SBTS profs on your first pastorate: Bill Cook

Communications Staff — August 21, 2009

Towers had the chance to catch up with seven Southern Seminary professors who have served and/or currently serve in pastoral ministry. These seven men offered wisdom on pastoral ministry to first-time pastors (non first-timers are welcome to take a peak as well).

Each of the next seven Fridays, we will feature the responses of one of these men. This week, we hear from Bill Cook, professor of New Testament interpretation at Southern and senior pastor of Ninth and O Baptist Church in Louisville.

First ministry position/How long did you serve there?

Bill Cook: A pastorate in Montpelier La., a town with a population of approximately 350 people. Three years.

Your worst early mistakes/lessons learned from it:

BC: I think my biggest mistake was I mistook a good theological education for pastoral wisdom. I made numerous missteps because I lacked the patient wisdom of a seasoned pastor. I think that what I learned, and I’m still learning, is that I’m never quite as smart as I think I am.

Wisdom and humility, which are virtues seldom espoused in conferences and educational settings, are essential ingredients for a God-honoring ministry.

Words of wisdom for first time pastors:

BC: My advice to someone about to enter his first pastorate relates to what I said about humility. We may be the only person in the church with a seminary education but that does not mean that we are the wisest person in the church. I would encourage a first time pastor (as well as a seasoned one) to be humble, kind and caring.

In addition, preach the Bible to the congregation you have, not the one you wish you had. Spend much time getting to know the people and letting them get to know you. The better they know and respect you, the more open they will be to following your vision for the church. Church people can see through phoniness and pride.

So be humble, seek God’s face, preach the Word and love the people.

Are you ready to become a pastor, counselor, or church leader who is Trusted for Truth?

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