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The Injury Every Pastor Needs (via Ray Ortlund)

Ray Ortlund offers counsel to younger ministers that their ministries will take a lifetime, and they can’t be short-tracked.
I found his observations to be true, but that they are also applicable all through life.
They aren’t just stages you go through, rather they are awarenesses you grow into, awarenesses that then accompany you in ministry.

Here he writes about the breaking of pride and self-reliance that every pastor needs, and which can’t be taught, it can only be experienced.

At some point in your life, God will injure you so extremely that the self-reliance you aren’t even aware of, the self-reliance with which you’ve been navigating so consistently by that it feels natural and innocent, will collapse under the loss and anguish. You will start realizing, “Oh, so this is what it means to trust the Lord. I need him now with an urgency, a desperation, a seriousness of purpose deeper than ever before.”
And then God will come through for you. And you will emerge from that suffering a deeper saint. You will be a better preacher and pastor and leader and counselor and teacher and friend, because you will be a better man — more like the wounded Christ himself.


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Has Service Been Detached From Real, Christ-like Leadership? (via Ashley Hibbard at Dashhouse)

Ashley Hibbard provides a guest-post at Dashhouse which ponders whether management skill and leadership have supplanted serving as the marker of pastoral leadership in the church.
Avoiding polar extremes, the problem identified is whether the motivation to engage with others is for their benefit, or to be noticed.
From the post:

There are many unhealthy aspects of the Christian “celebrity culture” that has infiltrated almost every corner of the church, but one of the most deadly may be one of the least addressed: the need to be noticed. It seems to me that all too often, the need to be noticed masquerades as leadership.
I once heard an individual go a struggling church leader and offer help if he needed “someone to lead things or run things.” I knew of another, more mature individual who offered his help as “anything you need; anything at all.” While this is only one incident, I have seen evidence of or heard tell of many others like it. And it makes me wonder if we have come to a place where “leaders” have replaced servants, and service has been detached from real, Christ-like leadership.


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My Management Plan

I’m attending meetings this week.
It’s sort of soft return to work.
This cartoon is sort of my management plan, explaining why nothing seems to go wrong for me.
(btw, this web cartoon is close to my life an uncomfortably lot of the time)

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Pastors Lead With The Gospel And Through The Gospel (via Dave Harvey)

Dave Harvey at Sojourn Network reminds me that a minister of the Gospel does not find his identity and self-worth in ministry of the Gospel, but in the Gospel I minister.

If you long to be in pastoral ministry, the starting place is the gospel. You must know the gospel, love the gospel, and delight daily in the glory of the gospel. The gospel should be aimed first at your own struggles and fear and sins. Your love of approval must be smothered by the resplendent weight of the gospel. Your fear of criticism must be crucified by the retelling of the gospel. The gospel is of help through you because it has been applied to you.
There is no pastoral ministry without the gospel. Reach for nothing more, accept nothing less.

Read more here.

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Character Versus Personality

The local pastors were musing on the necessity of pastoral leadership to be qualified by character and not personality this morning.
The culture in which we live values celebrity, which stands in contrast to the incarnational values of the kingdom.
From Zack Eswine.

The Origin of Celebrity Culture
Celebrity culture comes from at least two places. First, it has simply been here since the garden. In the very beginning when the devil said, “You can be like God,” there was an invitation to take center stage. Now that desire to take center stage is in each of us as human beings.
Second, we live in a selfie culture. With all of its strengths, it is still a culture that says “Put yourself forward.” Those two things then converge: our inward desire to be somebody, and the external culture that says you can be.
The Struggle We Face
When we look at the Gospels we see that Jesus is very fame-shy. He is constantly moving in places that other people wouldn’t go. He is constantly moving to people that other people would overlook. And he calls us to that kind of life. So we wrestle with this invitation to do a truly great thing by serving the least, while inside of us and outside of us we’re pressured to make much of ourselves.

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Feelings Of Discouragement And Failure In Pastoral Life

From a post by Stephen Altrogge which mentioned reasons why pastors can feel discouraged.
This one pretty much sums it up at the moment.

Unlike most jobs, pastoral work is never completed. There are no project deadlines and they can’t usually see tangible evidence of progress. The pastor’s work is only complete when he stops being a pastor, dies, or Jesus comes back.
On top of that, pastors are sinners working among sinners. Every day they confront deep, dark reminders of the profound sinfulness of men and women. A deacon in the church walks out on his family. A young mom is addicted to pain killers. A longstanding member is afflicted with brain cancer.
This means that pastors in particular are vulnerable to discouragement. They can feel as if their work doesn’t matter, isn’t making any difference, and will never end. They are vulnerable to the whispers of Satan, telling them they are a failure.

Read the whole post here.