I have just finished a little over a nine-year pastorate at a church that I have absolutely loved. Leaving on the best of terms, I feel good about the future for this church and her work of the gospel. One thing I do want to say about pastoring is that it is hard work, and a pastor who serves is serving a very difficult and challenging calling. As a result, I will always appreciate the local church pastor. That said, whatever your role in the church, here’s a few truths that I want to share with our pastors but that I think that everyone should hear.
Pastor, remember this:
- You are a minister of the Word. It’s very easy to get tied down with administrative tasks and pastoral care duties, but you are called primarily as a minister of the Word. This means you are called to teach, train, rebuke, counsel, and preach the Word. The ministry of exhortation cannot be second place. Sure, there’ll be critics who want a pastor to be a glorified chaplain, but this can weaken the church in the long run. Pastors who minister faithfully through the Word of God can see a more mature, healthy, missions-focused church.
- You are to love people. I once had a pastor say over and over again, “if you can do people, you can’t do ministry.” He was the best “people person” I have ever known, and he is now in his 26th year at the same church. Loving people takes on many forms, but this does include spending time with them. Of course, this doesn’t mean that primary focus on the Word should suffer, but you do need to see church members regularly. Whether it’s counseling, home visits, office visits, lunch, or any of the above, enjoy time with your church family. You won’t regret it.
- You are loved. God loves the pastor and called him to minister in a unique setting and time. It’s tough and lonely work at times! However, remember that when Elijah was at his lowest point, he felt alone and helpless, but God reminded him otherwise with ministering spirits. Ministry can be lonely, but you need to be reminded that God uses a variety of ways (including his church) to show you how deeply, sincerely you are loved.
- You should remember the weak. There are many people to love on and minister to on a daily basis, but those who are already mature don’t always need your full attention. However, the baby Christians need your attention more, and as a lead discipler in your church, you are responsible for them whether this is delegated or not. Sure, their lives might be messy, but be patient with them, love them, and help them to walk a deeper walk in Christ.
- You need to develop leaders. You may have one, ten or a hundred leaders, but you are all part of the same team. Make sure that your followers are sitting on the right seats on the ministry bus, and then commit to the task of equipping and empowering them. You can’t overcommunicate your vision, and you can’t underestimate their willingness to be challenged. Be there for them when they struggle and when they succeed. After all, you are in this together.
Obviously, this is not a complete list and maybe I can add to it much later. However, I hope that this is encouraging and helpful. Let’s all pray for our pastors, as they lead the church!
Romans 16:20 (NASB95), “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
Ever since the curse was pronounced by God to those awaiting his sentence in the Garden, all eternity was waiting for the time when the head of the serpent was to be crushed by the seed of the woman. Decades of waiting turned to hundreds of years, hundreds turned to thousands, and soon man’s hope in the great battle to come would fade away in favor of the many worldly pleasures offered instead. Sin had run its course.
God’s people would even miss the point of the Exodus and the Law that was given. No one would be righteous to stand, no, not one, and it was clear that all were transgressors of the Ten Commandments and all the rest of the commands. Isaiah would proclaim “woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips,” and Jeremiah would preach with tears in his eyes as he saw the lostness around him. Yet no one listened, no one seemed to care, and the arrival of the Great snake crusher finally came, but without the fanfare afforded a King.
Jesus came to give us life. Your salvation was purchased by a snake crushing, cross bearing, nail wearing, man of all men. His gracious offer to you came with a price. Our debt was paid on the cross in full, where this sinless, God-man Savior died for our sins, and not for our sins only, but that of the whole world (1 Jn 2:2). His disciples were chosen to share with everyone and anyone. His Commission was for the church to do the same. What Christ has started in His all-out assault on the forces of evil, His Bride is to continue until He returns. As you are going, make disciples of all men.
Go crush that snake with an all-out gospel-powered assault on the gates of Hell. Your King awaits.
Yesterday was a major milestone for First Baptist Church of Mt. Healthy. Over the course of the day, we both celebrated 60 years of ministry and acknowledged a new direction for our church in reaching our community with the love of Jesus Christ. At the close of our worship service, men, women, and children came forward to sign and affirm their own commitment to the Lord, His church, and His gospel work. It was an amazing, refreshing time!
It is good to honor the past, and a very good thing to look at the present, yet one thing we as leaders wanted to emphasize in our church is to get excited about the future. We are saved in Christ because Christ fervently prayed for us in His high priestly prayer of John 17. We are alive in Christ because God saw into the future and called us to Him (Eph 1:4). And we are missionaries in Christ to do His Great Commission of Mt 28:19-20.
Church, let’s not forget that someone, some way prayed for and shared Christ with us. In the same way, make your life, your work, and your church a place where this same action is done over and over again for those who need His salvation.
I love you, First Baptist. Let’s do God’s work as Together…we Come, Grow, Serve, and Share!
1 Corinthians 13 is known by many as the “love chapter.” Often, when I perform weddings, I get requests for someone to read this passage in the service. It’s a wonderful passage, and it can be applied to marriage, parenting, anything in life, but the original intent was within the context of the church. Watch this awesome video:
Life as the church is a life of love- we are better together! God has preordained His church of His people to good works, ministry that we do once we are His.
We begin with love, we share with truth, and we live with joy.
How are you loving others this week?
The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion. (Proverbs 28:1 NASB)
This is for pastors: Ministry is not for wimps. I’m serious. If you whine and cry whenever you get your feelings hurt, then do something else. I’m not trying to be mean about it, but there are times when you have to stand and do what’s right and not worry about whether or not its popular. Sometimes you have to confront sin, as you speak the truth in love. After all, if you do what God wants, everything will be fine anyway. God is sovereign, after all, right?
Each day over the past few years I see a verse of scripture on a post-it note by my desk: “The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted” (Proverbs 29:25 NASB). It’s just as true today for me as it was a few years ago. What I have found is that if I am truly sold out to Christ and His calling, spending time devoted to God’s Word, then Satan gets angry and things can get more turbulent. In fact, it can get to be full blown spiritual warfare.
Here’s what you do if and when this happens: stay on target. Stay focused and steadfast in doing what God wants. Be bold as a lion, be trusting in the Lord and be ready for the attacks from the enemy. Stop letting criticism and other nonsense discourage you, and don’t let self doubt fool you. Be encouraged, my friend: God has the victory!
As we flew into Abu Dhabi on our way to Nepal, I got a new appreciation for the size and breadth of our planet. We went from Cincinnati to Chicago, then from Chicago to Abu Dhabi.
How we travelled there was unexpected. The flight went northeast through Canada, across the northern Atlantic north of Scotland, then entering Eastern Europe through Turkey, Iraq, and the Persian Gulf. Crazy route, but really cool to see on the map displayed on our in flight screens.
Oh and by the way, Etihad Airlines has outclassed any airline I have ever been on. Best I’ve ever seen and I was on the plane for almost 13 hours today.
I’m thankful for a big planet of many people of many ethnicities. So many people, so many to reach with the gospel of Jesus Christ. However as people are reached, I look forward to the day when every tribe and tongue will praise Christ!