PO BOX 793 Swellendam 6740, Western Cape, South Africa
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 0823739297
Web site http://www.morielmissions.org.za/
Dear friends and family
First of all thank you for your love and support during my time in hospital and ongoing recovery from my foot reconstruction. The healing is going fairly well with just a few glitches when I over did things on the farm resulting in painful swelling. But despite the frustration I hope to have this Moon Boot off my foot sometime in the near future.
Since our last letter we have been busy getting the mission as self sustaining as possible. The meat Rabbits continue to grow and do what Rabbits do best but our real challenge has come with the Pigs we are now rearing for meat. Life seems to be an ever ending education but they are putting on weight and should be ready for the Freezer in October
The next Project is a Cow we have purchased. Her name in Afrikaans is Klienliefie which means little lovey. She is a cross Jersey/Bosmara and perfect for both milk and beef. Along with her we are sourcing several other cattle for both dairy and meat. This will enable us to make Cheeses with both Prudence and Ntombi already attending a cheese making course at a friends farm. This will be waxed and stored as well as used daily.
*UPDATE!! We have purchased a little Calf as Klienliefes apprentice. Her name is Blom which means flower.
Both the Pig and Dairy project have meant some building work has taken place and we now have a small milking shed as well as a Pig tractor. However we were hit by the Berg winds which made Kindling out of the Pig shed, however this has been built stronger out of bricks. Thank you to the donors who have made this project available to us.
The children have had their latest blood tests and most are doing well. Prudence who has been on a holding dose for the last 7 years now moves on to a more stable regime beginning this month. Apart from that we have had the usual coughs and colds but that has been it.
Ntombi has just come back from her horse camp and really enjoyed learning and fellowshipping with kids of her own age. Thank you to the donors who enabled this.
Prudence has begun an internship at a local Bistro and is learning all kinds of related skills from waitressing to helping cook food. She also still helps out at the baby home too.
*UPDATE!! Pru has been given a full time job they were so impressed with her so she is learning to cook everything on the menu as a trainee Chef PTL.
I will be setting off to the Uk on the 24th August. Its short notice but it will enable me to visit family and God willing do some speaking. If you would like me to speak please contact me via Email.
You can contact me directly or you may contact the following people.
South Africa, David Royle email@example.com
UK Joanne Drinkwater firstname.lastname@example.org
USA David Lister email@example.com
Australia and New Zealand, Marg Godwin firstname.lastname@example.org
- Praise God for His Provision day by day
- Thank Him for His grace. I am so out of my comfort zone with all the animals is crazy so please pray that God will keep us sane.
- Praise God for the good blood results.
- We are desperate for a Bakkie. We need a good farm one with high bars. They are out of our price range at the moment and the Bakkie we are using is a wreck. Please pray.
Several years ago I wrote some course material for a Bible school and retain the copyright. This material is for training of elders in Pastoral skills. I thought it would be good to publish it broadly in the hope of benefiting a few.
Pastoral & Teaching Ministry
The Inward Ministry
The Apostle Paul said to a young Pastor Timothy concerning those who desire to lead ‘he desireth a good work’ (kalov ergon) The work that he desires to do has real value. The words Paul uses are Kalos and Ergon according to Vine, the word has the meaning of ‘that which is intrinsically good and so goodly, fair, beautiful’ Never put down Gods call to leadership. I have heard many people over the years decry that which God has made good. Of their joyless service, of the sheer burden of it all that removes all joy. I agree that times of hardship come to leaders, even more than the next person, but the work in itself has so much intrinsic value, more than we may ever know.
Leaders let me tell you, the desire you have to serve is a good, fine, beautiful thing. Take the joy in knowing that you and it are of extreme value.
In this module on Pastors and teachers, we are to look in depth at the life and ministry of those called by God to serve His people within the capacity of care and instruction.
We are going to look at the ministry in a clear simple way, which defines the inward role of the Pastor/Teacher and the outward role. In other words, the areas of personal responsibility and then corporate responsibility.
