“Fulfill Your Ministry”

In the final greetings at the end of his epistle to the Colossians, Paul mentions a man named Archippus who may very well have been the pastor of the church at Laodicea.  Paul exhorted him to be a faithful minister.  “And say to Archippus, ‘Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it’” (Col.4:17).  He was to give the necessary time and attention to the ministry so that he might fulfill or accomplish it.  It was important that he fulfill it because this ministry he had not received from men, but from the Lord.

Evidently, Archippus knew what it meant to fulfill the ministry God had given him, but Paul did not give any details as to what fulfilling that ministry looked like.  But if in fact he was a pastor, we can find in the scriptures a pretty clear picture of the pastor’s role in the local church.  His ministry is primarily a ministry of the word of God and prayer (Acts 6:1-7).  Through the ministry of the word of God, he is to equip the saints so that they can do the work of the ministry (Eph.4:11-12).   Two of his other functions related also to the ministry of the word of God are shepherding and overseeing the church of God (Acts 20:28; I Peter 5:2).  Using the analogy of a shepherd of sheep, the pastor is to see that the flock is fed the word of God, and to generally care for and comfort them especially during times of difficulty.  His oversight of the church may specifically be related to watching over the flock so that none go astray in sin or false doctrine (Heb.13:7&17).  He must not drive the sheep, or be a lord over them, but lead them by example (1Peter 5:1-4).  His authority is found not in dictating to the church, but in the proclamation of God’s word (Hebrews 13:7, 17).  The pastor’s work is never done, and yet he is urged to fulfill his ministry.  Please pray for your pastor that he might accomplish the ministry he received in the Lord!