Navigating Through Ministry
Apr30

Navigating Through Ministry

At times I am asked for advice from pastors who are frustrated or hurting. I assume they ask for my advice because they have witnessed my mistakes and desire to avoid similar pitfalls.  Recently, I was privileged to have a man I greatly respect share some challenges with me that he is facing in ministry. The thrust of the challenge is the frustrating clash between biblical pastoral ministry and modern church ministry.  How would you encourage pastors who are neck deep in frustration but clearly have a strong love and devotion to the Lord, to His word, to His mission, to His church, and to the gospel?   Not knowing how to respond, I prayed and then shared the advice below.  Church planting is not always the answer. No church is perfect, even the one you may plant. It will always fall short of your dreams and will be beyond your control and influence. This is because you are not Jesus. Theology matters. All of it. I understand that you may be fully committed to a theological system (see Calvinistic, TULIP, reformed, Armenian).  Nothing wrong with loving and preaching your conviction. Keep in mind, theology impacts everything in your life and has a way of sneaking into areas that most never anticipate. Make sure your theology has settled before you make decisions to change.  Live your calling apart from the machine. Most of us will deal with some level of frustration in ministry on a regular basis. I believe this is because many pastors have adopted a philosophy that modern ministry is biblical ministry (I.e., biblical service unto the Lord). Although this is the example we see in the bible and the first couple of centuries, this is not the reality gleaned from Christian history. If you serve a church, part of your “ministry” will always be a job. Don’t be surprised if the job portion is 70% or more. You are being paid to do a job whether you theologically agree with that or not. Do the job and look for areas where your ministry calling overlaps with the job and praise the Lord for His mercy and rejoice! I also work a job, with almost no overlap.  Consider alternative ministry settings. If you are called to a more pure form of gospel ministry, consider a parachurch ministry (your own non-profit: I.e., DesiringGod.org, Living Waters Ministries RelevantGospel.org). In a parachurch ministry there is no church to shepherd and no meetings to discuss. It is almost purely apostolic.  Trade your frustration for joy. This is not easy. Find what you enjoy in your ministry. What in your current ministry...

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Trusting and Resting
Apr09

Trusting and Resting

Psalm 23 is probably one of the best known Psalms for images of rest. That is what I am focusing on at the moment… Rest. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. I am sitting here soaking up the image of green pastures and resting. I can’t help but feel rested in this peacefulness; but, as I read this psalm the word Shepherd jumped of the page at me… Because that is the point of this psalm: trusting in your shepherd. Christ is my shepherd. He leads me, He feeds me, He restores me, and He fulfills me. He is my all and I should always trust and rest in Him. Although I can make this statement with confidence, I am also reminded of those faithful undershepherds, who Christ has called and entrusted the care of His flock. I have thought a lot over the last 12-14 hours as I drove about the faithful undershepherds who have ministered the Word to me. They are each very special to me for different reasons. I have decided that this will be my families prayer focus for this week: praying for those faithful undershepherds. We will be praying for each of them this week, thanking Jesus for their sacrifice and faithfulness… As we...

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A Great Sunset
Apr07

A Great Sunset

What an amazing sunset – this truly speaks of our Creator God I was reminded as I watched the setting sun of Psalm 19:1-2 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. Join me as I sit in awe of God, not only for His incredible power and creativity in what He has made, but also in awe of His love and mercy through Jesus...

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