I’m sure you have probably have heard the phrase “one trick pony”. It pretty much describes someone who only has one joke, one skill, or one talent. They are not good at much else, but they have one thing in which they excel. In our world of the super powered CEO, many pastors feel the weight of being a counselor like Dr. Phil, a innovator like Steve Jobs, a shrewd financial business man like Warren Buffet, an intellectual apologist like Ravi Zacarhias, or a mega church pastor like….well take your pick. The pastoral ministry is an incredibly diverse profession in which at any moment you can be managing the church's budget, reading commentaries, leading a staff meeting, brainstorming new ministries, or praying with a mourning family. The pressure to be diverse in our skill sets can often feel overwhelming, because most of us are not prodigies in any one of these areas, let alone all of them.
The Only Hope for the World
If you are a pastor, I’ve got some encouraging news for you. You just need to be a one trick pony. You don’t need to be skilled in every possible area imaginable, you just need be skilled in one thing and one thing only – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What your people need most from you is to be an expert at applying the Gospel of Jesus Christ into how you serve your people. Study the Gospel, treasure the Gospel, and understand its many facets as a diamond in the light. Then bring the truth of the Gospel into your peoples lives. As you preach, as you teach, as you counsel, as you manage, as you pray, as you write, do it all with Gospel intentionality, bringing the truth of what Jesus has done into each of these areas of your ministry.
We have one message and one message only–the risen, crucified Christ. That’s it. We have nothing else to offer our people but Jesus, yet he is more than enough. Pastors do have the most important jobs in the world, because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only hope for the world. You don’t need to be a modern day renaissance man, you just need to know the Gospel and bring its truth into everything you do in your ministry.
Practice Applying the Gospel to Your Own Heart
It is not easy being an expert in any one area. In a sense, to say you are an expert in the Gospel is really foolish, because we will spend eternity still growing in our knowledge of God’s mysterious plan called the Gospel. However it takes practice to learn how to apply the Gospel to your peoples lives, and it is best to start with your own. Probe your heart, study the Scriptures, and learn who to take the Gospel message and apply it to your marriage, your family, your finances, your physical health, your friendships, your diet. If you want to be multifaceted in applying the Gospel, apply it to every little hidden area of your life.
One Remedy, Administered in Many Ways
As pastors we have one remedy and it is Jesus. As we look at the hurting and sick world around us, there is only one treatment and that is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
When we encounter someone who is spiritually dead, we share the remedy of the Gospel praying God would give them faith and thus life.
When we encounter a broken marriage, we share the remedy of the Gospel in which God reconciles us to himself through Christ and thus gives that broken marriage hope for reconciliation.
When we are dealing with mourning families, we share the remedy of the Gospel and point them to the coming return of Jesus and the coming restoration in which Christ’s resurrection was the first fruits.
When we are counseling addicts, we point them to the remedy of the Gospel about Jesus the liberator who through his death breaks the shackles of addiction through his victory on the cross.
When we are managing our churches finances, we share the remedy of the Gospel, knowing that God owns it all and that he has purchased it all through Christ, therefore we are but stewards of this money.
When we a preparing for sermons, we do so knowing that it is through the remedy of the Gospel that our eyes are open through Christ to perceive and understand the Word of God.
When we are preaching the word of God, it is only the remedy of the Gospel through the application of the Holy Spirit that can bring try transformation and revival in our people.
Do Not Be Ashamed of Being a One Trick Pony
Pastor, do not be ashamed if all you have to offer the world is the Gospel. That is more than enough. You may apply it and prescribe it in different ways, but you only have one medicine in the bag. Preach and proclaim Christ. Do not be ashamed that this is all you have, because as the apostle Paul said the Gospel is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom 1:16). In your pastoral ministry make it your life’s ambition to preach the Gospel and do not get distracted with feelings of inadequacy, ministry comparison, or a manufactured pragmatism. Decide like Paul “to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2). You may be a one trick pony, but within your medicine bag remains the one hope of the world, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.