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Pastoral Expectations(10)

August 15th, 2012
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Scripture of the Day: 1 1 Timothy 4:9-16

9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance 10 (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.

 11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.(NIV)

 Be faithful to the Statement of Beliefs and the policies, practices and procedures of the denomination.

 In addition to abiding by the Code of Ethics for Elders, all pastors should adhere faithfully to denominational teachings, guidelines, policies and parameters.

 Eugene Peterson said:

 Frederick von Hugel said the institution of the church is like the bark on the tree. There’s no life in the bark. It’s dead wood. But it protects the life of the tree within. And the tree grows and grows and grows and grows. If you take the bark off, it’s prone to disease, dehydration, death.

 We need accountability for protection from self. But our life is described by

 Andrew Purves :

 Our primary job is to declare the gospel that Jesus died for our sins, that in Jesus Christ we are forgiven and that Jesus lives. We are to help the church in the process of living into that reality.

 We need to recover the core job description of ministers: that is to bear witness to Jesus and to help our people grow up in every way into him who is the living Lord. This is how we may live lives of holiness.We ministers are not the Saviour: we cannot raise the dead, forgive the sins, fix the divorce, un-diagnose the cancer, do all these things that really is the Lord’s job to do.

And so the question is when I walk into a hospital room, a cancer ward, what am I going to do there? I can’t un-diagnose the cancer. I can’t raise the dead.

 We are to let the Lord be the Lord and we are not the Lord.

 It’s not my ministry, it’s not my church. It’s the Lord’s church.

 And he is the one who is the Saviour, who will raise the dead and forgive the sins and at the end of times will dry every tear and everything will be made whole in him.

 We do have a living Lord whose ministry we rely on.

 

Message for the Day

Pastoral Expectations(9)

August 14th, 2012
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Scripture of the Day: 2 Timothy 2:1-2

 1 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.(NIV)

Identify, develop, mentor and empower leaders.

 Pastors should seek to promote church growth by identifying gifted people in the congregation who can provide leadership for congregations now and in the future. Pastors are expected to be developing more pastors and other ministry leaders and are encouraged to plant new congregations in the community.

 Steve Elliot:

 Somebody shared this with me early on — the difference between coaching and mentoring. Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably, so it’s helpful for me to get some definitions and then work off of those.

 The idea of mentoring was that mentoring is pouring my life into somebody else’s life. There’s obviously important things that happen when somebody who’s a little more mature works with somebody who’s younger and less experienced in mentoring, and pouring a lot of what you’ve learned over the years into their lives.

 On the other hand, coaching is drawing out of the other person that which is already in them — the ability to use the giftedness that God has placed in them and the aspects of their personality and to draw it out. A lot of times we’re hindered by the experiences that we’ve had before or just have not thought about the possibilities, and so coaching is able to accomplish that.

 

Message for the Day

Pastoral Expectations(8)

August 13th, 2012
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Scripture of the Day: 1 Peter 5:1-4

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;

3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

Serve the congregation faithfully.

 The pastor should be present at the serious times of transition in the lives of the members. The pastor’s presence is expected in times of serious illness and in times of serious conflict within families or among church members.

 The pastor is expected, as much as is reasonably possible, to be present for funerals, weddings and other important occasions in the lives of the members.

 Andrew Purvess:

 To do that, pastors, you need to know your people, and you then facilitate, as it were, that conversation between the living Lord and the freedom of his love and the power of the Spirit and the lives of your people—you help them to make these connections in your preaching and in your teaching and in your pastoral work.

 First of all, as a pastor, you have to live in Christ. You have to know the Lord. But you must know the Lord as the Lord of your life. It means a life of worship, a life of living in Christ.

 Saint Paul used the phrase “in Christ,” “in the Lord,” “in him” in his letters around 164 times. It’s his fundamental statement about what it means to be a Christian.

 You can’t do ministry unless you have a life in Christ, in him, embedded in him, rooted, growing up in him, so that the flower of your ministry and faith is a result of your roots of faith—life being deeply embedded in the soil of the word of God. That on the one hand.

 The other thing—to be a pastor you have to be embedded with your people. You’ve got to know your people.

 One of the sad aspects of contemporary ministry is that ministers tend to sit in big offices with a sanctuary outside, and people come and visit the minister. In the olden days, the ministers used to go and visit the people.

The word parish comes from two Greek words para, oikos, beyond the house—and the parish was the walking distance that the minister or priest could cover to get to the houses of the people.

 We read in Acts that Paul visited from house to house—all of which is to say the pastor must know his or her people. You’ve got to be involved in their lives.

You’re with them in their births and their deaths and their getting jobs and losing jobs and in their hospitals and all of their ups and downs. You’re with them. I think that’s the genius of a pastoral giftedness—that your joy is to walk with these people.

 So you know the Lord, you’re embedded in the life of the Lord…when one thinks perhaps of John 15—you’re a branch connected to the vine, you’re organically connected and you are in Christ, abiding in him. But you’re also in the people, you’re abiding in them.

 As the pastor, then, you are the one who enables that conversation. They know the Lord, too, but you’re the one whose special job and appointment is to bear witness. So I tell my students don’t use phrases like “pastoral counseling.” If somebody needs a therapist, find a good therapist.

 Your job is rather to help them interpret their context of their life—the ups and downs, the pains, the tragedies, the joys. Go to the graduation parties as well as the funeral homes. Make the connections, and in the small things you often don’t even have to say words. You are making connections between Jesus and them. It feeds into the sermons.

 Effective preaching arises out of a preacher or pastor, a man or a woman who is embedded with the people and preaches into the context of their pain, preaches into the context of the silence of their cry to God—“where are you, God?”, and when they hear nothing back.

 One other thought that I’ve played with through the years is that I think all ministry has a “from-to” character. That is, you move from your place as the pastor, from your life in Christ, from your safe place, to where the people are. That may not be a comfortable place.

 Although I’m well acquainted (sadly) with hospitals because of my own cancer, I don’t like hospitals. I have a daughter-in-law who is a physician. She’s very comfortable in hospitals. I will never be comfortable in hospitals.

But, you know, hospitals are not my “to” place. And yet as pastors we have to go into these uncomfortable “to” places. But we can only do what we do in these, as it were, “to” places because we have a deep grounded-ness in our “from” place, and that’s our anchor.

 So I would encourage pastors really, really seriously in this regard. If you have no life in Christ, you have no ministry, because we read in John 15:5, “Apart from me, you can do nothing. Unless you are connected into me, the vine, you can do nothing.”

 So, the most practical, pertinent question I can put to a working pastor is, “What’s going on in your life in Jesus?” Because if you don’t have a life in Christ, you don’t have a ministry.

No matter how technically proficient you are in the skills of ministry, no matter how many committee meetings you go to, your life in Christ means that you can go into these situations and you know who Jesus is, what he is up to in all of these contexts, and you can point to that, bear witness to that.

 

Message for the Day