As we come to the end of this year and the beginning of another, I’m doing a lot of self-examination and personal renewal in each of my life roles. One role that I love so dearly is my pastoral relationship with my church family. Since it’s the season of giving I wanted to renew my commitment to give our people the best that I can as I fulfill my role as their pastor. Here are five gifts that I’m working hard to give our wonderful church:
Love for the people.
My father who has pastored for 35 years has exemplified, greater than any pastor I have ever known, what it means for a pastor to love his people and love them unconditionally. I’ve watched him my entire life and am learning that one of the greatest gifts I can ever give our church family is my love…and I want them to KNOW that I love them. I’m asking God to help me love them this coming year in a way that I’ve never loved them before, and to communicate that love regularly.
Leadership from the Spirit.
Leadership is essential to the office of a pastor, but leadership that makes a spiritual, transformational difference is guided by the Holy Spirit. I cannot give my people what they need if I’m just a strong leader who is a firm decision maker, big vision caster, or daring risk taker. Good leadership makes decisions that are led by the Spirit…casts vision that is led by the Spirit…takes risks that are led by the Spirit. I will do far more damage to the work of God when I am leading by my might and strength rather than by His Spirit. I’m asking God to help me give our church family sensitive, Spirit-filled leadership.
Likeness to Jesus Christ.
I’m thankful for the men God has used to help influence my life, and there are certainly various facets of my life where you can see the molding of these particular men. Occasionally someone will say, “I see Brother so and so in you.” But likeness to another pastor is not what my church needs. What they need in their pastor is someone who is growing in the likeness of Jesus Christ. I’m so weak here. I want to be more like Jesus…more than anything else in life. I want be more like Jesus in my relationships with others…more like Jesus in my care of our church…more like Jesus in my love and nurture of my family…more like Jesus in my teaching and preaching…etc. It’s not ME our church needs to see, it’s JESUS they need to see. May God help you and me to be pastors who resemble Jesus Christ more than anything else in this world.
Loyalty to the Word.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m extremely passionate about preaching the WORD…chapter by chapter, verse by verse. Our church simply needs me to elevate HIS Word and be loyal to the Bible above all. When there are doctrinal lines to draw, practical Christian living to promote, or even preferential issues of debate my loyalty should always stand with the Word of God. My church does not need me to be loyal to a denomination, a Christian college, or a fellowship of pastors. Now, these relationships are certainly important to me, and I cherish them. However, my church needs me to be loyal to the Word for when denominations, colleges, and fellowships fall God’s Word still stands. I will commit to my church, as their pastor, to always be loyal to the Word.
Longevity in ministry.
During the discouraging moments of ministry the whispers from within subtly come…”Maybe it’s time to move on…It would be easier in another ministry…It’s time to look for another church.” The will of God will always trump the desire of my heart, but it is the desire of my heart to pastor the same church the rest of my life. I want our people to know that I’m in this for the long-haul, both good and hard times. One of the worst things I could do for our church is quit when it gets difficult, yet one of the best gifts I can give our church is a commitment to longevity. Many pastors view their current church as a stepping stone to the next “bigger” opportunity. I’m asking the Lord to help me STAY even in the most challenging of ministry moments, if it be His will.
This is my heart’s desire, and I believe these gifts will make a difference in me and the life of our church! Will you pray for me?