We will begin with the Inward ministry and next session, as part of the outward ministry we will look at the following:
- GOALS AND PRIORITIES
- PASTORAL CARE
- PASTORAL PRACTICALITIES
- CONDUCTING WORSHIP
- LEADERSHIP RESPONSIBILITIES
We have begun by first of all recognising the desirability and nobleness of the call, lets now begin by looking at the call itself.
- THE LEADERS CALL
The call to ministry is like no other. Just think about it for a moment. If I enjoyed microbiology and desired a career as a microbiologist, the call would be based on my own desires, enjoyment and abilities to succeed with the science.
The call to minister is something else and we must ask the question:
- How do I know I am called to ministry and how important is assurance of His call?
Biblically for some it was a crisis experience – can you think of anybody who came into leadership in this way? Discuss.
Are all examples of men in crisis situations where they have to make a decision before God Himself.
But for most it is the inner conviction that God simply has his hand upon us in a profound way. The Apostle Paul was one such man; he declares in 1Corinthians 9:16b “I am under compulsion for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel” NASB
If God has His calling upon your life there is an inner conviction that no other vocation will do.
Along with the inner conviction, there is the possession of the gifts and qualifications required for Gods workers.
We can see the requirements clearly demonstrated in 1Timothy Ch3 and we need to seriously ponder these things.
It is a list that has been quoted often and has been seen by many as impossible to attain. We do this at our peril, for these are Gods standards for His leaders and when we begin to subtract from them the qualities which we personally may find difficult to achieve, what we are in fact saying is that God is not sufficient to meet our needs.
Yet the word of God tells us through the words of Paul himself
‘God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way of escape that ye may be able to bear it’ 1Cor 10:13
‘And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness’ 2Cor 12:9
We readily admit that Gods standards are not the world’s standards. Our call is to reject the world and follow him, as Romans Ch12:2 says
‘And be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God’
So why is it that when faced with the opportunity to prove Gods perfect will in our life, to demonstrate His sufficiency, that we lower His standards, transforming them into the worlds values?
We miss the point, we will fail and sometimes often. But sometimes in a race, do we not lag behind? Sometimes trip? Often fall? And does this dissuade us from competing? Of course not, because we know Gods grace is sufficient for our needs and will one day present us with a crown.
The obstacles in the race may be many; sexual temptation, the church secretary is attractive, your wife may not be as physically appealing as she once was to you. You have a choice. Believe that God will rescue you and so flee from the lusts of your youth. Or fall into temptation, bearing the consequences of a ruined life and witness even though you may have repented. Or you may follow the modern trend of some of today’s leaders and declare God has told you to divorce your wife for a younger more attractive woman.
God’s standards are Holy. Set apart from the worlds, they are often difficult, but nether the less, God says that His grace is sufficient for you and I.
Let us now look in some detail at the Holy characteristics of the man of God. They can be found in verses 2-7 of 1Timothy chapter 3.
- ‘A Bishop (Elder, Episkope, Overseer, episkopov) then must be blameless’(anepilhptov)
Since Nero first tried to rid himself of the new Jewish sect called ‘Christian’ by blaming them for the arson of public property, Christians throughout history have found themselves the target of unjust world systems. The early history of the church till the present date resonates the fact aloud to a world that often chooses not to hear because of political expedience. In such cases, close scrutiny of the facts will always justify the innocent and its in this true sense that the Christian or the Christian leader must remain blameless ‘anepileptos’ in its original language. In other words we are to literally be beyond reproach, irreproachable, one who has nothing an adversary can seize upon to lay a charge.
Obviously it does not mean they won’t try, take the example of Jesus. The Holy one, the perfect man-God, sinless, spotless, at one in hypostatic union with the Father and the Spirit. Yet ‘Crucify, Crucify’ was the cry, as even Pilate himself could not find anything to seize concerning him.
Being blameless is tough, it means that for the sake of the flock nothing can justly be laid against us concerning our present conduct, how hard this is in the present world climate of selfishness and personal opportunity.
