Continuing our series of posts on the book Total Church, today we come to the subject of pastoral care. In this chapter, the authors get at some issues of counseling and the effect of the world upon the church and its upholding of the gospel and community. One quote that gets at this is on p.135:
Part of the hope the gospel gives me is in understanding that I have a God-given responsibility together with a corresponding God-given ability to respond in a way that honors him as my all-sufficient Savior. In Christ and the gospel word there is sanity.
Speaking in relation to this core truth, they highlight community:
Pastoral care in a Christian community is not merely one therapy device among many. It is the context in which any other pastoral care takes place.
This has enormous implications for our lives. When we have some sort of problem, we should find hope for that problem in a gospel-saturated context. This gospel context is going to be encouraged and nurtured in community. As the church is thriving in this way, problems can be not only addressed but overcome by the Spirit of God at work in these things.
Our Church’s Bible Conference began yesterday morning with Joe Braden preaching. The audio from the AM message is online: Foundations for Loving Relationships in the Church from Ephesians 4:32-5:2.
I thought it was a great kickoff. I was challenged to pursue relationships with those I normally wouldn’t as a demonstration of the character of God and the Gospel. What were your applications/thoughts?
Last night’s events reminded me of the high calling of the family in the life of a pastor (and all believers). The calling to be husband of one wife and lead your children well get at the priority the marriage should have in the life of a pastor. As a pastor has a healthy family life, his example before the church helps the congregation encourage see what a healthy family should look like and together, we live this out in a way that points to God.
So how about you? Are you being a good example of family life? Does your family receive a priority? What about that relationship with your spouse and kids? Is it speaking much of God and the change He’s accomplished in you? This Marriage Monday, seek to live this out before God.
Last night, I traveled to Kansas City to be a part of Dale Baker’s Ordination at Calvary Baptist Church in Lenexa, KS (where my friend Brian Albert pastors). One speaker was Mike Hubbard, pastor of the Genesis Church in Eureka, MO. An ordination is where the elders / ordained men of church come together, having recognized and examined a man’s life and character (as well as doctrine), to set someone apart for the work of ministry. It was a rich time. My soul was challenged and stirred again thinking about my calling and life. Mike brought out Titus 1 and the qualifications of an elder. We sang great corporate worship music like: “When I Survey” and “Am I A Soldier of the Cross?” I preached a charge to Dale from Colossians 4:17. After praying over Dale and laying hands on him, Brian concluded the night with a charge to the church to follow leaders. All in all it was a good night. It was good to be with old friends and be reminded of truth about ministry. God bless you, Dale, as you serve your Lord.
JT links to these lectures with Dr. Mike Bullmore, who delivered the annual Rom lectures on October 7-9, 2008 at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School on “The Heart of Preaching and the Preacher’s Heart.”
Reading through my feeder this morning brought many encouraging thoughts as to how we can respond in a Gospel centered way.
Mark Driscoll encourages us to capitalize on this moment for the Gospel.
C.J. remembers Al Mohler’s sermon at Cov Life after the 04 Election.
Piper promotes gratitude.
Randy Alcorn promotes an eternal perspective.
All these men have such great thoughts. I’ve been encouraged this morning remembering that my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. Praise God for the change that has transpired in Him.
Continuing the Tuesday conversation on Total Church, today we discuss the chapter “Discipleship and Training.” This chapter got at many wonderful truths I fully agree with: the importance of baptism, teaching people the Gospel, teaching throughout life, training in non-traditional ways as well as church discipline, but I was greatly encouraged by a section called “Shepherds Who Are Sheep.” Here’s what the authors write:
It is important that leaders see themselves and are seen by others as part of the church. Professionalism is always the enemy of authentic gospel leadership. Leaders are not a special class set apart on their own, having to face burdensome responsibilities and forced to endure a lonely existence. Leaders cannot be detached. They must be visible believers who live their lives openly in the midst of the believing community. (p.123)
I think we [leaders] are plagued by a pride that we are above the congregation. This professionalism manifests itself in many ways, but I seek to guard against this in my pulpit ministry. I was told about someone in my church who was speaking to someone in another church and the other person was bragging about how holy that pastor was. The person in my church responded with something like, “How do you know he’s holy?” To which other responded, “He tells us so in his sermons.” I want to guard against this and help those entrusted to me see how much I am striving for holiness along with them. I haven’t arrived. There is much in my living of the Christian life I am still working to figure out. It relates to humility, as well, as I pointed out yesterday. May God grant us grace to be the examples He has called us to be among those dearest to us.