FORSYTH – When Juston Gates of First Baptist Church, Forsyth, first surrendered to the ministry, he imagined that most of his time would involve preaching, prayer and other “neat, spiritual stuff,” but 18 years in ministry have taught him otherwise.
In fact, he came to find out that many of his days were filled with administrative tasks: making financial decisions, overseeing the work of committees, leading meetings and equipping the church’s ministry staff.
“We (pastors) make so many financial choices and business-like decisions every day,” Forsyth said. For this reason, after completing his theological education at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he went on to earn a Doctor of Ministry degree in leadership from Luther Rice Seminary in Georgia with the desire to improve his administrative abilities within the church.
Yet, although he enjoys the administrative tasks involved in pastoring a church, he loves most of all to teach and preach God’s Word.
“Some guys thrive with the front porch cup of coffee, the hospital visit, or premarital counseling,” but “I much more look forward to teaching than to anything else I do,” Gates said.
Although he is always open to his congregation, he tries to protect Mondays and Tuesdays, in particular, for studying and sermon preparation. It is essential to make this a priority because God’s people need God’s Word, he said.
Preaching God’s Word, exposing the truths that the Spirit has placed in the text of Scripture, is “central,” he said. “I don’t believe it’s true corporate worship unless it involves the teaching of the Word. The Bible itself is not God, but the Word is the direct revelation of God’s character, nature and person. …. The only way you can make disciples is from that book.”