- ‘Husband of but one wife’
Paul here was writing into a society where plurality in marriage was common. In a way it can almost be said of our society today. The tendency is to drift from one relationship to another, even within the church. Does this preclude divorcees from leadership? This Pastor believes it does, although I am sympathetic towards those who find themselves within ill-conceived unions. First of all because leaders are called to ‘be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity’ 1Tim 4:12 kjv. Lets remind ourselves of what Paul the leader says of his example.
‘Brethren, be followers together of me and mark them which walk so as you have us as an example’ Phil 3:17 KJV.
The world has a turn of phrase which must not be laid at the churches feet ‘Do as I say and not as I do’ This is my second point, sheep will follow the Shepherd, not only in direction but also in action. What the leader does today the congregation may do tomorrow. That is why Paul asks that our example be in all ‘Purity’. Being the Husband of but one wife is Gods perfect plan for relationships, Genesis 1:18 shows us God the creator making a helpmate for man in the singular and not in the plural. The world was to be worked and populated by a ‘couple’ who would become ‘one flesh’; it was the Fathers perfect plan.
According to the theologian John Stott, salvation is being free to be what God created you to be. To be yourself in original nature, that must mean that the reborn family of God must hold on strongly to the image that God created after Himself.
- He must be ‘Vigilant’. Other renderings would be ‘watchful, temperate, sober’ in the Greek the word is ‘Nephalios’. (nhfaleov)
Hebrews 13:17 says that leaders have ‘watch over your souls’ The leaders call to vigilance is not a selfish one, looking after number one is not an option. His main concern must be that of his flock. This is particularly important in today’s hedonistic society. The world is a seductress, never before in the West has society had so much on offer to so many. It tantalises and titillates us into submission. In relative terms the West is affluent, disposable income is ever on the increase, leisure time is at an all time high and it can very easy to fill ones life with the easily obtainable pleasures.
Seduction also spills over into the spiritual realm, one (The physical) is always related in some fashion to the other and so into the church comes the seduction of the world. In fact from a short difference, many of today’s churches are indistinguishable from the world into which they have been sent as a lifeboat. Seductive doctrines, indeed ‘Doctrines of Demons’ are among even the very elect with cries of ‘Claim those Dollar notes; Be rich and affluent just like Jesus and the Apostles; Send me your seed faith offering’ It is an approach upon the church of God.
What are we called to do? ‘Be Vigilant’. Not only for our sake, but also for the sake of the brethren, lets not be like the hirelings, letting every ravenous Wolf savage our sheep for the sake of popular theology or political expedience.
- The Elder is called to be ‘Prudent’. The Greek rendering is ‘Sophron’(swfrwn); it comes from two words ‘sozo’ to save and ‘phren’ the mind. It can be also rendered ‘self controlled’.
One of the major battlegrounds the church must be involved in today is the unceasing battle for the human mind. The way we think the ideas we value our very concept of what is right or wrong or even biblical has been under assault from an early age. There are at least three important areas that the church must address in the 21st century and they all relate to ‘Saving the mind’
1) Is the Spiritual.
2) Is the Moral.
3) Is the Social.
Let me take you through them one by one beginning with the Social. When God created Adam, we see the following words in expressed Genesis 2:18. ‘ And the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him a help meet for him’ The Hebrew for meet is ay’zer, (rze) literally a counterpart, the opposite of the original. God recognised within His own creation something of Himself and why shouldn’t He, God had created us living beings who shared the Fathers social aspects; Father, Son & Holy Spirit.
‘And God said let us make man in our image’ Gen. 1:26
As a good friend once said to me ‘God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve’ Man is a social being; a being with a need for balanced relationships, especially between the opposite sexes. Yet in today’s politically correct world, Gods balance is almost looked upon with disdain. Doesn’t matter if your partner is Gay, they generally have the same acceptability as married heterosexual couples. The word ‘partner’ is used of all cohabiting people, when once it was used for the unmarried; there is now no distinction. What if mum is living with a lesbian? Or Dad wants to bring his new boyfriend to visit? Yet these images, straight out of the pages of Genesis 19, are given to our very youngest and promoted as being normal socially acceptable. Young minds are seduced in their early years, corrupted in their infancy. Socially mankind is right back in the time of the Judges where ‘everyone did as he saw fit’ Judges 17:6b.
