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Relentlessly Driving Vision or Compassionately Shepherding Revelation? (via Michael Milton)

Michael Milton asks whether pastors see themselves as a CEO or a shepherd.
The answer will impact not just on a style of leadership, but on the nature of the body being led.

He contrasts a purpose statement from a chief executive officer with one of his own creation about pastoral ministry:

CEO Leadership
First, Mr. Welch, the CEO, and leadership:
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately on the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion” (Jack Welsh, CEO General Electric, 1981 – 2001).
Now, let me compose a summary statement of the Christian Shepherd according to the scripture that follows:
Christian Pastoral Service
Steadfast and wise pastoral leaders follow Jesus the Lord and most faithfully fulfill His mission in the world as they locate God‘s vision, connect His vision to God’s Burden for the lives of His people, help others to see and embrace God’s vision, and pray without ceasing” (MAM).

Milton’s observation:

One of the sad things about western culture today is that many congregations have bought into the vision statement of Jack Welch, dismissing the scriptural teaching on pastoral servanthood as possibly “helpful” for a pastoral “temperament,” but ineffective for (what seems to be the priority) an organizational mission. This is not only to be regretted, but it is also to be decried.

And his conclusion:

I wish the General Electric Company the very best. And I pray for the mission of Jesus Christ in our world today. The former may, indeed, need to “relentlessly drive” vision to achieve their goal, though I question the wisdom of “driving” concepts onto human beings in any setting. But it is indisputably certain that the latter will only realize the vision of Christ by imitating His life.

Read the whole post here.

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On Silence As The Currency That Can Purchase Pastoral Formation (via Michael Milton)

Michael Milton provides counsel about formation as a minister of the Gospel in the guise of advice to a graduate, just about to begin pastoral ministry.
The observations he makes about preparation, pride, paradox and patience all ring true – and can be lessons that take a long time to learn. They are also applicable to many other areas of life.
From his introduction:

Silence can become a treasured and hard-earned currency in our sacred vocation. Silence is the legal tender that will buy the necessary implements for your greatest pastoral assignments: the salvation of others and the salvation and sanctification of yourself. I don’t mean to say that proclamation is secondary. It is not. Preaching is the use of words to declare the intent of God in the world. Silence is the way we best discover the words. Or, I should say, silence gives us the voice to speak and the capacity to understand what we mean. Silence may seem to be not only tenuous, inutile, but also a foolishly indistinct coinage of little value. Should you have that view now it will change later; that is, if you are to be used of the Lord. In your silence today, and I define silence as both a stillness of mind as well as tongue, a teachable posture of receiving, I want you to listen for the voice of God speaking to you through the sound of an old man. Hearing with the ears of your spirit will take more time to process. Spiritual listening is slower. But “slower” is something that you must acquire. In that process of hearing with your spirit, you will also discern what is the voice of the old man and what is the voice of God. The former can be used to fertilize your ministry or to be recognized as “spent” nutrients, with little proleptic power remaining. The latter is to be obeyed.

Read the whole post here.

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If It Stops Stinking, It’s Too Late (via Michael Milton)

Michael Milton relates an episode from his past life experience of receiving a safety warning while working on an oil field and draws a parallel application to spiritual health:

[The warning from his foreman]
“When you smell rotten-eggs at the well site, boys, you are smelling a poisonous, corrosive, flammable gas that is hydrogen sulfide. This hydrogen sulfide will kill you in no time flat … If you get to the point where you do not smell hydrogen sulfide and its noxious rotten-egg aroma, it’s already too late. So, listen and live: You smell it. You get out of there. ‘Cuz if you stop smelling it, we will have to go in and haul your ugly carcass out of there feet-first. And that will just mess up my day. Don’t be that guy!”

[Milton’s spiritual application]
…sin is like the rotten-egg smell of hydrogen sulfide. Whenever you smell it, you have to get out—and I mean NOW. If you linger after you have detected the odor of the poisonous gas of sin, you will quickly get to the point where you don’t smell it. That is a point of no return. Let us say it like this,
If sin becomes tolerable, judgment becomes inevitable.
And by the time you stop sensing that rotten-egg smell, it will be too late. You will be trapped by sin. You’ll be snared by the devil. Somebody just may have to go into the scene of the incident and pull you out feet-first.

Read the whole post here.

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Only The Word by Michael A Milton

Michael Milton reminds us that only the Word will do.
Don’t accept anything less when you gather for corporate worship.