“Ministers must be examined before they are sent out, especially as regards what they think of Christ and who they say he is, for how can they be acknowledged as ministers of Christ if they are either ignorant of him or mistaken about him?”
“Let ministers not grudge their effort to do good, even if it is only to a few people. The One who knows the value of souls would go a long way to save one person from death and Satan’s power.”
“Ignorance of the meaning of the Scriptures is especially shameful in those who take on the task of teaching others.”
- Ministry knowledge: “It is not an oxymoron to say that there are loads of theologically knowledgeable pastors who, in the way they live and minister, are spiritually immature.”
- Ministry experience: “There is a critical difference between the street-level wisdom gained from experience and spiritual maturity. You can know what is going to happen next, because you’ve been around the block a few times, but you may not deal well with what is going to happen next, because you lack maturity.”
- Ministry success: “We have no ability to advance God’s kingdom. So ministry success always says more about the Lord we serve that it does about us.”
- Ministry celebrity: “You must take their congratulatory words as well meant but lacking in accuracy and, therefore, spiritual helpfulness. They haven’t seen you in your private domain, they do not know your heart, and they have not interviewed those who live nearest to you.”
“How many of us would have to confess that there are moments when we are more ruled by fear of ________ than fear of God?”
What things do pastors wrongly fear?
- Fear of me: “There are few things that will reveal to you the full range of your sin, immaturity, weakness, and failure like ministry will. There are few things that will expose your weaknesses to others as consistently as ministry does. There are few endeavours that will put you under public scrutiny like ministry does. There are few things that are as personally humbling as ministry is. There are few endeavours that have the power to produce in you such deep feelings of inadequacy as ministry does.”
- Fear of others: “Most of the people you serve will love and appreciate you and will encourage you as they are able, but not all of them. Some will love you and have a wonderful plan for your life! Some will assign themselves to be the critics of your preaching and/or leadership. Some will be loyal and supportive, and some will do things that undermine your pastoral leadership. Some will give themselves to the ministry in sacrificial acts of service, and some will complain about the way they are being served… Some you will connect with easily, and with others you will find relationships much more difficult.”
- Fear of Circumstances: “There is a constant unpredictability to life and ministry.”
- Fear of the future: “You always live and minister in the hardship of not knowing. In both life and ministry you are called to trust and obey and believe that God will guide and provide.”
“What things does the awe of God produce in the heart of a pastor that are vital for an effective, God-honouring, and productive ministry?”
- Humility: “As long as I am comparing myself to others, I can always find someone whose existence seems to be an argument for how righteous I am. But if I compare the filthy rags of my righteousness to the pure and forever unstained linen of God’s righteousness, I want to run and hide in heartbreaking shame.”
- Tenderness: “An awareness of my sin and desperate need for grace – then produces pastoral tenderness toward the people around me, who give empirical evidence that they are in need of the same grace.”
- Passion: “My passion for ministry is not about how I am being received; it flows out of the reality that I have been received by him. My enthusiasm is not because people like me, but because he has accepted and sent me.”
- Confidence: “…comes from a knowledge of whom I serve…. He will not call me to a task without enabling me to do it. He has more zeal for the health of the church than I ever will.”
- Discipline: “It is the awesome glory of God’s existence, character, plan, presence, promises, and grace that gives me reason to work hard and not give up, no matter whether we are in a “good” season or one that is stormy.”
- Rest: “It is the knowledge that there is nothing too hard for the God whom I serve.”
What battles do pastors expect?
“I knew there would be battles for the gospel or battles for a biblical philosophy of ministry.
I knew there would be skirmishes with fellow leaders or tugs of war between competing ministry interests.
I knew that there would be an inevitable ebb and flow of ministry, that we would go through both bright and dark passages.
I knew that people don’t always hunger for or treasure the gospel of Jesus Christ as they should.
I knew that not everyone to whom I was called to minister would have a natural affection for or connection to me.
I knew I would be compared to the pastors who preceded me.
I knew that I would be called to minister in moments of meagre resources of both help and money.
