By Dave Bearden
I have often been asked how I define success in ministry, and my answer has usually been the same: to be faithful to the Lord, his church, and my family. As I think about the hard but joyful work of church revitalization, and my desire to be faithful in it, I am reminded of the concluding words of the Apostle Paul to the church at Ephesus.
So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts. Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.
From this passage we glean several virtues that mark the life of faithful pastors, especially those serving in a revitalization context.
Faithful Pastors Make Disciples Consistently
We don’t have a great deal of information about Tychicus in the Scriptures as he is only referenced on four occasions in addition to the one above; (Acts 20:4, Colossians 4:7, 2 Timothy 4:12 and Titus 3:12). However, from these passages we discover some helpful insights about him and his relationship with the Apostle Paul and the church at Ephesus.
In verses 21 and 22, Paul commends Tychicus to the Ephesians believers because had faithfully served him during his imprisonment by writing down the content of the book of Ephesians as Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit dictated it to him. Tychicus is described in these verses as a beloved brother and faithful minister of the Lord who is being sent by Paul to the church at Ephesus to update them on his well-being and to encourage them in the gospel. He was also being sent by Paul to personally deliver the letter to the Ephesians, which was an extremely significant task that helps us see why Paul referred to Tychicus as a faithful minister of the Lord.
Tychicus first appears in Scripture at the end of Paul's missionary work in Ephesus. In Acts 20:4 Luke tells us that Tychicus was a native of the province of Asia in which Ephesus was the major city. From this we conclude that he was almost surely a convert of Paul's ministry in Ephesus and then followed him to Macedonia, Jerusalem and eventually Rome. Through many of Paul's ministry experiences, missionary endeavors and even imprisonments, Tychicus was right by Paul’s side, which allowed Paul to pour himself into Tychicus by teaching, training and modeling faithful discipleship for him. This demonstrates that Paul was a faithful pastor who followed the example of Jesus and was obedient to the command and commission of Jesus in Matthew 28 to make disciples. As he was going through life, he was faithfully investing himself into others, and Tychicus was a direct beneficiary.
From Paul’s example we understand that faithful pastors make disciples consistently, and that making disciples consistently is a virtue that must mark the life of a man who is privileged to serve as a pastor to God’s people.
Faithful Pastors Care for God’s People Proactively
In verses 21 and 22, Paul demonstrates that he was so much more than a theologian, missionary, church planter, disciple maker and biblical author, he was also a faithful pastor who loved people and proactively cared for the needs of their souls. In this passage, Paul says that he was sending Tychicus to the believers in Ephesus to let them know not only what he was doing, but how he was doing. What a powerful demonstration of Paul's proactive care for those whom he had once shepherded. He knew that they would want to know how about his welfare as he was imprisoned for the sake of the gospel, so he sent Tychicus to update and encourage them.
As a good leader and faithful pastor, he not only anticipated the needs of people, he also proactively met those needs through the ministry of Tychicus. This is a crucial aspect of the ministry mark of faithful pastors that must, by God’s grace be cultivated and practiced. May the Lord to cultivate in you a genuine concern for those you shepherd, and give you a sincere desire to proactively care for them and their needs through the hope of the gospel and the power of his Word.
Faithful Pastors Proclaim the Gospel Constantly
Certainly the truth and beauty of the gospel is on full display throughout the book of Ephesians. Prior to this beautiful benediction, Paul has masterfully explained the objective realities of the gospel in chapters 1-3, and called the Ephesian believers to apply those realities in chapters 4-6. So it should not surprise us that in the last few verses of this letter that Paul highlights the major gospel themes found throughout it.
The words peace, grace, faith and love permeate this book and are all purposely planted in this benediction to remind his readers of the beauty and power of the gospel. In this, Paul keeps the proclamation of the gospel primary. Faithful pastors must do the same in every facet of their ministries, whether preaching and teaching, casting vision, or providing pastoral care and counsel, the gospel must be the primary language the pastor speaks to those whom he shepherds. Ultimately, the glorious realities of the gospel and unsearchable riches of Christ must be the anchors of hope to which a faithful pastor points those he is called to shepherd.
May the Lord, by his grace and for his glory help us disciple people you consistently, care for them proactively, and proclaim the gospel to them constantly.
Dave Bearden is husband to Debi and father to Ben, Jonathan and Sarah Beth. He serves as Lead Pastor of Pinehurst Baptist Church in Everett, Washington. Dave is an alumnus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with an M. Div in Great Commission Studies (’17) and a former intern of the Mathena Center for Church Revitalization.
 Ephesians 6:21-24 (English Standard Version)