This is a very thought provoking and timely post by Mark Driscoll over at The Resurgence Blog:
“In what ways should a pastor view their ministry?
- Ministry is your fourth priority after being a Christian, husband, and father.
- Ministry is your job, not your life.
- God rewards faithfulness, not just fruitfulness
- Your salvation and righteousness are gifts from Jesus and not contingent upon your performance.
- If you do not Sabbath, God will impose a Sabbath upon you.
- A series of sprints, with nine natural breaks out of the pulpit, rather than a marathon.
- First Sunday of the Year (January)
- Daylight Savings Day (March)
- Mother’s Day (May)
- Memorial Day (May)
- Father’s Day (June)
- Fourth of July (July)
- Labor Day Weekend (September)
- Thanksgiving (November)
- Week after Christmas (December)
- Jesus is the Senior Pastor and the church is His”
The points that really got me were two:
“God rewards faithfulness, not just fruitfulness”. This seems to be an on-going discussion (albeit under different titles and guises) between the Calvary guys over at simple minded but I think Mark hits the nail on the head with this one. I’ve been dipping in and out of a book called “Launch: Starting a New Church from Scratch” that was recommended by someone over at SMP and I have to say it is one of THE worst books I have read. Why? Well, clearly it is for a US readership – church planting in the US is more about starting an organization rather than birthing a family of believers. Also, it is SO systematized and leaves you feeling that unless you have a large church then you are not successful. Here’s an example: in the book the author suggests that the church should not have small groups until there are at least 65 people in the congregation. 65 people!!!!!!! By UK standards a church plant that has 65 members is doing amazingly well! generally speaking a UK church plant will take 7-15 years to get to 65 members. When it is shorter it is due to the fact that they started with lots of people (a church was just planted in my town that has 55 people – they all moved into the city). So anyway … enough ranting …. God rewards faithfulness and that encourages me because I can leave the fruitfulness to him so long as I’m remaining faithful.
The other point that got me was:
“If you do not Sabbath, God will impose a Sabbath upon you.”. I’m bivocational. this means I work like a horse. I spend my weekends preparing for Sunday, Sunday afternoon preparing for work. I spend evenings with my family or meeting people from church – visiting the sick etc etc. I play football 2-3 times a week with in the intention of building relationship so that I might win them to Christ. Needless to say my life is hectic and I am always on the go. When downtime comes I’m blogging! So 4 weeks ago I became aware that I needed a Sabbath when the Lord allowed my calf muscle to snap in two. 4 weeks later I’m still on my backside. God is good.