Shalom. Let God show you where you need to change and listen
As I look back over my time as a follower of Jesus and including my time in pastoral service (I’ll be celebrating 25 years in pastoral ministry on June 15th) I can’t help but think that maybe I’ve spent too much time running programs and building church structure (which seems oxymoronic from me if you know me at all) than making disciples.
Now this doesn’t mean I’ve not seen people grow as disciples or embrace the call that God has on their life. Every year I’ve been in ministry I’ve seen baptisms (not as many as I’d hope for) I’ve seen people embrace faith and step out into new challenges, but it seems to me that much of my role has revolved around ecclesial management, and rightly so to a degree. As a pastor it is my responsibility to ensure that a church has good pastoral leadership. But even deeper than that my role has responsibility , to quote Ephesians 4 12 …” to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.”
As a father helps raise his children and in the process of raising them, grows himself, so too is a Pastors role.
Each of us is at differing points in our relationship with Jesus, and often that’s the first thing to ensure, that you are in a relationship. Nobody needs to be directed in their faith journey exactly the same as everybody else. Whilst we will have similarities and broadly comparable issues, each of us is unique and must learn how to discern and know the will and purpose of God for each of us and be humble enough to be in a family of believers and have a role to play in that family (it’s called church people).
This is what unity looks like – that in the midst of diversity, differing opinions and expectations, styles and desires, we still choose to put Jesus and others first; that we continually remind ourselves it’s not about me, it’s about Jesus in me and others. Also, that we continually ask how can we build on the foundation we’ve inherited in such a way that it leaves a good foundation for the ones who follow.
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3… “7 It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. 9 For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.
10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.”
A field is simply a provision, a place, a blank canvas upon which God may create something, build something, build someone, someone like us.
We can only be successful, only have expertise, when we do it with an undergirding of grace, understanding it’s not our task alone, but others must be involved.
As a father I’m acutely aware that children need role models. Hopefully for my lads, I’m one of them, but I’d be stupid to think I’m the only one. They need multiple role models and part of my role is to encourage them to find good ones, because find them they will and many that the world offer are pretty hopeless, but the pressure is strong to embrace them. A parent needs men and women who will help them to raise their kids, they need men and women who will help them to show them good Christian relationships that grapple with the authentic and real issues of life.
They, like I, need the church. I also, with the deepest of humility realise that as much as I need the church, for better or worse, the church needs me too and further the church needs you, not simply for what you can do, but for who you can be.
I hope and pray that over this week you realise more and more who and what you are in his kingdom.