Pastoring & Shepherding of Church
Three pastors got together for coffee one day and found all their churches had bat-infestation problems. "I got so mad," said one, "I took a shotgun and fired at them. It made holes in the ceiling, but did nothing to the bats." "I tried trapping them alive," said the second. "Then I drove 50 miles before releasing them, but they beat me back to the church." "I haven't had any more problems," said the third. "What did you do?" asked the others, amazed. "I simply baptized and confirmed them," he replied. "I haven't seen them since." ── Reader's Digest, July, 1994, p. 64.
Consider what pastors think about work, home, and lifestyles as reported in a recent survey conducted by Leadership magazine:
- 94 percent feel pressured to have an ideal family;
- The top four problems in clergy marriages are: 81 percent, insufficient time; 71 percent, use of money; 70 percent, income level; 64 percent, communication difficulties, 63 percent, congregational expectations; and 57 percent, differences over leisure;
- 24 percent have received or are receiving marital counseling;
- 33 percent of pastors are dissatisfied with the level of sexual intimacy in their marriages; and pastors report 16 percent of their spouses are dissatisfied, which 69 percent blame on their busy schedule, 54 percent on their spouse's schedule, and 35 percent on frequent night church meetings.;
- 22 percent seek supplemental income to make ends meet;
- 28 percent feel current compensation is inadequate;
- 69 percent of the spouses work outside the home to make ends meet;
- 67 percent of the pastors feel positive about their spouses working outside their home;
- 9 percent of clergy have had extramarital affairs;
- 19 percent have had inappropriate sexual contact with another person other than their spouse;
- 55 percent of clergy have no one with whom they can discuss their sexual temptation.── H.B. London, Jr. and Neil B. Wiseman, Pastors at Risk, Victor Books, 1993, pp. 34-35.
This soul-weariness shines through a few lines of sarcasm one minister wrote in his journal: "If I wanted to drive a manager up the wall, I would make him responsible for the success of an organization and give him no authority. I would provide him with unclear goals, not commonly agreed upon by the organization. I would ask him to provide a service of an ill-defined nature, apply a body of knowledge having few absolutes, and staff his organization with only volunteers. I would expect him to work ten to twelve hours per day and have his work evaluated by a committee of 300 to 500 amateurs. I would call him a minister and make him accountable to God."── H.B. London, Jr. and Neil B. Wiseman, Pastors at Risk, Victor Books, 1993, pp. 54.
Consider the following sobering survey results of the personal and professional lives of the clergy:
- 90% of pastors work more than 46 hours a week
- 80% believed that pastoral ministry affected their families negatively
- 33% said that being in ministry was an outright hazard to their family
- 75% reported a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry
- 50% felt unable to meet the needs of the job
- 90% felt they were inadequately trained to cope with ministry demands
- 70% say they have a lower self-esteem now than when they started out
- 40% reported a serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month
- 37% confessed having been involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church
- 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
1991 Survey of Pastors, Fuller Institute of Church Growth,── H. B. London, Jr. and Neil B. Wiseman, Pastors at Risk, Victor Books, 1993, p. 22.
Some pastors preach "longhorn sermons," a point here, a point there, and a lot of bull in between.── Source Unknown.
One pastor never prepared during the week, and on Sunday morning he'd sit on the platform while the church was singing the hymns desperately praying, "Lord, give your message, Lord give me your message." One Sunday, while desperately praying for God's message, he heard the Lord say, "Ralph, here's my message. You're lazy!"── Source Unknown.
Have you ever heard of the spiritual disease which people in medieval times called accidie? It is something that threatens all Christian workers after the first flush of enthusiasm has worn off. It's a form of sloth but not at the physical level. It is apathy of the soul. It shows in a certain toughness of mind and wariness of spirit which often results from hurt and disillusionment.
