mgpcpastor's blog


Leave a comment

Like Nothing Else (via Jeff Robinson)

Ministry is not the hardest thing anyone can do.
But it has a unique character; and a particular aspect of that character needs a particular awareness in order to go the long-term.
From Jeff Robinson at Crossway blog.

Jesus said it best in John 15:5: Apart from me you can do nothing. As a pastor, you either learn early to write that over the door of your heart or you don’t last long in ministry. It’s really just that simple. One of my favorite passages in my first few years of ministry was Mark 4:26-28 where Jesus tells the parable of the seed. It’s very pithy, there are just a couple of verses. The farmer plants the seed and then he goes to bed. When he gets up, lo and behold, the seed has germinated, grown, and he knows not how. Of course, we know how. We know it’s the grace of God.
God has invested this gospel truth in you, but it’s not about you because you can’t do anything to save people or sanctify people.
You realize pretty early that the call to pastoral ministry is not like anything else you’re going to do in life. You’re likely not going to have product at the end of the day. You’re not going to have widgets that you’ve made. You’re not going to have a byline at the top of the page or anything like that.

source


Leave a comment

Experiencing Reality Through A Filter Of Sadness And Sorrow (via John Starke)

John Starke writes about pastoring during a season of depression.
And a source of encouragement through that time.

I began to notice that I wasn’t just sad or discouraged about my circumstances. Something was different. There was a darkness that had set in. My sorrow and discouragement began to wrap around me and squeeze. It was hard to not experience my entire reality (my family, work, rest, prayers) through the filter of sadness and sorrow.
+++
But the more I had opened up and talked about it, the more I heard from other pastors and colleagues that they had never experienced depression until they went into pastoral ministry or engaged some significant conflict or discouragement in their work. I wasn’t alone. What was remarkable was that while words of truth and encouragement often felt as effective as cough syrup for throat cancer, the abiding presence of a fellow sufferer was like the hand of God over my wounds. It helped enlarge my scope of reality. Depression was like being in a confusing, blindingly dark cavern, but the presence of someone who could give witness to my pain was like a voice in the dark, awakening some hope that there may be some direction out.

Read Stark’s post at 9marks.


Leave a comment

Pastoral Anxiety (via Kevin DeYoung)

Kevin DeYoung reflects on Second Corinthians 11:28 “apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.”
Pastoral life brings what Paul characterises as “anxiety,” and DeYoung is at pains (as is Paul) not to be seeking pity, or to make out that this anxiety is worse that concerns that so many have as part of their daily lives.
Being a pastor is a wonderful calling.
But this anxiety is a constant companion. It doesn’t get left on a desk or worksite at the end of the day. It’s never completed.
This though, is normal.
And if you’ve got a disposition that gets a bit blue at times then it weighs a bit heavier sometimes than others.
Sometimes black dog Monday lasts through till Wednesday.

DeYoung wants to simply “encourage pastors to keep fighting the good fight and encourage congregations to keep encouraging their pastors.”

Read more at Ligonier.


Leave a comment

Benefits Of A Long Term Pastorate (via 9Marks)

9Marks has an article written by Ron Pracht, who has served one church for 45 years, 25 years of those as pastor.
In the article Pracht lists the benefits and negatives of a long-term pastorate.
Here are a few of the ‘benefit’ points that resonated with my experience:

  • Trust grows stronger every year you stay.
  • You learn to be open and confessional, personally and in your preaching, because you have failed, sought forgiveness, and displayed to the people you pastor what it means to intentionally follow Jesus.
  • You learn the importance of relationships and keeping them right before God. You have fought through difficulties and walked with people in success and failure—both yours and theirs.
  • You earn the right to lead significant change because of the relational investments you have made.
  • There is a depth of relationship with people with whom you have shared joys and sorrows, disappointments and successes.

Read the rest here.


Leave a comment

Healthy Leadership Is Humbling (via Eric Geiger)

Healthy leadership is a humbling experience. When it ceases to be humbling leadership is heading into dangerous territory.

From Eric Geiger:

Leadership is most dangerous when it ceases to be humbling, when success comes to the leader. When a leader starts to thrive, when the Lord grants success, and/or when things go better than planned, the leader can easily drift toward pride.
And pride always precedes a downfall.
+++
So how can leaders recognize our drift from humility to pride?
Look for entitlement. Entitlement always rises as pride rises. It is impossible to be filled with humility and a sense of entitlement at the same time. Whenever we feel we are owed something, it is because we have forgotten that God is the One who gives all good things.
+++
Humble leaders realize the only thing we are entitled to is death and destruction because of our sin. Yet God in his mercy has given us himself, taken away our sin, and offered us everlasting life. In the same way, everything we steward, every opportunity we have, every season we are able to lead and serve others is only because of his grace. To remind us of this truth, the apostle Paul rhetorically asked, “For who makes you so superior? What do you have that you didn’t receive?” (1 Cor.4:7). Humble leaders remind themselves of this truth over and over again.

Read the whole post here.


Leave a comment

Ten Types Of Thinking That Undergird Depression (via ERLC)

This is an article by Brad Hambrick, published by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
These ten types of thinking are described as fuelling the depressive-anxious experience.
From personal experience they certainly resonate.
It would be helpful to understand that this is not a matter of identifying these in others and tell them to stop it.
Rather it is a self-diagnostic tool to help individuals recognise that which is unhelpful and unproductive in recovery and self-management.
It is also helpful for those who support sufferers about what sort of thought patterns not to encourage.

The list.
There are expanded explanations and ‘pay attention’ descriptions to help diagnose practical explanations of the thinking at work in the article itself:

1. Idealistic: Ideals are good goals without a sense of time.
2. Impossibly high goals: Impossible goals are either super-human or lack achievable pieces.
3. Personalization: Everything is not “about you.”
4. Emotional reasoning: When we believe our emotions are true in spite of facts to the contrary, this is emotional reasoning.
5. Catastrophisizing: This style of worst-case scenario thinking (i.e., “I’m going to die, fail out of school, be single forever, etc.) is very frequent at the onset of a panic attack.
6. Dichotomous thinking: “It is either great or terrible. It is clearly not great, so it must be terrible.”
7. Selective attention: We constantly filter our attention.
8. Superstitious thinking: In children or sports fans, superstitious thinking can be cute or entertaining.
9. Passivity: “If I can’t [blank], then I won’t do anything.” This is a pattern of thought that often causes people to cycle between depression and anxiety.
10. Equating worth with performance: This mindset requires “salvation by works alone” for you while allowing “salvation by grace” for everyone else.

Read the whole article here.


Leave a comment

Six Reminders On The Importance Of Pastoral Leadership (via Erik Reed)

Erik Reed developed a six item list to remind himself of the importance of pastoral leadership.
I’m conscious of building in preparation for those who will follow after me; and know that my role gets me a certain amount of trust and influence but only time and relationship will nurture deep trust and influence, so these two really stood out to me.

Remember the short life span of my leadership opportunity.
Someone is going to replace me. I am pastoring someone else’s future church. While recognizing this is sobering and humbling, it also motivating to lead well and courageously while I have the opportunity. I need to lead recognizing that I am a steward of something bigger than me.
Remember that my position gives me a seat at the table, but my actions determine the extent of my influence.
I am the Lead Pastor at The Journey Church. This gives me a seat at the table on leadership discussions and decisions. I have built in authority because of my position. But my position does not determine my influence, my actions do. This leads me to focus on what I do instead of where I am on the org chart. The most influential people are not always the ones with the most authoritative positions.

Read the whole post at Lifeway Pastors.