Friday, May 19, 2017

Pastoral Advice to Interns

One of the things that always strikes me in ministry is the way the gospel shapes the pastor. Often I wonder what I would tell someone training to go into ministry. What would be the most important things? Here are just a few...

1. Love wisdom more than knowledge - Being wise will help you serve people more effectively.

2. Be a shepherd - Jesus says to "love one another" and "feed my lambs". Loving people is an emotionally draining task, so to center ourselves on the call is probably the most important thing.

I've come across pastors who would sadly speak ill of the people they served (often out of a heart of unrighteousness). These are the sheep God has called you to serve. Love them.

Other times, I know pastors easily get angry at their sheep. "They're not changing!" "They're such heinous people." "They don't listen." Here are some questions though...

Do you make it any easier for them to listen to you? You're the shepherd. You're the "expert" in the Word. But do they respect you enough to listen? Why not? What are you lacking? Is your anger truly out of righteousness?

Is it your role to "change" them? What is your expectation of the rate of their change?

The thing that re-centers me is how often Jesus tenderly deals with people. He came in humility and earned His place as Savior and King through human means.

So don't blame them or hate them. How can you serve them then?

There are moments of righteous anger from the King, and we should never forget that. However, it's always out of love for His people and His Father in heaven.

The church is meant to be a place for sinners to find hope, mercy, grace, and the possibility of being renewed and regenerated in the gospel.

The call is to love and shepherd people. God does the saving and the changing...

3. Be honest with yourself - From what I said above this was my way of understanding my limitations and creaturely nature.

Looking at yourself to see your limitations helps to focus on your role as an instrument of His grace. It also tells you that you can't exist on an island. You need others around you.

So I'd probably tell a younger pastor to find true fellowship. Thanks to the net you can build that accountability globally.

Find your prayer life too. Such limitations can drive someone mad unless they have the comfort that the heavy lifting has truly been accomplished already in Christ.