Category: Church

Praying for Your Pastor in Light of His Qualifications, Part 1: The Necessity of a Qualified Ministry

How to Pray for Your Pastor (Series): Your Pastor is a Desperate Man
How to Pray for Your Pastor (Series): Why Should You Pray for Your Pastor?

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In order to pray for your pastor in a way consistent with God’s Word, our prayers should be shaped by what Scripture says about the qualifications, responsibilities, and unique pressures that attend the pastoral ministry. Only when we are properly informed about what the pastoral office entails will we adequately pray for our pastors.

In the next few posts we will examine specifically the pastor’s qualifications. While it is true that all Christians should pursue the character qualities listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-8 and Titus 1:5-9, each of these virtues must be in the life of the pastor in some measure. We will survey these two passages in subsequent posts, but first a word about the necessity of a qualified ministry. Continue reading “Praying for Your Pastor in Light of His Qualifications, Part 1: The Necessity of a Qualified Ministry”

How to Pray for Your Pastor (Series): Why Should You Pray for Your Pastor?

How to Pray for Your Pastor (Series): Your Pastor is a Desperate Man

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In the last post I noted that pastors are in desperate need of prayer. In this post, I want to accomplish two things. First, I want to ask and answer a vital question: Does the Bible teach us to pray for our pastors? It might seem like a good idea to pray for your pastor, but does God really call us to such prayer? Quick preview: Yes, He does, and we should count it a high privilege to intercede on behalf of our shepherds. Continue reading “How to Pray for Your Pastor (Series): Why Should You Pray for Your Pastor?”

How to Pray for your Pastor (Series): Your Pastor is a Desperate Man

Over the next few weeks I will be posting a series on how to pray for your pastor. This post is the first in the series. 

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You may not know it, but your pastor is a desperate man. He has been tasked by God to shepherd Christ’s sheep with wisdom, courage, and tenderness, yet he often feels his own inadequacy, timidity, and tendency toward frustration. He is responsible to care for the souls of his people by way of preaching, teaching, and counseling, a task that often includes correcting and rebuking, so your pastor senses acutely his own need for Christ’s forgiveness and sustaining mercy. His work requires that he exemplify mature Christian living, so he knows deeply his need for personal holiness. The task of rightly understanding and explaining God’s Word demands careful, pain-staking study and prayer, so your pastor feels weekly the burden to labor diligently in the text of Scripture. Continue reading “How to Pray for your Pastor (Series): Your Pastor is a Desperate Man”

The Pastor-Theologian: Valuable and Necessary

While it may be difficult to believe in our current cultural setting, there was a time when the pastor was viewed as a town’s leading intellectual. Pastors of what seems like a long-lost era were doctrinally grounded and biblically saturated, to be sure; but they were also well-read in other important branches of study—literature, economics, politics, philosophy, and science—and were therefore able to apply biblical truth to these areas of inquiry with keen spiritual and intellectual skill, helping their people think theologically about major trends within the church and the greater society. Continue reading “The Pastor-Theologian: Valuable and Necessary”

7 Practices for Preserving Unity On Your Elder Team

Six months ago I was ordained as an elder at Grace Bible Fellowship in Sunnyvale, CA. Prior to my ordination, I was required to complete an oral examination. This two-hour, 70-question theological interview and was the final step in a multi-step ordination process that was designed to respect Paul’s admonishment to Timothy: “Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands” (1 Tim 5:22). These elders were not hasty, and I am grateful for their patience and care.
Continue reading “7 Practices for Preserving Unity On Your Elder Team”

Martyn Lloyd Jones Handling Controversy

Martyn Lloyd JonesWhen we are in the midst of controversy, there are two temptations that can easily encroach on our souls: pride and self-righteousness. When we are convinced of the truth and see clearly the errors of another, it is very easy to be tempted to look down on that person (or group of people) and feel good about our ‘discernment’ or ‘clear-mindedness.’ But Martyn Lloyd Jones helps us to avoid these two temptations and approach controversy in a way that honors Christ and is good for our soul.

May He enable us together to stand as a rock in the raging seas all around us. We must, of course, never pride ourselves on our stand, or become self-righteous or small minded persons. But in humility and obedience, let us follow the apostolic exhortations, always coming to know more deeply our glorious God, remembering that He has redeemed us, and aware of what a glorious faith it is to which He has called us to bear witness (Knowing the Times, 60).

Is this easy? No. Some of us are too easily attracted to controversy and debating and arguing—often times for the wrong reasons. But Lloyd Jones helps us fix our gaze on the right object: the ‘glorious faith to which we have been called to bear witness.’  In this way, we enter into debate with others—not for the sake of controversy, but to clarify and defend truth for God’s glory and the good of others.

Thinking About Leaving Your Church? Don't Be So Hasty

Here is a good word from Wayne Grudem that confronts our desire for the “perfect church:”

Systematic Theology - Wayne GrudemOf course, if we are to work for the purity of the church, especially in the local church of which we are a part, we must recognize that this is a process, and that any church of which we are a part will be somewhat impure in various areas.  There were no perfect churches at the time of the New Testament and there will be no perfect churches until Christ returns.  This means that Christians have no obligation to seek the purest church they can find and stay there, and then leave it if an even purer church comes to their attention.  Rather, they should find a true church in which they can have effective ministry and in which they will experience Christian growth as well, and then should stay there and minister, continually working for the purity of that church.  God will often bless their prayers and faithful witness and the church will gradually grow in many areas of purity (Systematic Theology, 875)

Notice that Grudem suggests, after finding a true church in which we can minister effectively and grow spiritually, we should  stay and work for the purity of our church.  He also observes that working for the purity of a church is a process, not a one-time or immediate event.  This calls for patience, love and prayerful labor.  I fear far too many of us are looking for perfect or close-to-perfect churches and are, as a result, wallowing in discontent and neglecting opportunities for fruitful work in the church in which we are already members. Perhaps Grudem’s counsel will begin to reverse this unfortunate trend.