Eugene Peterson, in The Unnecessary Pastor:
The difference between his [Paul's] life as Pharisee and as Christian was not in his intellectual ability nor in his knowledge of Scripture but in his relation to the Scriptures: as a Pharisee he used the Scriptures; as a Christian he submitted to them.
Carey Nieuwhof has written a post that is part-response to Donald Miller’s post about not attending church and part-appeal for people who are about to leave to reconsider. His 10 thoughts are:
1. A step out of a local church is many times a step away from God.
2. The church puts us into contact with people with whom we would rather not associate.
3. A step away from organized community is often a step away from accountability.
4. A movement is more effective when it has leadership and authority.
5. There is tremendous potential when people are aligned and released around a common mission, vision and strategy.
6. An outward focus of the church is best maintained when people gather intentionally.
7. The faith you cherish is built on the foundation of people who were part of the local church.
8. A wound created in community is best healed in community.
9. The promise of the church is still greater than the problems of the church.
10. Trying something new is better than walking away.
You can read his reasoning here.
Chuck Smith passed away on Thursday. He was a major influence in the church of North America, and I really enjoyed stories from his ministry like this one (from Ray Ortlund’s blog).
He was pastoring a little church in Costa Mesa, California, in the late 1960′s, not far from the beach. God began to pour out his Spirit. Teenage kids started getting saved and coming to Smith’s church. But there was a problem. The oil deposits off the coast of California bubble up little globs of oil that land on the beach. If you step on one, it sticks to the bottom of your foot and you mess up the carpet when you get home. So these young people began coming into church right off the beach. They didn’t know they were supposed to wear shoes. They didn’t know church culture. All they knew was Jesus. But the new carpets and pews at Smith’s church were getting stained. One Sunday morning Chuck arrived at church to find a sign posted outside: “Shirts and shoes please.” He took it down. After the service he met with the church officers. They talked it through. They agreed that they would remove the new carpet and pews before they would hinder one kid from coming to Christ. And that wise decision cleared the way for God to visit Calvary Chapel with wonderful revival (Isaiah 57:14-15). I was there when they were holding services five nights a week, standing room only. The breakthrough came when they humbled themselves and chose to care about what God cares about, and nothing else.
I love the passion to embrace the outsider. Check out his biography here.
Over at her blog, my wife made a [not so] tiny announcement. We’re super excited.
I recently read three books I’d like to share that have impacted the way I look at pastoral ministry. I’m anticipating that their effects will be felt in my life and vocation for many years.
The first is Eugene Peterson’s The Pastor: A Memoir, which is an engaging look at his own journey from the Montana wilderness to the east coast as he uncovers his calling as a pastor. Peterson has always been a big influence on me, and seeing his development in the ministry was interesting and encouraging.
Letters to a Young Pastor is the late Calvin Miller’s collection of advice to young leaders in letter form. His commentary on the pastoral life was both challenging and hilarious as he talked about setbacks, victories, and the occasional church politics run-in.
Finally, Paul David Tripp’s Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry addresses the overall state of the North American pastorate from a behavioral health standpoint. Gut-wrenching in all the necessary ways, this book is a wake-up call to pastors who labor to see Jesus magnified, their families cared for, and their own ministry longevity.
At Pastors.com, Kurt Bubna gives list of 10 non-negotiables for aspiring church planters:
- A clear call to church planting which is confirmed by other leaders and pastors who know them and have worked closely with them.
- A supportive spouse and a stable, healthy marriage and family.
- A strong emotional resilience. (Without it, they won’t likely survive.)
- A heart for evangelism with a proven gift and ability to reach the lost.
- A capable teacher who is an anointed and gifted communicator.
- A proven ability to gather and inspire others.
- A demonstrated ability to start something new.
- A proven ability to recruit, train and deploy others into ministry.
- A demonstrated track record of wisdom in life and in leadership.
- A teachable heart proven by the ability to take direction and constructive criticism without defensiveness or arrogance.
While I don’t claim to be an expert in missiology, my experience over the last year at theWELL supports his post. Every point above is critical to the long-term success of the church and the well-being of the planter.
You can read the entire article here.