For a long while now, I have been praying for pastors — but maybe not in the way you might think.
I pray for many pastors by name because some are facing ministry challenges. I pray for others seeking guidance on their current place of service. I pray for some who see great open doors of potential fruit-bearing work at their current location. I also pray for pastors as a group — that God will honor their preaching and use them to strengthen the churches they serve and protect them from the evil one.
But I pray daily for pastors in another way.
I pray for the pastors who are needed to fill the pulpits in many of our Kentucky Baptist churches. Recent research by Pike County Associational Mission Strategist Jason Lowe revealed that 200 or more Kentucky Baptist churches at any given time may be without a shepherd. Most of these churches are searching for a bivocational pastor to come and serve their congregation.
I am praying for the pastors needed to lead these congregations and help them reach their community with the gospel. I am praying for men of God to answer His call to serve these Kentucky Baptist churches. Here are five traits of the kind of pastors I am praying for:
1. Men who are Spirit-filled: The old hymn by George Atkins reminds us, “All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down.” While we need men who are biblically qualified to fill the role, we also need pastors who are filled with — and will rely on — the Holy Spirit to carry out holy work. Those of us who minister to churches have heard and seen enough of what we can do in the flesh and long to see more of what God can do through us for His glory and the good of those we serve.
2. Men who are godly in character: It has been said of pastors who failed morally that his talent got him in the room, but he lacked the character to stay in the role. Character matters for those who will shepherd a flock. 1 Timothy 3:1-7 lists the biblical qualifications of a pastor and many of those describe a man who is stellar in character. He is described as above reproach, respectable, blameless, upright, holy, loves what is good and has a good reputation with outsiders. We have men of great character pastoring churches in Kentucky, and we need more of their type.
3. Men who will preach the Bible: Paul exhorts Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2 to, “Preach the word.” One of the primary tasks of a pastor is to study the Bible, understand a text in its context, and deliver the meaning and application of that text to the people of God week after week.
4. Men who are soul-winners in their preaching and in their practice: Paul exhorts Timothy further in the same section of Scripture listed above to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:5). Paul isn’t exhorting an evangelist to do the work of an evangelist, but instead he’s speaking to one who will pastor a church. Pastors must lead the church to take the gospel into all the world including their own community. I am praying for pastors who preach to win souls and practice personal soul-winning in their day-to-day activities.
5. Men who desire to cooperate with other Kentucky Baptists: One thing that sets Kentucky Baptists apart from other Baptists in Kentucky is that we prioritize cooperation. Through working together, Kentucky Baptists have created a culture that believes we can accomplish more working together than any congregation can accomplish by itself. Our cooperation shows up in the way we have formed associations, mission boards, seminaries and more. It shows up in how we do foster care, disaster relief and thousands of other things. It shows up most profoundly in the fact that we have a global missions strategy, and we fund that strategy through the Cooperative Program.
There is more that could be said about the type of pastors we need to step in and serve the churches in our state without pastoral leadership. But this list is a good starting place. Would you join me in prayer for God to send called out men like these to Kentucky Baptist churches in need of a pastor?