What is the true job of a pastor?

The other day I had a delightful call with a young leader who brought up the topic of how a Pastor’s role appears to have terribly wandered today. I did a little digging on what others are saying…

“Most books on church growth and leadership today argue that if pastors continue to do what pastors have done for so many years, they will fail.”

Too many churches today operate with leadership models started in world models and adapted to the church. This is dangerous. Why?

These business models allow people to put pastors on pedestals.

These models puts the needs of the church first and forget outside the church.
The goal becomes building the church’s own kingdom rather than the kingdom of God. (Megachurch mania.) It’s the…, ‘If we build it, they will come’ mentality. And yet, we are called to go

But, pride leads to destruction…

Proverbs 18:12 (CEV)
12 Pride leads to destruction;
humility leads to honor.

And, selfish ambitions destroys a church…

James 3:16 (GW)
Wherever there is jealousy and rivalry, there is disorder and every kind of evil.

Instead, the role of the pastor should be based on a biblical model…


So, what does the Bible actually call a Pastor to do?

1. Pray first.

“Jesus lived a life of prayer. He started every day in communion with the heavenly Father. He ended every day in close relationship with His Father. At times, He even spent the whole night in communion with His Father. Jesus actually was in touch with His heavenly Father all the time.”

2. Do life out of a deep abiding relationship with Jesus.

“Over and over, the Scriptures show us that Jesus placed the highest priority of His life on spending time alone with the Father. His life reveals an intense passion for the presence of God. His heart longed and hungered to touch the heart of God.”

3. Preach the Word that is living and active, for heart transformation!

“We must study the Bible, not for curiosity, but for a new heart.”

4. Be in relationship with others. Do life with people. Don’t just lead meetings.

“Christ’s method builds relationships and meets needs.” Jesus didn’t die and rise again for us to be in meetings.

5. Then teach others how to do the same. (Emphasis on relationships.)

When Jesus began His public ministry, He called and empowered people to be His disciples— who would champion His world changing cause. As Robert Coleman says in The Master Plan of Evangelism, “His concern was not with programs to reach the multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes would follow. . . . People were to be His method of winning the world to God.”

6. And live a life of sacrifice.

Time, resources, and life unto death… willing to get in the muck. I recall this list…

12apostles

God calls us to live the life Jesus lived. Pastoral ministry is not about us, but about Him—about knowing and serving Him.”

Read the full excellent article here: The Biblical Role of the Pastor

Related: Epidemic: Another Pastor Burned Out and Quit Last Sunday

Discipleship Things We’ve Forgotten

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“Success is not the pastor or the staff executing all the ministry; it’s them equipping the saints to do the work of ministry.”

“If you seek to build a church, you rarely produce disciples…If you seek to make disciples, you always get the church.”

“Pray about God giving you 3-5 men you can invest your life in for the next 12 months, and challenge them at the end of 12 months to replicate the process. And you watch what God does.”

“Jesus restricted 90 percent of his time to 12 men. And out of the 12, he restricted a large portion of his time to three: James, John, and Peter.”

Listen or read the interview notes here:

http://churchleaders.com/podcast/302734-robby-gallaty-jewish-jesus-discipleship-things-weve-forgotten.html

Are We Seeking God’s Kingdom?

Graham Cooke speaking to men… about building the church and seeking God’s kingdom …Powerful.

Watch short clip below…

 

If you’d like to watch the full video…

(skip through announcements to about 6:42 or even 9:40…)

Read the book: Permission Granted to Do Church Differently in the 21st Century

My Changing Mind on Church: Learning to Fly

Baby-Bird-Learning-to-Fly1

I feel my mind is changing about church.

After 10 years of pastoral ministry, I think I’ve been wrecked, but in a good way…

The mother bird pushes it’s young out of the nest to learn to fly…

I think I didn’t want to leave the nest…

Though I received several job offers over the years, and plenty of invitations to speak throughout the conference across provinces, and mentor other pastors and entire church elder boards, I felt deeply loyal to the church that was my home for 5 years before I first became a pastor. It was the church that had adopted me, called me, and equipped me. I loved my teams of volunteers spread throughout the church in multiple areas.

Church, as I’ve always known it, has been a safe place… until it no longer became safe for me… Somehow, it became dangerous for my health to use my spiritual gifts and exercise my love of disciple making, and engage my heart for prayer… I received more ‘persecution’ inside the church than outside. Did I seriously just write that? What? How is that possible?

