All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. 15 You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, “ Abba, Father. ” 16 The same Spirit agrees with our spirit, that we are God’s children. 17 But if we are children, we are also heirs. We are God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ, if we really suffer with him so that we can also be glorified with him.
What is the ultimate purpose of pastoral ministry? What emphases and priorities should take precedence? In the day-to-day emphasis on various pastoral roles and pragmatic concerns, what can sometimes get lost is the theological foundation for understanding pastoral ministry.
James Thompson is a New Testament scholar with a concern for relating biblical studies to practical ministry. Here he does a careful study of several of Paul's epistles in order to see what Paul's vision and purpose were for his own ministry. He finds that Paul's aim was an ethical transormation of the communities (not just individuals) with which he worked, so that they would live lives worthy of the gospel until Christ's return. Using this as a framework, Thompson offers suggestions for practical application to contemporary ministry.