Las Cruces (BNM) - Preaching an unintended sermon to New Mexico Baptists, Steve Gaines told pastors to seek God for six specific ministry qualities and to embrace and practice personal accountability. Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, Tenn., and former Southern Baptist Convention president, delivered the message during the afternoon opening session of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s 2018 Annual Meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at Mesilla Park Community Church, Las Cruces.
Gaines walked onstage, picked up a guitar, put it around his neck and sang the old Gospel hymn, “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord.” During the song, the crowd remained mostly silent. As he finished, many people in the audience applauded. Gaines sang the song in response to a messenger’s curiosity about whether or not he would sing a hymn, as he is known to do occasionally.
Gaines told the audience that he was tempted to preach a “sugar stick sermon.” He said the term referred to a tried and true message from a pastor’s “arsenal.” But, instead, he felt God prompting him to speak on a new topic hours before he came onstage. As a result, he preached without the customary accompanying visuals on the large screens in the meeting hall.
Gaines focused his message on six qualities that pastors and leaders should pray and ask God to grant to them. He taught from 2 Timothy 2. He reminded the listening crowd, “If God has called you where you are, your ministry matters.” Then, he asked everyone to repeat out loud, “My ministry matters.” As people did so, the voices of several men and women in the audience stood out.
Gaines encouraged leaders to ask God for six ministry characteristics: a dependent ministry, a discipling ministry, a devoted ministry, a devout ministry, a diligent ministry and a discerning ministry. Each characteristic included its own calls and challenges. Many of them were affirmations of spending time in God’s Word, allowing the Holy Spirit to work in a pastor’s life and surrendering control to God.
Gaines also called on pastors to embrace and practice personal accountability. Pastors need someone in their lives to ask them hard questions, to help them walk in prayer and to help them allow God to teach them lessons in every area of their lives, he said.
Finally, Gaines asked struggling pastors and lay leaders to walk to the front of the room for a time of prayer. After people moved forward, He urged the crowd to reach out their hands and pray aloud for the leaders gathered at the front. The prayer time concluded his sermon.
Gaines also delivered the message for the Tuesday evening session.