Marion | “Get focused and stay focused because your ministry has eternal consequences. You’re dealing with the souls of men and women,” Hance Dilbeck urged pastors attending the 2023 IBSA Annual Meeting.
The President and CEO of Guidestone Financial Resources delivered the Wednesday evening message from passages in 1 Timothy chapters 3 and 4, “Paul is writing Timothy, a young minister of the gospel, so that churches can thrive.” His message dovetailed with the meeting’s theme and newly announced IBSA “For the Pastor” focus.
Dilbeck cited 1 Timothy 4:16, “Pay close attention to yourself and to the teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will save both yourself and those who hear you (NASB).” He stressed three key instructions from the verse: 1) Pay attention, 2) Persevere, and 3) Save.
Alluding to the complications in today’s world and ministry, Dilbeck said, “It’s refreshing to me to hear Paul say there are really only two things you must get right: the doctrine and yourself.”
He shared about an experience he had while hosting a group of second-generation Asian pastors. Dilbeck had explained Guidestone’s vision born out of 1 Timothy 4 to see that every pastor would finish well. “We’re about resilience so that every pastor would have the capacity to bounce back well,” he said.
A pastor of Korean descent challenged him. The young man said he was taught to think the “call of Jesus is the call to suffer and to sacrifice our lives in selfless service. How can you reconcile that with your call to financial security?”
Dilbeck said he reminded the group while Jesus did laid down his life on the cross, he did withdraw at times to rest. And Paul did receive financial help. More importantly he noted, a colleague spoke up and said, “Jesus calls us to deny ourselves, he doesn’t call us to neglect ourselves. And there’s a difference.”
In Paul’s instructions to Timothy, he tells the younger man that an overseer must be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:1). “It’s not just about the office that you hold, it’s about the man that you’ll be,” Dilbeck stressed. “You can’t do what God has called you to do unless you be the man that God has called you to be.”
Dilbeck said pastors must persevere because “there is no burden like the pastor’s burden.” Having served as a church pastor and CEO of a multimillion-dollar corporation, he said, “I never carried a heavier burden like when I was shepherding the flock of God.”
He placed high importance on pastors getting the doctrine right because “it has eternal consequences.” Not only that but on pastors living out their Christian witness: “If we get our own lives wrong, it has eternal consequences,” he said.
For Dilbeck, it all ultimately comes down to a matter of salvation and a heavy responsibility. “Because we’re dealing with the souls of boys and girls, of men and women! We don’t have that margin for error! We’ve got to pay attention! We’ve got to get this right because our ministries have eternal focuses!”