What is the work of the ministry?
PRAYER(P) VISITATION(V) COUNSELLING(C) INTERACTION (I)
Prayer is the sustaining force of the church. I believe in praying for hours for the church. There is a correlation between the amount of prayer put into the church by the eldership of the church and the growth of the church.
In Korea, it is well known that the pastors pray for long hours. It is no surprise then that the largest churches in the world are found in that nation.
I believe that every full-time pastor should try to pray for at least three hours every day. Lay pastors and shepherds should pray for at least one or two hours a day. There must be long times of prayer.
In Jeremiah 23:2, God makes it clear that one of the principal duties of pastors is to visit.
Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors…Ye have scattered my flock…and have not VISITED them…
It is quite clear from this, that pastors are expected to visit their sheep in their homes. This is different from counseling them in the office. It is also different from preaching and teaching from the pulpit. It is a special ministry. The greatest visitor on this earth was Jesus Christ. Since his visit, the world has never been the same again.
There is a difference between church members who have been visited and those who have never been visited. Church members who have been visited in their homes become stable and hardly ever leave the church.
It is important to minister the Word of God, especially in teaching. Churches based on solid Bible teachings tend to grow. As the years go by, these churches grow larger and larger. It is like a flock that has been exposed to fields and fields of green grass. The natural response is that the flock will be healthy, multiply and grow.
You will find greater growth in churches that have strong teaching and preaching than in churches that emphasize miracles.
I believe in miracles but these can never take the place of the Word. Sheep don't feed on miracles. They feed on the Word!
A shepherd is supposed to interact with his sheep. How can he interact properly if he is detached and aloof? Pastors and shepherds must do what I call "Deep Sea Fishing".
Deep Sea Fishing
What is the deep sea? The deep sea is the mass of church members who stream in and out of church every Sunday morning. Many people attend our churches and nobody knows them or even talks with them. Some come in and out for a while and then drop out.
It is the duty of shepherds and pastors to conduct Deep Sea Fishing. They are to move into the crowd of unknown faces and interact with them. They must befriend unknown people, talk with them, find out where they live, and establish a line of friendship.
Everybody wants to be known and to feel important. When people are not known, they move away to a place where they can be known and made to feel important. All human beings have a psychological need to be identified and recognized!
It is that need that we try to meet by doing "deep sea fishing".
When all the pastors do deep sea fishing, they will get to know the people who do not belong to small groups within the church, but still need pastoral visits and care.
Deep sea fishing helps to establish floating visitors in the church.
That is why it is important for lay pastors and shepherds to be in church on Sunday and involve themselves in this all-important interaction––deep sea fishing. It is not only the pastor who is preaching who has work to do.