People with accidie in this sense have grown cynical about ideals, enthusiasms, and strong hopes. They look pityingly at young people and say, "They'll learn," taking it for granted that when they've learned, they'll become tough inside too. Once upon a time these leather-souled people were keen, hopeful, and expectant. But nothing happened, or they got hurt, and now they protect themselves against pain by adopting cynical, world-weary attitudes.
If these people are ministers of churches, they work mechanically, merely going through the motions because their light has really gone out and they're no longer expecting anything exciting to happen. They feel that they know from experience that exciting things don't happen, and that's an end of it. So they merely plod on, expecting nothing and receiving nothing.
But the Lord does not send us out on his work in order that nothing may happen. His word is intended to have impact; it's sent out to accomplish something. We ought never to settle for a non-expectant, defeated attitude. Rather we should be asking and expecting great things from God.── James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986, p. 10.
The public's image of the clergy has hit an all-time low, with just a bare majority now rating them "very high" (15 percent) or "high" (39 percent) in honesty and ethical standards. One person in three (33 percent) considers clergy ethics to be just average, while 7 percent say they are "low," and 2 percent consider them "very low."
In spite of this, members of the clergy are charted second only to pharmacists for honesty and ethics. Physicians, college teachers, dentists, and engineers are next in rank, while journalists, bankers, lawyers, members of Congress, and car salesmen are rated near the bottom.── Emerging Trends, Signs of the Times, August, 1993, p. 6.
Ten Basic Statements about ministry:
1. The foundation of ministry is character.
2. The nature of ministry is service.
3. The motive for ministry is love.
4. The measure of ministry is sacrifice.
5. The authority of ministry is submission.
6. The purpose of ministry is the glory of God.
7. The tools of ministry are the Word and prayer.
8. The privilege of ministry is growth.
9. The power of ministry is the Holy Spirit.
10. The model for ministry is Jesus Christ
── Warren and David Wiersbe, in Making Sense of the Ministry.
Robert Murray McCheyne wrote to Dan Edwards after the latter's ordination as a missionary, "In great measure, according to the purity and perfections of the instrument, will be the success. It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God".── Paul Borthwick, Leading the Way, Navpress, 1989, p. 65.
If you knew you could not fail, what would you attempt to do for the glory of God and the growth of his kingdom?
Why should the congregation follow me?
1. Congregational endorsement (they asked me to lead).
2. Biblical--placed by God in a position of leadership (Heb 13, Acts 20:28)
3. Force of example on others--I follow Christ, you follow me. Dependent on closeness of relationship.
4. Expertise--knowledge and training.
── Source Unknown.
According to Edward Bratcher, (The Walk on Water Syndrome (Word, 1986, p. 109), "The typical pastor feels no one cares for him and his development" and 83% try to comfort themselves instead of seeking outside help. ── Target, May, 1993, p. 17.
In his book Be Free, Warren W. Wiersby mentioned the fact that young ministers often visited the great British preacher G. Campbell Morgan to ask him the secret of his success. When someone inquired of him what he told these aspiring pastors, Morgan replied, "I always say to them the same thing -- work; hard work; and again, work!" And Morgan lived up to his own advice. He would be in his study every morning at 6 o'clock, finding rich treasures out of his Bible to pass on to God's people. ── Our Daily Bread.
Parishioners hard pressed for something to say to the clergy after the service have, according to one minister's friend said to him, "You always manage to find something to fill up the time."
"I don't care what they say, I like your sermons."
"If I'd known you were going to be good today I'd have brought a neighbor."
"Did you know there are 243 panes of glass in the windows?"
"We shouldn't make you preach so often."
── Arthur Myers, Berkshire Sampler.
A Lutheran newsletter has some tongue-in-cheek suggestions for church members unhappy with their pastor: "Simply send a copy of this letter to six other churches who are tired of their ministers. Then bundle up your pastor and send him to the church at the top of the list. Add your name to the bottom of the list. In one week you will receive 16,436 ministers, and one of them should be a dandy. Have faith in this letter. One man broke the chain and got his old minister back."── Source Unknown.
