[Note: This is the final in a semester-long series on Southeastern’s training of future pastors. This article is by Professor Steven Wade with insights from Provost Bruce Ashford and Dean Chuck Lawless.]
Southeastern Seminary is a Great Commission seminary. Our mission is to equip students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission. A primary concern of this mission is to assist local churches to equip another generation of pastors through the total seminary experience. To put it forthrightly, we are serious about training pastors in conjunction with the local church! To that end we think much and often about what it means for a pastor to fulfill the mission of King Jesus on the earth, and we develop our classes accordingly. Therefore, this post offers seven marks of a Great Commission pastor that are formative in all we do at SEBTS.
(1) A Great Commission Pastor Understands His Life and Ministry in the Context of the Lordship of Jesus Christ
All authority belongs to our King. He is a gracious King who will reign forever in righteousness. This means that my life and ministry are not primarily mine, they belong to the King! Further, because it all belongs to Jesus, the pastor should continually long for and pray that God will him and his church to accomplish the mission of the King!
(2) A Great Commission Pastor Is Serious About His Own Discipleship
The pastor must be growing in his own love and knowledge of Jesus Christ before he can lead anyone else in following the King! He is to set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity (1 Tim 4:12, ESV).
(3) A Great Commission Pastor Is Deeply Involved in the Discipleship of His Own Household
The primary proving ground for the pastor is his home, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? (1 Tim 3:5).
(4) A Great Commission Pastor Sets the Example and Leads His Church in Personal Evangelism
A passion for the church to reach the lost and make disciples of all nations must start in the pastor’s own life. His desires, prayers, teaching and actions should reveal a man both passionate about and active in personal evangelism. Only then will he be able to lead others to win the lost.
(5) A Great Commission Pastor Sets the Example and Leads His Church in Obedience to Jesus Christ
The pastor is to exemplify obedience in his own life and exhort others to obey King Jesus.
(6) A Great Commission Pastor Must Have a Passion for the Nations
The mission of God is a global mission and the pastor must be involved in that global mission. He must be praying, going, giving, training and sending disciples to the nations for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God.
(7) A Great Commission Pastor Has a Great Confidence & Boldness in the Mission Because of the Presence of the King
The pastor can be a disciple and lead people from all nations into discipleship because of the promise of the presence of the King! He must acknowledge his dependence on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and then both live and lead in Great Commission work in the power of the Spirit.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20, ESV