaving?

    Yes. This is something that I have been discussing with the church elders for some time and shared with the church family several weeks ago.

5. What kind of a church are you looking for?

    I have served mostly in Baptist and independent churches. I am committed to expository preaching from God’s Word, teaching and discipleship, missions and evangelism. You can find more information about me at my Pastoral Profile page.

6. Is there anything we can do to help?

    Yes. You can help me network by passing my information on to any churches you know that may be looking for a pastor. If you are a blogger, feel free to mention our move as a point of interest and post a link to my profile. Also, please email me if you know of an open church opportunity.

    And you can pray.

          1) Pray for us as we seek the new place God has for us.
          2) Pray for a smooth transition for Agawam Church of the Bible.
          3) Pray for the new pastor God will be calling ACB’s way.

Thanks! We look forward to seeing where God would have us serve next.

Related posts:
    • Church Search
    • Big Change for the Fowler Family
    • Pastoral Profile

Big Change for the Fowler Family

I would appreciate your prayers for us at this time as we are looking at moving back south to be closer to family. We are now in our fifth year here at Agawam Church of the Bible. I am going to miss this church and all the wonderful people here, but it is time for us to go.

We are still looking for God’s next place for us, so if you know of any churches that are looking for pastors, please pass this information along. We are especially looking at Florida, Georgia, or along the Gulf Coast of Texas, but we want to go where God calls us and are seeking his will in this first.

I have put together a Pastoral Profile Page with materials for prospective churches: resume, ministry statement, statement of faith, theology of ministry, family profile, and sermon links. Click here to access the Pastoral Profile Page.

Once again, please pass this information on to any interested churches you may know. Thank you!

Related posts:
    • Church Search
    • Questions and Answers about Our Upcoming Move
    • Pastoral Profile