God give us men...ribbed with the steel of Your Holy Spirit...men who will not flinch when the battle's fiercest...men who won't acquiesce, or compromise, or fade when the enemy rages. God give us men who can't be bought, bartered, or badgered by the enemy, men who will pay the price, make the sacrifice, stand the ground, and hold the torch high. God give us men obsessed with the principles true to your word, men stripped of self-seeking and a yen for security...men who will pay any price for freedom and go any lengths for truth. God give us men delivered from mediocrity, men with vision high, pride low, faith wide, love deep, and patience long...men who will dare to march to the drumbeat of a distant drummer, men who will not surrender principles of truth in order to accommodate their peers. God give us men more interested in scars than medals. More committed to conviction than convenience, men who will give their life for the eternal, instead of indulging their lives for a moment in time. Give us men who are fearless in the face of danger, calm in the midst of pressure, bold in the midst of opposition. God give us men who will pray earnestly, work long, preach clearly, and wait patiently. Give us men whose walk is by faith, behavior is by principle, whose dreams are in heaven, and whose book is the Bible. God give us men who are equal to the task. Those are the men the church needs today. ── Bob Moorehead, The Growth Factor.
guides (sheep go astray)
guards (against wolves)
heals (the wounds of injured)
── Between Two Worlds, J.R. Stott, p. 120.
A Church Perish
There is a pastor, himself he cherished,
Who loved his position not his parish
So the more he preached
The less he reached
And this is why his parish perished.
── Source Unknown.
Prayer by a Bishop for the Members of His Church
(Adapted as a Prayer of a Mother for Her Children)
Jesus, good Shepherd, they are not mine but Yours,
for I am not mine but Yours.
I am Yours, Lord, and they are Yours,
because by Your wisdom You have created
both them and me,
and by Your death You have redeemed us.
So we are Yours, good Lord, we are Yours,
whom You have made with such wisdom
and bought so dearly.
Then if You commend them to me, Lord,
You do not therefore desert me or them.
You commend them to me:
I commend myself and them to you.
Yours is the flock, Lord, and Yours is the shepherd.
Be Shepherd of both Your flock and shepherd.
You have made an ignorant mother,
a blind leader, an erring ruler:
teach the mother You have established
guide the leader You have appointed,
govern the ruler You have approved.
I beg you,
teach me what I am to teach,
lead me in the way that I am to lead,
rule me so that I may rule others.
Or rather, teach them, and me through them,
lead them, and me with them,
rule them, and me among them.
── Anselm 1033-1109), Archbishop of Canterbury, translated by Sister Benedicta Ward, S.L.G. Adapted for mothers by RBG. quoted in Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, Ruth Bell Graham, 1991, Focus on the Family Publishing, pp. 112-113.
The fame and popularity of Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen rested largely on his children's fairy tales, written over a period of some 37 years and translated into scores of languages. Andersen was well aware of this fact -- so much so that late in life, he told the musician who was to compose a march for his funeral, "Most of the people who will walk after me will be children, so make the beat keep time with little steps." ── Today in the Word, January 15, 1993.
A stranger entered the church in the middle of the sermon and seated himself in the back pew. After a while he began to fidget. Leaning over to a white-haired man at his side,evidently an old member of the congregation, he whispered:
"How long has he been preaching?"
"Thirty or forty years, I think," the old man answered.
"I'll stay then," decided the stranger, "He must be nearly done."
── The World's Best Jokes, Christian Clippings, p. 26.
A minister pleasantly surprised his congregation by delivering a 10-minute sermon instead of the usual 30-minute message. In concluding he explained, "I regret to inform you, brethren, that my dog, who appears to be inordinately fond of paper, this morning ate that portion of my sermon which I have not delivered. Let us pray."
After the service a stranger from another church approached the pastor and said, "Preacher, please let me know if that dog of yours has any pups. If it does, I want to buy one for my minister." ── Christian Clippings, p. 27.
