Back in spring of 2007 I was 23 year old pastor in my second year of paid ministry. Out of sheer nepotism, I was asked to interview Dr. John Piper at the 2007 reFocus Conference at Willingdon Church. I believe I was the youngest, greenest, most ignorant pastor they could find and I think they were going for the whole “experienced all-star pastor straightens out the rookie” vibe. I bring this up because out of that experience there is one particular thing that Piper said which has stuck with my clearly to this day.
At the time I was pastoring a small rural church and had been told by a few people that the smaller your church is the less you should focus on preaching. Additionally, there seemed to be a larger trend against expositional preaching. I believe the theme of the conference was even on preaching Christ. Anyways, I recall asking Piper something about whether he believed preaching was the pastor’s first business (quoting Spurgeon). It was a total setup question. I thought everyone in the room was at that conference because they believed preaching was our first business. It was a nice easy pitch across the plate for him to step into.
“No” he replied, “your first business is God.”
I don’t remember his wording after that, but his point was that before preaching, before anything else, a pastor must first be a worshipper. Everything is all out of whack if I miss that first priority. I suppose we could apply this to all other ministries as well. As a Community Group leader, your first business is God. As a worship leader, your first business is God. As a mother, your first business is God. As your try to live on mission and share the gospel with your co-workers, your first business is God.
Only once we treasure God are we in a position to fulfill the tasks of ministry.