“And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News.” II Timothy 1:11
When Paul wrote these words to his spiritual son, Timothy, it was the second letter Paul had written bearing Timothy’s name. There is a sense of urgency in Paul’s instructions to Timothy in both letters. Paul speaks as a concerned father wanting his son to stir up the deposit God had placed in his life.
Among the many things Paul would remind Timothy of in his two epistles, preaching the Word seemed to be very important. Verse eleven is couched between two subjects – Paul telling Timothy to not be ashamed of the Gospel and Paul stating that the reason for his imprisonment was for preaching the Gospel.
Paul’s preaching about Christ was a life-priority to him and it should be to each believer, not limited to those who stand behind a pulpit each week. Preaching the message of the Good News is what got Paul in trouble in many of the places he traveled. His jeopardy did not come from teaching on the structure of the Church or how to deliver a prophetic word. The Good News Paul preached was a volatile subject about salvation in Christ alone that turned his contemporary world upside down.
Maybe it’s where I am in my life that compels me to seek a simpler order for the priorities of my calling as a follower of Jesus Christ. I want a simple order of priorities that will keep me from over-complicating what God wants to do in and through me. It has become too easy for me to seek a gift-based definition for what I do at the expense of simply declaring the message of Christ on a daily basis.
I am too willing to retreat into my equipping gifts at the expense of simply preaching and declaring Jesus. What some of us may have overlooked is that the five-fold equipping ministry could simply be the recognition of how each of us preaches the Good News. Some are apostolic preachers of the Good News. Others are evangelist preachers of the Good News. And still others can be either a prophet or a teacher or a pastor, all of whom preach the Good News while they function in their unique and defined calling to equip the Church for service. Stephen, a waiter of tables for hunger widows, did this when his newly minted gift as an evangelist got him killed for preaching the Good News.
Some of this can be true in other fields of endeavor, like the academic world. A professor can teach about something so long they might become out of touch with the very subject they are teaching. In the Church, many of us have wanted our ministry to become so defined that we may have moved beyond the simple and pure devotion to Jesus to which we were originally called. A simple and pure devotion to Jesus is birthed out of His Good News.
Paul defined what he did in his personal ministry and listed them in this order – preacher, apostle and a teacher. All three of these definitions had added to them these words, “…of this Good News.” Paul was a preacher of this Good News, an apostle of this Good News and a teacher of this Good News – all that he was found its source in proclaiming “this Good News.”
We all could learn from Paul’s instruction to Timothy. Paul had to remind Timothy what the order of his ministry was – preacher, apostle, teacher. No matter which of the ministry descriptions Timothy would function within at any given time, Paul desired this tagline to describe what Timothy did in his ministry – “this Good News.”
Every follower of Christ is called to be a preacher of “this Good News”. What is exciting to realize is that in all these preachers who make up the Church around the world there will emerge bands of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers who will begin to equip the Church to do the work of the ministry, which is to share “this Good News” no matter what other ministry description they carry.