By many estimates, the 1990s will be a time of continued confusion for clergy. Ministers are "the most frustrated profession in the nation," according to management consultant Peter Drucker...A study prepared by the Episcopal Foundation concluded that "many old and established patterns for ordained leaders in the church are no longer working." Among clergy comments in the study:
- The status of clergy is lower.
- Clergy are no longer considered to be special people.
- I feel pulled apart. Am I a pastor or a businessman?
Many clergy, the report said, "are conceiving a role for themselves like chief executive officers of a multi-level organization, where skilled laity are middle managers." ── Russell Chadler, Racing Toward 2000: The forces Shaping America's Religious Future, Harper Collins, Zondervan, pp. 216, 217, Discoveries, Summer, 1992.
The Lord has given to every man his work. It is his business to do it, and the devil's business to hinder him -- if he can. So, sure as God gives a man a work to do, Satan will try to hinder him. He may present other things more promising; he may allure you by worldly prospect; he may assault you with slander, torment you with false accusations, set you to work defending your character, employ pious persons to lie about you, editors to assail you, and excellent men to slander you. You may have Pilate and Herod, Ananias and Caiaphas all combined against you, and Judas standing by to sell you for 30 pieces of silver. And you may wonder why all these things have come to pass. Can you not see that the whole thing is brought about through the craft of the devil, to draw you off from your work and hinder your obedience to Christ?
Keep about your work. Do not flinch because the lion roars. Do not stop to stone the devil's dogs. Do not fool around your time chasing the devil's rabbits. Do your work; let liars lie; let sectarians quarrel; let editors publish; let the devil do his worst. But see to it that nothing hinders you from fulfilling the work God has given you. He had not sent you to make money; He has not commanded you to get rich. He has never bidden you to defend your character nor has He bidden you to contradict falsehoods about yourself which Satan and his servants may start to peddle. If you do these things you will do nothing else; you will be at work for yourself and not for the Lord. Keep about your work. Let your aim be as steady as a star. Let the world brawl and bubble. You may be assaulted, wrangled, insulted, slandered, wounded, and rejected. You may be chased by foes, abused by them, forsaken by friend, despised and rejected of men, but see to it that with steadfast determination and with unfaltering zeal you pursue that great purpose of your life and the object of your being until at last you can say; "I have finished the work which you, dear God, have given me to do?" ── Pulpit Helps, August, 1992, p. 8.
"I'm convinced that a man's commitment to his message is measured by the significance of his words when he has to speak to only a handful of people." ── Howard Hendricks, Say It With Love, p. 73.
How Much Is That Preacher?
Good morning, madam. May I help you?
Yes, please, I'd like to buy a minister.
For yourself or your church?
Oh, for my church, of course. I'm already married.
Uh, yes. Did you have a particular model in mind?
I've got a description from the Candidate Committee right here. We want a man about 30, well educated, with some experience. Good preacher and teacher. Balanced personality. Serious, but with a sense of humor. Efficient, but not rigid. Good health. Able to identify with all age groups. And, if possible, sings tenor.
We're short of tenors in the choir.
I see. Well, that's quite a list. How much money did you want to spend?
The committee says $9,000. $9,500 tops.
Hmmm. Well, perhaps we'd better start in the bargain basement.
Tell me, how much is that model in the window?
You mean the one in the Pendleton plaid suit and the gray suede dune boots?
Yes, that one. He's a real dream.
That's our Princeton #467. Has a Ph.D. and AKC papers.
American Koinonia Council. He sells for $16,000 plus house.
Wow! That's too rich for our blood. What about that model over there?
Ah, yes. An exceptional buy. Faith #502. He's a little older than 30, but has excellent experience. Aggressive. Good heart. Has a backing of sermons, two of which have been printed in Christian Leaders.
He's not too bad. Can you do something about his bald head? Mrs. Penner especially insists that our minister have some hair.
Madam, all our ministers come in a variety of hair styles. Keep him in mind.
