In chapter 24 Jamieson addresses the theme of ambition and commends useful tests for the aspiring pastor:
Does my ambition aim at God’s glory?
Does my ambition lead me to fulfil the duties of my other roles (for example as a husband and father)?
Does my ambition lead to a contented spirit no matter where God has placed me?
The author identifies steps to take in ‘mortifying’ ungodly ambition and promoting spiritual ambition: Pursue communion with Christ; Rejoice in being saved more than being significant; Rejoice when God’s work has nothing to do with you. These are insightful and biblically-driven principles for all Christians and certainly for anyone considering Christian leadership.
In the next chapter he examines the specifics of an associate pastorship in functions and authority. Here the notion of the senior pastor wielding more authority than other elders is biblically questionable. Nonetheless the author sketches the role of the associate with vision and clarity. In particular the identification of common mistakes men make in becoming an associate are worthy of note especially the idea of being the ‘right fit’ for a church and senior pastor in ethos, culture and convictions. In our setting where the development of teams is increasingly commonplace, the principles of this chapter comprise sound advice for seniors, associates and their churches alike.
Jamieson, in chapter 26, then deals with the matter of receiving and handling a call. Here the crucial factors of honesty about a whole range of issues and the importance of mutual interviewing (i.e. space being allowed for both parties to ask questions) are highlighted. Again, the author displays a wise approach born of experience.
The final chapter commends pastoral ministry as a good and glorious thing but holds up Christ as better with a parting word to ‘cherish Christ’. There could be no more appropriate way to finish this fund of wisdom for aspiring pastors than by reminding them (in the fashion of Hebrews) that Jesus is better than anyone and anything else.
Questions to consider:
- Is there more of God or of self in my ambition for ministry service?
- What are the deeply-held convictions that are non-negotiables for me in a prospective call?
- What is it that really makes me tick? Ministry or Jesus?