At times, when I took one step outside the church… BANG! Somehow, I found myself discipling double digits and baptizing people left and right…

I think I am in a paradigm shifting…

While on a time of rest from pastoring 10 years within a formal church leadership, I was further stopped in my tracks while reading these two books below. I think these books saved me from utter despair. They gave me hope!

Have we been like Jesus’ parents who left him behind and continued traveling ahead without him?!

(Honestly, I always scoffed at that story. What kind of parents of the Messiah were they?!) But, are we that far off as spiritual leaders? Have we completely left Jesus behind in our journey?

Feel free to read these two books below which are pdfs you can download into your reader. And then share your thoughts…!

Read with caution.

You may have many questions along the way.


Keep reading to the end of each.

You may never be the same… 

Confession:

I feel like Martin Luther approaching the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and nailing a piece of paper to it with 95 revolutionary opinions that would begin the Protestant Reformation.

Yikes…

“Lord, have mercy on us… Help us to seek your will while choosing to love, as you call us to love…”

I think the modern day prophets are right, we are in a NEW reformation…

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Jesus Has Left the Building
 by Paul Vieira
Read this book first.

If you have been so thirsty and hungry within your church, your heart will cry out like one finding a living spring of water with a fresh loaf of bread! It will take time to chew on each chapter. Don’t read more than a chapter a day or it will go completely over your head.

 

Book Quote: “God is calling His people to consider their ways and to make sure they are directly connected to Him. These are serious times, not to be taken lightly, or to go on with “business as usual.”

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Houses that Change the World
 by Wolfgang Simpson
Second book to read.

A friend of mine shared this book with me who once lived in a country that intentionally persecuted Christians. She and her family were forced to be the church in the manner the book describes. Today, her heart often longs for that kind of pressure once again in order for church community to be so intentional. The author gives 3 possible ways to stop going to church and start BEING the church once again.

Book excerpt:

“Church is a Way of Life, not a series of religious meetings. Before they where called Christians, followers of Christ have been called ”The Way”. One of the reasons was, that they have literally found ”the way to live.” The nature of Church is not reflected in a constant series of religious meetings lead by professional clergy in holy rooms specially reserved to experience Jesus, but in the prophetic way followers of Christ live their everyday life in spiritual extended families as a vivid answer to the questions society faces, at the place where it counts most: in their homes.

Time to change the system. In aligning itself to the religious patterns of the day, the historic Orthodox Church after Constantine in the 4th century AD adopted a religious system which was in essence Old Testament, complete with priests, altar, a Christian temple (cathedral), frankincense and a Jewish, synagogue-style worship pattern. The Roman Catholic Church went on to canonize the system. Luther did reform the content of the gospel, but left the outer forms of ”church” remarkably untouched; the Free-Churches freed the system from the State, the Baptists then baptized it, the Quakers dry-cleaned it, the Salvation Army put it into a uniform, the Pentecostals anointed it and the Charismatics renewed it, but until today nobody has really changed the superstructure. It is about time to do just that.”

 

Could God be pushing us out of the nest, in order to fly in the freedom Christ died for us to know and live out – within His body and church community?

What could God be calling us as His people today?

I welcome your thoughts but AFTER you’ve read the books. 🙂 (At least the first one!) I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I’m just in listening mode to the voice of God and learning all that I can…

I’m in detox

Detox
Image source: pathtonature.com

After reading these two pages which were written back in 1987, I am pondering again yet another confirmation of how much I needed (still need) a detox… and full repair…


(From Danny Lehman’s book: “Bringin’ ‘Em Back Alive“)

Constant brainstorming meetings year, after year, over who (men / women) and what ‘methods’ of disciplemaking is right or effective, and then shelving everything we discussed, and coming up with little or no fruit, has sucked the life out of me…

I wanted to see change in the hearts of men, women, boys and girls, of entire families, a city, the world…

Arguing over a map and who is qualified to read the map (men only or women too?) will never get you on the journey. (Sometimes, you just gotta get in the boat and let the wind blow you to where the Spirit is leading. Control people hate this.  Let the Spirit speak and lead! Surrender. He is God.)

For now, I’m in a meadow with Jesus. He’s my detox guide as I heal from fatigue. He has rescued me from the storm.

