An ordination charge to a son...
Also in honor of yesterday's ordination and installation, here's the charge Dad gave me twenty-three years ago when I was ordained and installed as pastor of the yoked parish of Rosedale Presbyterian Church of Cambria and First Presbyterian Church of Pardeeville, Wisconsin. The service was under the auspices of John Knox Presbytery, Presbyterian Church (USA).
Joseph T. Bayly
October 23, 1983
My beloved son Timothy,
I charge you as you enter upon your ministry.
Have faith in God, who has called you. Seek to fulfill His expectations first of all, not those of His people, or your own. Build the church for His glory.
Use the talents and training and gifts He has given you to the fullest, but don't depend on them. When your experience increases, don't depend on that. Depend on God Who has called you, to fulfill your calling. Depend on the Holy Spirit to work through you.
Do the work of an evangelist as one who himself has experienced deliverance and redemption. Carry the keys to the kingdom of heaven in your hand at all times. Be ready to give your time and life for one lost sheep as earnestly and diligently as you would for a thousand...
Tend the flock of God. Seek the lost ones, the defeated ones, the soul-sick ones, the wandering ones, and lovingly restore them. Then send them back into the battle.
Preach the Word of God, not avoiding those parts that are unpopular, or that cut across the grain of accepted opinion. Be prophetic, but exercise judgment upon yourself and your own actions first of all.
Respect authority, submit to authority, as to those appointed by God.
Be a careful counselor. Listen with your heart, guard the confidences you receive. Avoid and discourage gossip.
Pray for your people. When you work, you work; when you pray, God works. Never doubt that God can change people and situations, can resolve conflicts and bring peace where there has been trouble.
Love your people, care for them, have compassion on them. Encourage them to serve the Lord with joy and freedom. Share the Lord's work with them, train your lay persons to work in the fields of the Lord with you.
And enjoy your people. You are their servant, but you are also their friend. Share their lives, their joys as well as their sorrows, even as our Lord Jesus shared the lives of His disciples.
Be a responsible citizen in your community. Let your influence for ethics and morality be felt, always remembering that the community cannot be held to the standards of Christ's church.
Model love and care for your wife and children. Don't sacrifice them and your responsibility for them on the altar of your work and leadership in the church. Determine not to preach to others and see your own children castaways.
Guard your thoughts. Praise and worship God as a man, not just as a pastor. Don't covet another's position or possessions.
Enjoy God. Look for His fingerprints on every part of life. Cast your burdens on the Lord; don't bear them yourself. The battle is not yours, but God's. Find joy in the service, the place, the people God has given you.
Tonight you are being asked, "Wilt thou?" Some day you will be asked, "Hast thou?"
As an undershepherd, serve the Great Shepherd so that you may answer in that day, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."