I knew I would be called to battle for the gospel in people’s lives in very hard moments.
I knew that there would be times when people were angry with God and therefore not all that excited with me.”
What battle do pastors not expect?
“…but what I didn’t know or anticipate were the battles that would rage inside of me…”
“Pastoral ministry is always shaped by a war between the kingdom of self and the kingdom of God, which is fought on the field of your heart.”
“Pastor, you know that every day you give personal empirical evidence that you have not yet arrived. Every day you think, desire, say, and do things that point to the existence of remaining sin within your heart.”
Pastors need the local church and the ministry of the people they have been called to lead.
“Because… the pastor [has] the responsibility of training God’s people for their member-to-member ministry function, I am afraid that we have unwittingly concluded that the pastor is above a need of what the rest of the body needs and does… The pastor is in the unique position of not only training the body for this ministry but also of personally needing the very ministry for which he trains them.”
“[The pastor] is a member of the body of Christ who himself desperately needs the ministry of the very body he has been called to train and lead.”
“Pastor, you too need to be surrounded by well-trained teachers and faithful, loving admonishers.”
“Should we not conclude, then, that it is dangerous for the pastor to live outside of the essential ministry of the body of Christ, which is there to guard, protect, confront, encourage, grow, and, if need, restore him?”
- He ignored the clear evidence of problems
- He was blind to the issues of his own heart
- His ministry lacked devotion
- He wasn’t preaching the gospel to himself
- He wasn’t listening to the people closest to him
- His ministry became burdensome
- He began to live in silence
- He began to question his calling
- He gave way to fantasies of another life
I found these series of promises that Tim White made as pastor to Winchester Baptist Church a helpful reminder of the calling I have as a pastor.
Having been made an overseer by the Lord Jesus Christ,
affirmed as such by His Church,
and enabled solely by His grace,
I commit to live in a manner worthy of His calling,
loving Him with all my heart, soul and mind,
always on guard for myself that I maintain a testimony that is above reproach;
I commit to preach His Word,
standing ready in season and out of season,
never shrinking to declare to you the whole counsel of God,
reproving, rebuking, and exhorting with great patience and instruction;
I commit to shepherd His flock,
whom Christ purchased with His own blood,
exercising oversight with humility, leading by example,
and equipping His saints for the work of the ministry;
I commit to be found faithful as His steward,
looking to Christ alone for both judgment and praise,
that in all things He might have the preeminence;
And by His grace,
I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls
because He, the Chief Shepherd, spent Himself for me.
To Christ alone be the glory.
“Pastors need an efficient way to store, search and share information.”
The solution = Evernote.
Evernote is a program designed for taking notes and storing or archiving them away in various notebooks. It’s available for both Mac and PC plus stacks of other mobile devices.
I’ve been using it for a number of years and thought that it might be helpful to share how I use it.
Before I do let me give you three big reasons why I like Evernote:
- Cloud – Evernote syncs to all your devices, which means I can access it from my MacBook, iPad and iPhone plus from any computer that is online.
- Capacity – Evernote allows you to upload up to 1GB of files (with a Premium Subscription) each month.
- Clipper – Google Chrome has a great web clipper that enables content to be saved from webpages straight into Evernote.
So how do I use Evernote?
I have 9 notebooks (or stacks) and each notebook has a number of sub-notebooks.
- Books & Journals [E-Books; Journals]
- Pastor [Pastor; Preaching; Productivity; Training; Blogging]
- Reference [Bible – OT; Bible – NT; Biblical Theology; Church; Church History; Discipleship; Doctrine; Family; Gospel; Mission; Spiritual Discipline; Worldview; Worship]
- Youth & Children
Every note (both ones I make or web clippings) goes into the !Inbox notebook. Once in the !Inbox I give it a ‘tag(s)’ that summarises its content, before filing it away in the relevant notebook or sub-notebook. Currently I have over 4000 notes that have been tagged and filed away in the relevant notebook ready to search through.
If you are a pastor and want more help about how to get started with / use Evernote, I found this short e-book helpful: A Guide to Evernote for Pastors by Ron Edmondson.