Pastors & Preachers are a unique group of people. Be very careful when you let them tell you what ministry is really like. Mark Millioni, President of Baptist Bible College, invited three pastors to be real, honest, and encouraging to other pastors. I was in the meeting. There were laughs, tears, and cheers.
So, I thought I’d share a few thoughts from these three message. I will just give their names, title of their talk, and a few quotes. You can go below and read a short biography. If you are a pastor, I hope this will let you feel appreciated, understood, and encouraged, If you are not a pastor, please encourage your pastor. I guarantee, he needs it.
How to get God’s Blessings
Jason Henderson, pastor of Grace Pointe Church in Apopka, Florida, spoke about receiving God’s blessings on your work from Joshua 3. If you want God to bless you, do 3 things:
(1) Purify your life (Joshua 3:5). The Jews were to wash themselves and change their clothes. We need to take a spiritual bath. God blesses holy people. When pastors fall morally, they don’t remember your sermon… they remember your last sin. Watch out for women and money. If you’re broke and have your wife, you’re doing great. We must keep our life pure.
(2) Be presence-driven (Joshua 3:4, 6). Churches can be policy-driven, past-driven, purpose-driven, pastor-driven, personality-driven. Put God where He belongs… in the front. Pastor, you’re not that great… Jesus is. We must keep our focus on Jesus.
(3) Power will follow (Joshua 3:7). Influence follows purity and Jesus’s prominence. Let God give you the influence to lead. Don’t take it. We must allow Jesus to give us influence.
Inward Life of a Believer
Matt Eachus, pastor of The Church at Newtown Road in Halfmoon, New York, spoke about the Inward Life of a Believer. We often feel like we’re all alone in our struggles and there is no hope. The heart of the leader must be nurtured, guarded and protected (1 Timothy 4:16). Three lessons about ministry:
(1) Ministry exposed me for what I was. Pastoral ministry does not build character; it reveals character or the lack of it. It often exposes our insecurities.
(2) Ministry exposed my pride. Troubles and people often help me see how arrogant I really am.
(3) Ministry acts like a pressure cooker – ready for an explosion. Family demands, daily routines, weekly responsibilities, and emergencies all come at once. There is tremendous weight of being a leader and shepherd compounded with the politics in pastoral ministry. We can justify bad behavior on our stress. But justifying wrong behavior doesn’t get you anything but deeper in sin.
So, where do we go for help?
(1) Remember the call of God (Exodus 3). When we feel like giving up, the definite call of God will get you through.
(2) Remember the humility of Jesus. Get over yourself. This is not your church. If Jesus could be humble, you need to be too.
(3) Remember the Sabbath. Find rest and release. Shut it down sometimes. Have a retreat day. Take a long walk in the woods and make sure the same guy doesn’t come out.
The struggles pastors face are not allowed by God to break, but to strengthen. Allow Jesus to walk with you and work through you.
There will be Blood
John Houston, pastor of Point Harbor Community Church, in Chesapeake, Virginia, titled his talk There will be Blood. Wow! Luke 14:25-33, 2 Timothy 3:11-12 and Jeremiah 9:2 talk about the hardships of ministry. Realistic ministry has blood. In the Garden of Eden there was blood. When Abraham attempted to sacrifice Isaac at God’s command there was blood. The Levitical sacrifices were bloody. Jesus on the cross was bloody. If you have a bloodless ministry, you’re not fighting. If Satan can’t attack you, he will attack your spouse, your children, your friendships, and your ministry.
The Calling is the Key. Sometimes the only thing that keeps you in ministry is the call of God into ministry. In ministry, the front line is where the action is. Is it worth it? 1 Corinthians 15:58 reminds us that it is. We might feel like what we’re doing isn’t working and is empty, but it is worth it.
You can read about other messages/sessions at: ALL IN – 2016 BBFI Fellowship Meeting
You can also read some of my articles about pastors: What your pastor really wants for Pastor Appreciation Month, Texting and Other Ways to Annoy your Pastor During Church Service, Tribute to Pastor Bill Dinoff.
Baptist Bible College celebrates 66 years of ministry in 2016. As a 1982 alumnus, I am pleased to celebrate this event at my alma mater. These have been some of my thoughts of the Monday, May 2 evening session.
Please share your thoughts.