Recognition of a Pastor
JOSEPH MUCHERU ON THE 29TH JANUARY 2017
The journey began from Nairobi to Nyeri for Simon Muriithi’s dowry payment party, which went well, except that it turned out to be further away than we had thought. The negotiations went on up to 7.30 in the evening! Nonetheless, we managed to drive to Meru before midnight!
With Charity, Gaitano, Manases Bor and Mrs. Muketha from Nairobi, and the congregation of Miathene Trinity Baptist Church, the service began at 10.30. We sang three hymns, then Paul read Proverbs 3:1-16 before leading in prayer. Afterwards he made the announcements and handed over the service to me.
I began by explaining that the role of TBC Nairobi is that of helping a daughter church to get to her feet, and denied that I was coming as a bishop. I then explained 1Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. I gave the history of how Mucheru went to Miathene in 2014 and stayed for a year as a member but also labouring in the ministry. Then on 28th August I chaired meeting that discussed the three areas of his life – moral character, domestic and ministerial qualities. But since the meeting lacked the quorum a vote was not taken, therefore the church met again under the chairmanship of Paul on the 13th September and unanimously voted to have Mucheru as their pastor. We were not able to find time to help in his recognition last year and this is why it was put under priority in January this year.
I explained that the matter of his recognition involved 2 things in the presence of God:
- For Joseph Mucheru to declare his faith and promise to faithfully do the work the Bible demands of an elder, and
- The congregation promising to do what the Bible requires of them to their pastor.
I asked Mucheru five questions, which he answered in the affirmative:
- Do you profess, and believe Jesus Christ to be your own Lord and Saviour?
- Do you believe the Bible to be the inspired, infallible and authoritative word of God?
- Do you receive as true to the Bible the statement of faith in our church confession (constitution)?
- Do you promise before God to preach the word, and all the word?
- Do you promise to serve this congregation, “not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain, but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being example to the flock”?
Then I asked the church this one question:
Do you promise to receive the teaching, submit to the directions, provide the support, pray for, and obey the pastor you have recognized? If so, stand to signify the promise.
All those present rose up to show their full support of Mucheru. We thank God that the brother has such obvious support from the church. We pray that the brother will continue to enjoy this support and that he will serve the Lord.
Then Paul Kianji, Joshua Kairithia and myself, laid hands on him in prayer as he knelt down before the congregation. Paul Kianji prayed for him to be a faithful and a spiritual man, and to preach the gospel in and out of season. Joshua prayed for his family that they will listen to him as both the husband, the father and their pastor. Then I prayed for the church to be supportive and to grow both in grace and knowledge and numerally, as the ministry of the elders was experienced. I asked the Lord to multiply the church by replication.
Then I gave Mucheru this charge:
This church needs a godly and spiritual pastor – be that man. Watch over yourself and the flock of God, which the Holy Spirit has made you overseer. Covet no one’s silver or gold. Tend this flock with all patience.
Do not account your life as of any value nor as precious to yourself, if only you may finish the course and the ministry that you received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God, in and out of season. Preach the gospel. May you be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus to endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
I went on preach from 1 Peter 5:1-4. I began by interrogating the passage as follows:
- Who owns the church? It is God, for the church is called ‘the flock of God’ (v. 2) and the Lord is called the Chief-Shepherd (v. 4)
- Who are the spiritual leaders (under-shepherds) of a church? It is the Elders (v. 1)
- What is the work of the elder? It is to shepherd the flock by exercising oversight (v. 2)
- How are the elders not to shepherd the flock? Unwillingly, for money, domineeringly (vv. 2-3)
- How are the elders to shepherd the flock? Willingly, as God would have them (according to God’s instructions), eagerly, by being examples to the flock (vv. 2-3)
- What is the reward of the pastor? It is the unfading crown of glory (v. 4)
I laid out the terms of service for a pastor from Ezekiel 34:3b-4. I pointed out that the work of the pastor involves:
- to feed by teaching all of the word of God
- to strengthen the weak
- to heal the sick
- to bind up the injured
- to bring back the straying ones
- to seek the lost
- to rule them with gentleness
Essentially this work requires not just a watchful eye, but a godly eye and a shepherd spirit. A pastor who will pray for the members and preach the truths of the gospel to them so that they may be built up in the faith to maturity, to the measure and stature of the fullness of Christ so that they are no longer children tossed to and fro by the waves of false teachings.
The church had a prepared lunch, so we ate together. We later on went to Muili to see where they have bought the piece of land. It is right next to a stream and road. They have unnecessarily delayed in getting on with the transfer and demarcation. So on Monday, we all went there, and got the lady who sold the land, and proceeded to the lands office and eventually, had the parcel hived. Meanwhile Charity visited an old family friend who was so delighted to hear that we are church planting close to where she lives and so she promised to start attending the church. She has visited a good number of times TBC Nairobi and loves the emphasis on Bible teaching and hoped that the same will be true in the new church.
I exhorted the elders to work hard for the cause of Christ in the area. I specifically asked Mucheru not to devote himself to doing anything else other than what brought him to Miathene. Recently, he began farming tomatoes in the church compound – this I commended instead of going to the market for three days in a week (which he used to do). I think being in the church compound is a good thing because church members or anyone can come to see him anytime. The compound looked well attended, which is commendable. He also had a young man, a university graduate as his right hand man, called Nicholas Mugambi. He came with us to Nairobi to clear at Kenyatta University for his graduation later in the year. He is not a believer and Manases spent a considerable amount of time with him – we hope much good comes out of it. Being from a Roman Catholic background, he did not understand the difference between a pastor and priest – he thought when a pastor has better seminary education he becomes a priest! I explained the difference and took time to explain to him that Christ is the Priest who is to be trusted for the forgiveness of sin by His gracious sacrifice of Himself. I also explained to him the blasphemy of the mass. He called me later to say that he would like to come to church on Sunday.
Generally the church is doing well and I thank God for Mucheru and the men with him.
1st February 2017