Monday, November 21, 2011

Modern March | a Christian blog

Modern March | a Christian blog

For the Love of God – Part 2: Reflecting God’s Love in… Pastoral Leadership

Posted: 20 Nov 2011 12:00 PM PST

Part 1: Reflecting God’s Love in… Pastoral Leadership

It is imperative to understand that there was no greater man than the God-man, Jesus Christ. I am aware that this should go without saying, but unfortunately many pastors spend more time attempting to mimic their favorite popular preacher than reading Jesus as revealed in Scripture. "Pastor" can be translated to "shepherd" and Jesus is, of course, the Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20).

The truth is that if your ministry is built around an impersonation of another man, you are only fooling your people and yourself into thinking you are something that you're not. Furthermore, being a charismatic speaker in your own right or excelling as budget-setter are not enough to see lives transformed. Your people need a pastor, not a hip motivational speaker. You must love them with the passionate love of God, doing everything in your power to show them the Gospel with nothing added to it.

Of course, at the end of the day pastors cannot do anything to save a soul, but they can preach and live Scripturally in hopes that God uses them. Our standard is fully laid out in Scripture through Jesus Christ and through the letters of His chosen apostle, Paul.

Jesus' Example

There are several characteristics of Jesus Christ that encompass what it means to be a man of God. Here are three that I found to be of particular interest:

  • Compassionate – Jesus not only felt compassion for the hurting (Matt. 14:14), but also felt compassion for unbelievers (Mark 6:34). It is crucial that we see the lost as souls in need of a Savior and nothing less. When dealing with unbelievers, also remember that we are saved by God's grace and mercy, not by fear-mongering or intimidation.
  • A Humble Servant – If anyone has the right to forgo humility, it's the God of the Universe. But Jesus did not see it this way, going so far as to wash His disciples' feet in order to set an example for them to follow (John 13:1-17). Not only this, but Jesus was willing to lower Himself in order to save others (Mark 15). The best leaders are not dictators; they lead by example and serve others.
  • Defensive of God's Name and Honor – Jesus was humble and compassionate, but He was not a choir boy. He did not allow His Father to be disrespected (Matt. 21:12-13). Notice in the aforementioned verse that Jesus' confrontation did not scare people away, it drew people toward Him. Don't be a jerk, but preach with conviction and people will believe in you enough to follow the One you’re heralding.

Paul's Exhortation

Paul, the greatest church planter that the world will ever see, used many characteristics of Jesus and general attributes of mature faith as guidelines for elder qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:2-7:

"An overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil."

Pretty self-explanatory, I'd say.

The Word is Enough

The Bible is the perfect, unblemished, inerrant Word of God. This is where pastors direly need to turn for answers to all questions relating to ministry. It is great that God has used men to grow churches, to preach the Gospel, and to impact the world for Christ. It should bring us joy to see God's Kingdom work being done, but it should not breed a want for someone else's God-ordained abilities. God's love is unending, contagious, and powerful and Christ's perfect reflection of this love should be our standard in church leadership. You cannot show love to someone more than by showing them Christ (1 John 4:9-10).

As Jared Wilson has so aptly put it, "Someone will always have better coffee, music, facilities, and speaking. Showcase Christ and His Gospel. No one can improve on that."


Up Next: Part 3: Reflecting God's Love in… Community Engagement

Filed under: Articles, Church, Gospel


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