A word to the wise. Someone asked me a great question. If I had the ear of our pastors, what would I say that would encourage them? There are some things we all should pay attention to in our pastoral life. But there are four that I would like to highlight and encourage our pastors to take to heart.
FIRST - Stay true to the Word of God. There are so many different thoughts and opinions about God and His Word that have infiltrated our churches and seminaries. The Word of God does not contradict itself. People are searching for truths that can make a difference in their heart and life. When God called you to serve Him in His Ministry, He provided you an instruction Manuel to follow. We get ourselves in trouble when we deviate from the TRUTH. Preach the Word.
SECOND - God is in the People Business, not the program business. The reason we are called and commissioned is to care for the flock God has placed under our watch care. God has strong and sharp words toward those who were suppose to be shepherding His sheep but were in it for their own gain and fame. In order to fulfill God’s calling the pastor/shepherd MUST LOVE THE PEOPLE God has placed under your watch care. This care and compassion must come from the heart, not the head. People know if you really do care about them. The old saying is still true, “People don’t care how much you know - they need to know how much you care. It is never too late to start loving God’s people.
THIRD - I would encourage you to choose your battles wisely. You may win a battle but you are going to lose the war. Carefully evaluate each challenge you face and then determine if you are willing to fight over it. Hopefully, as a pastor/shepherd, God has been leading you to develop a clear sense of what is most important and must take a stand only when it really matters. Not every problem is a crisis. Think though each and seek counsel before you attack is always good advice.
FINALLY - Decide that you are in it for the long haul. Using a sports analogy from some of our great coaches: the game is 60 minutes, 4 quarters. It is true that a man will be at the church for 3.5 years before the congregation is most comfortable and allow you to be their pastor. Rome was not built over night and neither is the pastorate. Don’t approach the call to a church with an attitude, “If it don’t work out there is always another church I can go to.” Set a new record for the tenure of the pastor at the church. Plan to settle in and work for the change in the long run. Each day, recommit yourself to the LORD and His plan for you and the congregation. God desires you to be faithful. Fruitfulness comes in time.