shepherding the shepherd
I don’t think pastors fail because the burdens are too heavy or the enemies too fierce. I wonder if the difference between finishing and failing—the one test that is up to us—is simply being true. The silent, secret pressure upon pastors, in ways no other Christians face, is to fake it.
“Our time of need” can be anytime but it has a way of coming to a head for people on Sunday morning when it is not so easy for them to ignore Jesus any longer. That’s when we pastors become gospel greeters, welcoming them to find rest for their souls through songs, Communion, prayers of confession, Scriptures of assurance, and our sermons.
Resuscitate the Faint
There are likely some walking dead entering your church on Sunday mornings, people who only profess Christ but have no new life. Thus we are always preaching to some dry bones dependent upon the breath of God. But a larger group in the churches we serve are believers meandering in a kind of spiritual no-man’s-land, lethargic and short-winded.
Mincing No Words
Warning is part of our work, not just to the unevangelized, but even more to professing believers “who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God …” but yet are like “… land that produces thorns and thistles … in danger of being cursed.” We must not mince words. Sometimes we’re duty-bound to use language stark and stern.
Head ‘Em Off at the Pass
We are preparing soldiers for combat and sojourners for an arduous wilderness journey where they will have to trust God for all manner of sustenance, guidance, protection, and truth. We are entrusted with distancing God’s people from this world, the only country they’ve ever known, and stirring in them an abiding homing instinct for a far better country, for the homeland they’ve never seen.
Lost Sheep: ‘It Still Bothers Me Every Day’
Pastors get to know a lot of people over the years. Among them is a shadowy group in the back of our minds whom most people don’t know about—the sheep we’ve lost. I don’t mean those who’ve moved away or gone to another church. I mean those who, to the best of our knowledge, have walked away from Jesus.