Now let me show you Olympia #222. Four years of varsity sports at Brass Ring College. Plays football, basketball, volleyball, and Ping-Pong. Comes complete with sports equipment.
What a physique! He must weigh 200 pounds!
Yes, indeed. You get a lot for your money with this one. And think what he can do for your young people.
Great. But how is he at preaching?
I must admit he's not St. Peter. But you can't expect good sermons and a church-wide athletic program too!
I suppose not. Still...
Let me show you our Fresno #801. Now here's a preacher. All his sermons are superb -- well researched, copious anecdotes, and they always have three points. And -- he comes with a full set of the Religious Encyclopedia at no extra charge! You get the whole package for $8,300.
He's wearing awfully thick glasses.
For $220 more we put in contact lenses.
I don't know. He might study too much. We don't want a man who's in his office all the time.
Of course. How about this minister over here? Comes from a management background. Trained in business operations at Beatitude College. Adept with committees. Gets his work done by 11:30 every morning.
His tag says he's an IBM 400.
Madam, you have a discerning eye. Innovative Biblical Methods. This man will positively revitalize your church.
I'm not sure our church wants to be revitalized. Haven't you got something less revolutionary?
Well, would you like someone of the social worker type? We have this Ghetto #130.
The man with the beard? Good gracious, no. Mrs. Penner would never go for that.
How about our Empathy #41C? His forte is counseling. Very sympathetic. Patient. Good with people who have problems.
Everyone in our church has problems. But he might not get out and visit new people. We really need a man who does a lot of visitation. You see, all our people are very busy and...
Yes, yes, I understand. You want a minister who can do everything well.
That's it! Haven't you got somebody like that?
I'm thinking. In our back room we have a minister who was traded in last week. Excellent man, but he broke down after three years. If you don't mind a used model, we can sell him at a reduced price.
Well, we had hoped for someone brand-new. We just redecorated the sanctuary, and we wanted a new minister to go with it.
Of course. But with a little exterior work, and a fresh suit, this man will look like he just came out of the box. No one will ever know. Let me bring him out and you can look him over.
All right. Honestly, this minister shopping is exhausting. It's so hard to get your money's worth. Tell me, do you also give Green Stamps with the contract?
Uh -- no. But if there's any dissatisfaction after six months we send a new congregation for the balance of the years. That usually takes care of most problems.
Jean Shaw, Don't Stand Up in the Canoe: A Fantasy from Life, Zondervan, Grand Rapids.
A minister must be learned, on pain of being utterly incompetent for his work. But before and above being learned, a minister must be godly. Nothing could be more fatal, however, than to set these two things over against one another. Recruiting officers do not dispute whether it is better for soldiers to have a right leg or a left leg: soldiers should have both legs. ── B.B. Warfield, quoted in Credenda Agenda, Vol. 4/No. 5, p. 16.
I know that preaching the gospel publicly is the best means, because we speak to so many at once. But it is usually far more effective to speak it privately to a particular person. ── Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor.
Not long ago a well-meaning group of laymen came from a neighboring church to se me. They wanted me to advise them on some convenient and painless method of getting rid of their pastor. I'm afraid, however, that I wasn't much help to them.
At the time I had not had the occasion to give the matter serious thought. But since then I have pondered the matter a great deal, and the next time anyone comes for advice on how to get rid of a pastor, here's what I'll tell him:
1. Look the pastor straight in the eye while he's preaching and say "Amen" once in a while and he'll preach himself to death.
2. Pat him on the back and brag on is good points and he'll probably work himself to death.
3. Rededicate your life to Christ and ask the preacher for some job to do, preferably some lost person you could win to Christ, and he'll die of heart failure.
4. Get the church to unite in prayer for the preacher and he'll soon become so effective that some larger church will take him off your hands.
── Quoted in You and Your Pastor, Radio Bible Class, J. Reed, The Pastor as a Theologian, in Walvoord: A Tribute, Donald Campbell, ed., Moody, 1982, p. 273.