Ps 23.

Resting.

Refreshing.

He has graciously delegated everything off of my plate to spend more time hearing His loving voice.

How do you grieve the unfaithfulness of loved ones?

How do you grieve the unfaithfulness of loved ones? A friend, community… you name it…?

💔

Good memories are painful… they haunt me… I don’t know what to do with them. How do you grieve over a once faithful but then turned hurtful inner community…? I’m grieving over the betrayal of a small circle within a community I loved and trusted, fasted for, prayed for…

…friends, leaders, mentors…

…who once were devoted encouragers and cheerleaders with pom moms… now with daggers by tongue. Some who have admitted it was out of envy and jealousy…

I am fiercely loyal and I am like a warrior for others. So, when those I once fought for, prayed for… resort to attack because I have not met their expectations which they failed to communicate directly to my face… ugh… I just want my aching heart to stop…

I rest in the arms of Jesus healing my broken heart.

How I wish those I loved in community would have been loving to the end…

Not everyone was hurtful, thankfully …but of a few I discovered painful stories behind closed doors of ones I thought loved me well as I did them. I learned they didn’t have the courage to seek to understand, but only to assume and attack… and horribly misunderstand me.

I apologized for not being aware of their situation, and I forgave their initial hurtful words. We pressed on. Then, I apologized again and forgave,… but the hurtful attack didn’t stop… it became a toxic, abusive community… and my body crashed. It said, ‘enough is enough’.

Blame, lying, hiding… it felt like Act 2 of the Garden.
How dangerous one mindset can become…to affect an entire family.

My heart is now wounded. I ache. We were once a fruitful family… hearing God’s voice together, bringing freedom and healing to others together… Now, brokenness.

Betrayal is so hard from those you deeply trusted and respected and loved.

John 17 is Jesus’ prayer for us as a family…
He prays for unity, for love…
and yet I have been hurt the deepest by my adopted ‘family’…

I am reminded of the betrayal Jesus went through by his own family and disciples… for my sake! … Timely, as it is Lent season now. And I am reminded in Matthew 24 that it is the sign of the times…

And this too was timely…

I have adopted many of David’s Psalms for prayers… I’m so glad he was so blunt and raw and called a man after God’s own heart. Oh Lord, have mercy on my broken heart.

My Vision on Women

One morning I woke up with a vision of a family who is well known and loved within their community caring for orphans and widows and the homeless, but behind closed doors the daughters are mistreated. Several older daughters left the family to find freedom. The next daughter in line spoke up against the mistreatment, but the mistreatment simply shifted to the next youngest daughter, a leader in the making. The remaining oldest daughter’s heart broke at the betrayal and the expectation to remain and endure watching the mistreatment of another sister. She left for the sake of her own health.

But her heart breaks for those remaining sisters, some of whom know the mistreatment deeply and some who have yet to experience it for themselves. They have not yet come of age, or they quietly serve ‘in the kitchen, out of sight’, and some sisters feel the heaviness deeply and are praying like warriors trying to hold on.

My heart breaks when families become places of hurt and slavery for children, any gender.

What breaks my heart further is although some families finally recognize what they’ve lost in the mistreatment of their own, their apologies come not because of the hurt they have caused, but because of what they’ve lost themselves. Their wounds come not from what they have done wrong, but from what they have lost. They are only concerned that they are without wine because the women working the vineyard have fled.

True apology is found in behaviour, not mere words… 

Have you mistreated someone within your own family?

Weep and wail for you have put grief and burden deeply in their hearts. Beyond this, your betrayal brings generational bondage. Your family suffers like a person with an auto-immune disease, their body attacking itself.

Choose repentance.

Choose freedom.

A Street Gang Better Than The Church?

A Pastor writes…

A while back, an ex-gang member got baptized at our church. He fell in love with Jesus and turned from his old lifestyle. But after several months at the church, he stopped attending. When we asked him why he stopped attending, he answered: “I had the wrong idea of what church was going to be like. When I joined the church, I thought it was going to be like joining a gang. You see, in the gangs we weren’t just nice to each other once a week-we were family.”

That killed me because I knew that what he expected is what the church was intended to be. It saddened me because I realized that the gangs paint a better picture of loyalty and family than the local church body does.

But what if the church looked like this?

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47)

There must be more to being the church…