3 Rules for Heralds of the Gospel

imagesA while ago I posted on Paul’s use of the term ‘herald‘ to describing his ministry:

For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher…” (2 Timothy 1:11)

Heralds (keryx) were those who brought a significant, compelling, declaration on behalf of a King, either to another monarch, or to the general public. They were kind of an emissary/spruiker.

It’s a helpful word, I think, that resonates with how many see their missional ministry into our culture.

You can real my fuller explanation here.

I think there’s three basic rules for aspiring heralds of the gospel:

1.   Heralds speak with the King’s authority, not their own.

Heralds shouldn’t know the meaning of the term status anxiety, because they know their status derives directly from the King. They should have a confidence which can only come from a commissioned vocation.

Anything a herald is privileged to do is enabled by the providence of God and the power of his Holy Spirit.  They speak for the King, or they don’t speak at all.

Therefore, heralds should confidently speak truth to power, be it oppressive or seductive. Or be it individual, or cultural.

2.   Heralds deliver the message accurately.

A Herald would rather be killed than misrepresent their King.

JI Packer observes: “Paul is at pains to say they he is not a philosopher, not a moralist, not one of the worlds wise men, but simply Christ’s herald… Adding nothing, altering nothing, omitting nothing”

Heralds clearly speak the Gospel, the good news that God reigns through Jesus Christ. 

They speak loud and clear in Christ’s name, carrying his authority, to be authenticated in the hearers by the convincing power of the Holy Spirit.

They don’t try and develop a unique message. They are faithful to that which has been entrusted to them.  And therefore speak with a prophetic timeliness, relying on truth to carry the innovation.

3.   Heralds have an invisible visibility. 

They are loud, they are clear, and they are forgotten. It’s not about them, it’s about the King.

Journalists today increasingly see themselves as commentators, with a byline photo as long as their article.

The temptation of the Herald is always to become the news, rather than declare the news. To build a profile, to be known, to get a platform.

We live in an era of creeping ministry narcissism.

And this is a nuanced and dangerous business – the herald’s task is to speak loudly and clearly, and will therefore involve a platform and audience of sorts. Don’t recoil from that, Paul says, rather ‘stir into flame the gift that is in you’.

But never think it’s your audience.

Heralds know the difference between bearing the news, and being the news.

A true herald ensures the people walk away challenged by the Kings message, not the herald’s hairstyle.

Don’t try and be a Somebody. Be a herald of the Jesus, obsessed with the King and his Good News.