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Thick Skins – Soft Hearts (via David Prince at For The Church)

Working together in partnership to develop and further the ministry and mission of a local church is best served by an open-ness and humility in conversation that allows conviction.
David Prince writes about life

We must not settle for any idea offered in a staff meeting planning time simply because it might hurt someone’s feelings to push back against it, including ideas offered by the one who leads the meeting. Good is often the enemy of the strategic in planning and in church staff meeting superficial niceness is often the enemy of the strategic. This fact is odd, since, in the church, we are uniquely having family conversations about the most important mission in the world.
Those who sit at the staff meeting and planning table need to possess thick skin and a soft gospel heart. An effective meeting leader regularly reminds those attending of the purpose of the meeting, what is to be accomplished, and what is at stake. If the staff team possesses this thick skin / soft gospel heart makeup, they will proceed with understanding that gospel advance and faithfulness is more important than their temporal feelings. If any group of people in the cosmos should understand that we must not settle for pleasing people in our labor it should be a church staff team.

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Being Free From Fixing (via Christopher Asmus at the Gospel Coalition)

A list of eight areas (characterised as “shackles every pastor should shatter“).
This one is a very besetting aspect of pastoral ministry:

3. Be Free from Fixing
Some pastors are never happier than their saddest congregant, and they often feel personally responsible for every person and problem in the church.
Pastor, you can’t pull everyone from the clamps of depression, or salvage splitting marriages, or liberate addicts from their sin-shackles, or bring peace into wartime homes. But you can passionately, powerfully, and persistently point them to the One who can (2 Cor. 4:5; Acts 5:42).

Read the rest at Gospel Coalition.


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Pastor, Keep Preaching The Gospel (via David Prince)

An encouraging story for preachers and sharers of the Gospel at Reformation 21.
From David Prince.

As I was busy rushing from one place to another, I noticed a man looking at me with a big smile on his face. He had just stepped out of a work van and was doing some sort job nearby. To be honest, I had a lot on my plate to get done that day, and was determined not to be slowed down. The next thing I knew, the man who had been grinning at me was now standing right in front of me.
I do not remember what I was thinking at that moment but, sadly, it was probably something like, “Oh great.”
He said, “You don’t remember me. I went to your church 14 years ago when you first arrived in Lexington. You preached the gospel every week, and so did the small group leaders. To be honest, I did not want to hear it and stop attending. I thought I wanted something more practical that would help with my daily life. I found what I was looking for, I was getting my ears tickled, but I could never shake the gospel you preached and 4-years-ago I trusted Christ, and I am now in a great gospel-preaching church where I now live. I just wanted you to know. Thank you! Don’t ever stop!”
I am not usually one to cry, but as he walked off, I teared up thinking about the sheer goodness of God and the incredible power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Read the rest at Reformation 21.


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On Waiting With Patience (via Jani Ortlund)

Everyone waits, but there is a waiting that is the fruit of trust in God, and there is the waiting that is a stewing form of complaint.
God gives us opportunity to grow in love and trust for him while we wait.

From Jani Ortlund:

Patience is not quite the same as waiting. While waiting is something we do, patience is something we offer. We wait because we must — we have little choice in the matter. But patience is our gift to our Father while we wait. In the silence, in the waiting, patience chooses to declare, “Lord, I love you. I know I don’t love you as I ought, but I want to love you more than your answer to my prayers. I will try to offer you my patient heart as long as you ask me to wait on this.”

Read the whole post at Desiring God.


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Living With Pastoral Anxiety (via Religious Affections Ministries)

This was an interesting article in which the writer describes the concern that pastors live with regarding the well-being of those they serve in ministry.
The concern is not a sign something is wrong, rather it is a mark of calling.
And it is part of our lives, to some degree or another, every minute of every day.
It may not be the only thing on our minds, but it is never completely absent from our minds.
And it is never completely resolved.
What can go wrong is the way pastors deal with the concern.
Sometimes we allow it to take us to dark places.
It should drive us to God.

From David Huffstutler:

It is a care for others and can tend toward worry and even despair if we do not cast these anxieties to God in prayer. It is the pressure of anxiety for others that moves us to act on behalf of the ones whose needs we perceive. It usually involves being anxious over people’s sin—we hope that they will forsake sin, grow in Christ, and persevere. In fact, 2 Corinthians 11:29Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) describes Paul as burning within (puroō) for those who are weak and fall. It also involves being anxious over people’s suffering—we hope that they will carry on in the face of difficulty and trial. Moreover, we hope that everyone will do these things together as they carry out the mission of the church and make disciples for the sake of the Name.

Read the whole post at Religious Affections Ministries.


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QTC Study Week For Gospel Workers

Since I was going to be in Brisbane for other meetings during the week of July 22, the elders at MGPC decided to send me to as much of the Study Week For Gospel Workers being run by Queensland Theological College.


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The Joy Of Staying Where You’ve Been Sent (via Karl Vaters)

Karl Vaters makes some observations arising from the deep and satisfying relationship between a congregation and a pastor.

If you are where God called you to be, that should be enough to keep you there.
You don’t have to prove your worth.
You don’t have to justify your calling.
You don’t have to see constant numerical increase.
You don’t have to be someone you’re not.
You have value. To God and his church.
Right here, right now. No matter what the numbers do or don’t look like.
Go where you’re called.
Love the people you pastor.
Reach out to others with Jesus’ love.
And stay until you’re moved.
They say the joy is in the journey.
Sometimes, the joy is in staying where you’ve been sent.

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