A group of ministers and a salesman's organization were holding
conventions in the same hotel, and the catering department had to work at top speed serving dinners to both. The salesmen were having spiked watermelon for dessert. But the chef discovered that it was being served to the ministers by mistake. "Quick!" he commanded a waiter. "Bring it back!" The waiter returned, reporting that it was too late. The ministers were already eating the liquor-spiced treat. "Do they like it?" asked the chef. "Don't know," replied the waiter, "but they're putting the seeds in their pockets." ── Quote Magazine.
Most of senior pastor Johathan Boucher's parishioners favored independence. George and Martha Washington were frequent visitors, as Martha's son John was a student at the church school. Nevertheless, Boucher not only held the Tory position, but openly preached loyalty to King George. This prompted frequent threats, so for six months he preached with a brace of loaded pistols on the seat cushion beside him. One Sunday, matters reached a climax when 200 armed militiamen showed up under the command of Osborne Sprigg, threatening to shoot if he dared mount the pulpit. In the ensuing scuffle, Boucher grabbed Sprigg by the collar and--holding a loaded pistol to his head-- eased his way through the hostile mob. He reached his horse and escaped, sailing to England on the last ship before hostilities broke out. ── Moody Monthly, July/August 1990, p. 13.
We cannot make up for failure in our devotional life by redoubling energy in service. We shall never take people beyond our own spiritual attainment. ── W.H. Griffith Thomas.
It was King James I, I believe, who became annoyed with the irrelevant ramblings of his court preacher and shouted up to the pulpit: "Either make sense or come down out of that pulpit!" The preacher replied, "I will do neither." ── Steve Brown, Tabletalk, August, 1990.
Think yourself empty, read yourself full, write yourself clear, pray yourself keen. ── W.H. Griffith Thomas.
Luther's ten qualifications for the minister: 1) He should be able to teach plainly and in order. 2) He should have a good head. 3) Good power of language. 4) A good voice. 5) A good memory. 6) He should know when to stop. 7) He should be sure of what he means to say. 8) And be ready to stake body and soul, goods and reputation on its truth. 9) He should study diligently. 10) And suffer himself to be vexed and criticized by everyone. ── Resources, #2.
I remember when in Chicago many were toiling in the work, when a minister began to cry out from the depths of his heart, "O God, put new ministers in every pulpit!" The next Monday, I heard two or three men say, "We had a new minister last Sunday--the same old minister, but he had gotten new power." I firmly believe that is what we want to do all over the land. We want new ministers in the pulpit. We want people quickened by the Spirit of God. ── D.L. Moody.
A study of 301 clergy revealed: 66% feel lonely and isolated, 80% sometimes experience feelings of futility, and 90% suffer stress because of problems with parishioners. Many are tired after a 55 hour week, but most say they are 95% satisfied with their work. ── Homemade, Vol. 13, No. 10, October, 1989.
The wife of a close pastor friend of ours enjoys telling how she awoke one night to find her husband asleep on his elbows and knees at the foot of the bed. His arms were cupped before him as if he were embracing the base of a tree, and he was muttering. "George! What on earth are you doing?" she cried. "Shhh," he answered, still asleep. "I'm holding a pyramid of marbles together, and if I move, it's going to tumble down..." A classic pastor's dream! First, because it was the subconscious revelation of a pressured parson. Second, because the pyramid of marbles is an apt metaphor for a pastor's work. ── K. Hughes, Liberating Ministry From The Success Syndrome, Tyndale, 1988, p.177.
From some 8000 laymen and ministers with whom we have conferred, five principal problems emerge: a loss of nerve, a loss of direction, erosion from culture, confusion of thought, exhaustion...They have become shaken reeds, smoking lamps, earthen vessels...spent arrows. They have lost heart. But they can be revived!" ── Carlyle Marney, who conducts the "Interpreter's House" for discouraged pastors at Lake Junaluska, quoted in K. Menninger, Whatever Became of Sin?, p. 224.
