Albert Mohler Urges Seminary Graduates to Reconsider Ministry Attitudes

Reverend Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, gave some last words to graduates of 2004 about the responsibilities of working in God. He urged graduates to never consider their calling from God as a means for professional advancement. Rather the graduates, should consider the life of John the Baptist whom Mohler says embodied ministerial faithfulness – not seeking gains from the work he did.

Mohler cited a disturbing trend for pastors and ministers to see themselves as media activists, psychological therapists, social critics, and political negotiators. In the process, the pastors lose focus and forget their first calling – that is to be a servant to Christ.

“Professionalism kills,” Mohler says. “The spirit of the professional is not the spirit of Christ. The talent of the professional is not the gift of the ministry. The aim of the professional is not the mission of the true servant of Christ. The professional would not say, ‘In the cross of Christ I glorify.’ But the minister of God must.”

Mohler took three pivotal moments in John the Baptist’s life to explain the meaning of servitude and faithfulness in Christ.

First, Mohler said, all ministers must work in humility. He explained, “In a New Testament perspective [humility] is a non-negotiable necessity. Know that it's not about us. It's all about God. It's all about the glory of God.” Mohler went on by saying:

"True humility is assuming the responsibility God has invested in us and knowing it is to God's glory and burning ourselves out with passion to see God's glory demonstrated in that calling. Ultimately it is all about God. It's not about us. But God uses human servants as vessels for His Gospel."

Second, Mohler said that every minister have clarity. While most preachers would rather take the easy route and preach about Christ subliminally, it is more important, Mohler says, to preach the gospel of Christ with strict theological precision. Mohler explained:

“We need a generation ready to tell the truth and to be very clear and very specific about what the truth is," he said. "This is no time for almost saying something. The Christian minister is not to be known for angular speech but for directness. Whatever gifts God has given you, direct them to clarity for the cause of Christ, the glory of God and the mission of the Gospel.”

Mohler stated that the definition for clarity meant that minister should not shy away from certain parts of the Bible, but preach the gospel in its full context. Ministers, in other words, should not worry about what the audience wants to hear but rather if he or she is doing what they have been called to do – that is to preach what is true.

Lastly, Mohler stated that minister must be able to set priority in themselves. In other words, the minister must work in the interest of furthering the glory of the Lord for no personal gain. There is no room for shared glory in ministry, Mohler said, “Whatever glory we have will be the glory we are given on that day when Christ shall claim us as His own. In this world we will not see glory. Whatever glory we see is more dangerous than profitable.”

So in short, the minister should only find joy in the conversion of a sinner and spiritual growth in younger believers. He said. “…It is not our glory, and for us there is no glory in it except the glory we get to see and the reflected glory that comes to us because of the work of God.”

[Quotes taken from Southern Baptist Seminary Press]