A church janitor was heard to say, "The blower still works, but the fire has gone out." He was discussing a problem with the furnace, but the parishioner who overheard him thought he was speaking about the pastor. ── E. Lutzer, Pastor to Pastor, p. 67.
The minister's shortcoming simply cannot be concealed. Even the most trivial soon get known...However trifling their offenses, these little things seem great to others, since everyone measures sin, not by the size of the offense, but by the standing of the sinner. ── John Chrysostom (347-407).
The pastor teaches, though he must solicit his own classes. He heals, though without pills or knife. He is sometimes a lawyer, often a social worker, something of an editor, a bit of a philosopher and entertainer, a salesman, a decorative piece for public functions, and he is supposed to be a scholar. He visits the sick, marries people, buries the dead, labors to console those who sorrow and to admonish those who sin, and tries to stay sweet when chided for not doing his duty. He plans programs, appoints committees when he can get them, spends considerable time in keeping people out of each other's hair. Between times he prepares a sermon and preaches it on Sunday to those who don't happen to have any other engagement. Then on Monday he smiles when some jovial chap roars, "What a job--one day a week!"── Source Unknown.
For you , I am Bishop, but with you, I am a Christian. The first is an office accepted, the second a grace received; one a danger, the other safety. If then I am gladder by far to be redeemed with you than I am to be placed over you, I shall, as the Lord commanded, be more completely your servant. ── Augustine (354-430).
He who is required by the necessity of his position to speak the highest things is compelled by the same necessity to exemplify the highest things. ── Gregory the Great (540-604).
Since you [O Lord] have appointed this blind guide to lead then [your people], for their sakes, Lord, if not for mine, teach him whom you have made to be their teacher; lead him whom you have bidden to lead them; rule him who is their ruler. ── Aelred (1109-1167).
Prayer, meditation, and temptation make a minister. ── Martin Luther (1483-1546).
Those whom the Lord has destined for this great office he previously provides with the armor which is requisite for the discharge of it, that they may not come empty and unprepared. ── John Calvin (1509-1564).
I go out to preach with two propositions in mind. First, every person ought to give his life to Christ. Second, whether or not anyone else gives him his life I will give him mine. ── Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758).
F.B. Meyer once said the secret of the great ministry of Samuel Martin (for whom Westminster Chapel was built) was that every Friday he locked himself in the building and went round, kneeling in seat after seat, in prayer for those who sat there. ── Resource, July/August, 1990.
A prayerless preacher is a misnomer. ── E.M. Bounds (1835-1913).
To be a pastor a man must set his heart on the life to come and regard the matters of eternal life above all the affairs of this present life. Above the trifles of this world, he must appreciate in some measure the inestimable riches of glory.── Richard Baxter.
No man who is full of himself can ever truly preach the Christ who emptied Himself. ── J. Sidlow Baxter.
A man should only enter the Christian ministry if he cannot stay out of it. ── D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981).
Let ministers daily pursue their studies with diligence and constantly busy themselves with them. Moreover, let them with care and diligence beware of the infectious poison of this imagined security and conceited overestimation; rather let them steadily keep on reading, teaching, studying, pondering, and meditating. My concern should be that others receive from me what God has taught me in Scripture, and that I strive to present this in the most attractive form, to teach the ignorant, to admonish and encourage those who have knowledge, to comfort troubled consciences, to awaken and strengthen negligent and sleepy hearts as Paul did, and as he commanded his pupils Timothy and Titus to do. This should be my concern; how others get the truth from me. Studying is my work--the work God wants me to do. And if it pleases Him, He will bless it. ── Martin Luther.
Lloyd C. Douglas tells the story of Thomas Hearne, who, "in his journey to the mouth of the Coppermine River, wrote that a few days after they had started on their expedition, a party of Indians stole most of their supplies. His comment on the apparent misfortune was: 'The weight of our baggage being so much lightened, our next day's journey was more swift and pleasant.'
Hearne was in route to something very interesting and important; and the loss of a few sides of bacon and a couple of bags of flour meant nothing more than an easing of the load. Had Hearne been holed in somewhere, in a cabin, resolved to spend his last days eking out an existence, and living on capital previously collected, the loss of some of his stores by plunder would probably have worried him almost to death."
How we respond to "losing" some of our resources for God's work depends upon whether we are on the move or waiting for our last stand.── Lloyd C. Douglas, The Living Faith.
When you go to a doctor for your annual check-up, he or she will often begin to poke, prod, and press various places, all the while asking, "Does this hurt? How about this?" If you cry out in pain, one of two things has happened. Either the doctor has pushed too hard, without the right sensitivity. Or, more likely, there's something wrong, and the doctor will say, "We'd better do some more tests. It's not supposed to hurt there!" So it is when pastors preach on financial responsibility, and certain members cry out in discomfort, criticizing the message and the messenger. Either the pastor has pushed too hard. Or perhaps there's something wrong. In that case, I say, "My friend, we're in need of the Great Physician because it's not supposed to hurt there." ── Ben Rogers.
Once, a man said, "If I had some extra money, I'd give it to God, but I have just enough to support myself and my family." And the same man said, "If I had some extra time, I'd give it to God, but every minute is taken up with my job, my family, my clubs, and what have you--every single minute." And the same man said, "If I had a talent I'd give it to God, but I have no lovely voice; I have no special skill; I've never been able to lead a group; I can't think cleverly or quickly, the way I would like to."
And God was touched, and although it was unlike him, God gave that man money, time, and a glorious talent. And then He waited, and waited, and waited.....And then after a while, He shrugged His shoulders, and He took all those things right back from the man, the money, the time and the glorious talent. After a while, the man sighed and said, "If I only had some of that money back, I'd give it to God. If I only had some of that time, I'd give it to God. If I could only rediscover that glorious talent, I'd give it to God."
And God said, "Oh, shut up."
And the man told some of his friends, "You know, I'm not so sure that I believe in God anymore." ── God is No Fool, 1969, Abindgon Press.
So when man finds Jesus, it costs him everything. Jesus has happiness, joy, peace, healing, security, eternity. Man marvels at such a pearl and says, 'I want this pearl. How much does it cost?"
"The seller says, 'it's too dear, too costly.'
"But how much?'
"Well, it's very expensive.'
"Do you think I could buy it?'
"It costs everything you have -- no more, no less -- so anybody can buy it.'
"I'll buy it.'
"What do you have? Let's write it down.'
"I have $10,000 in the bank.'
"Good, $10,000. What else?'
"I have nothing more. That's all I have.'
"Have you nothing more?'
"Well, I have some dollars here in my pocket.'
"I'll see: Thirty, forty, fifty, eighty, one hundred, one hundred twenty -- one hundred twenty dollars.'
"That's fine. What else do you have?'
"I have nothing else. That's all.'
"Where do you live?"
"I live in my house.'
"The house, too.'
"Then you mean I must live in the garage?'
"Have you a garage, too? That, too. What else?'
"Do you mean that I must live in my car, then?'
"Have you a car?'
"I have two.'
"Both become mine. Both cars. What else?'
"Well, you have my house, the garage, the cars, the money,
"Are you alone in the world?'
"No, I have a wife, two children...'
"Your wife and children, too.'
"Yes, everything you have. What else?'
"I have nothing else, I am left alone now."
"Oh, you too! Everything becomes mine -- wife, children, house, money, cars -- everything. And you too. Now you can use all those things here but don't forget they are mine, as you are. When I need any of the things you are using, you must give them to me because now I am the owner."── Juan Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship, (Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1975), pp. 42,43.
I place no value on anything I have or may possess, except in relation to the kingdom of God. If anything will advance the interests of the kingdom, it shall be given away or kept, only as by giving or keeping it I shall most promote the glory of Him to whom I owe all my hopes in time or eternity. ── David Livingstone.