The battle for our children’s social outlook is of prime importance, it is to important to be left to anyone else apart from their Spirit filled, Bible believing parents. We are in danger of apostatising those who are the next generation of leaders by our lack of affirmative action within our own churches, our own relationships, and our own families. Through our silence as leaders we sell off our inheritance for less than a bowl of stew by not speaking out against every perverse thing the world throws at our families as being normal and socially acceptable.
Secondly this links with Moral Issues. If our biblical thinking is wrong it can only lead to wrong moral thinking. Great proportions of our personal moral decisions are programmed from our social background. The Israelites did as they saw fit. Why? Because socially they had cross-pollinated with the surrounding tribes. Socially there was less of a distinction, therefore their moral input was degraded to the lowest common denominator.
There is a paradigm shift taking place within the minds of Gods people due mainly to the duel messages we receive within our social structures. The examples are many; the world says look after No.1, the word of God says ‘ Love your neighbour as yourself’. The world says let your children express themselves and find their own faith. The word of God says ‘Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it’ One children’s cartoon said ‘ Don’t get mad get even. The word of God says ‘Do not take revenge my friends’ The world says don’t discipline your children. Gods word says ‘a fool spurns his fathers discipline’ ‘Discipline your son, for in that there is hope’ ‘Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline’ It is no wonder our children are confused, it is no surprise when our children make the wrong moral choices. We are in danger of losing the battle due to our lack of involvement in our children’s lives.
This now leads to our third area of conflict, the Spiritual. God has made us in His image as we have already said. The Bible tells us that ‘ God is Spirit and His worshippers must worship in Spirit and truth’ Mankind has a spiritual dimension, created to worship, but more importantly to worship ‘In Truth’. The Greek word Jesus used was Aletheia, (alhyeia) quite literally meaning an unveiled or revealed reality. Let us now look at what Gods word says in His word about what was revealed. J
Jesus said about Himself ‘I am the way and the truth (aletheia)’. Peter the Apostle writes ‘He was chosen before creation of the world but was revealed in these last times for your sake’. In these times Jesus is that revealed truth which satisfies that which God created us for – His worship. The spiritual nature of our very being comes to nothing when we worship anything less than what has been revealed to us.
Now taking this into consideration we again witness the messages we receive throughout our life concerning this matter. From an early age the false gods of this world queue to sit in lordship over our lives.
First of all is self or the flesh. No one needs to teach a child selfish ways, through sin it kind of comes naturally to us right from birth and we worship and serve self with all our heart, soul and mind.
Secondly comes pleasure, which has its roots in the flesh. Pleasure seeking (hedonism) is a powerful drive for it gives short term spiritual satisfaction, but unfortunately it lives by the rules of diminished returns; the more you have the more you crave for.
Thirdly, Satan can, and often does reveal himself as and Angel of light he demands our worship or at least any other worship other than the worship of the truth. This has manifested itself in a generally accepted pantheism within society were the fallen angel of light confuses our vision for the true light of the world.
That is why the wonderful arrogance of the gospel must be adhered to. The revealed Jesus must be worshipped as one true God and not a choice among many, these are the battle grounds we face through the flesh, the world, ecumenisicm and interfaith in this fallen world we live in and that is why an Elder must be Prudent as we face the Social, Moral and Spiritual issues of the 21st century.
- Paul now tells Timothy an elder must be Respectable or as the King James version says ‘of good behaviour’ The Greek is rendered kosmios, (kosmiov) and is associated with such persons who are Sophron or self controlled.
Such a person is deemed as one who places voluntary limitations on their personal freedom. Not only does it speak of ones outward dress and demeanour but more importantly ones inner life flowing into grace and dignity. In Greek culture Plato presented such a person as someone who was a quiet citizen of the land who fulfilled the duties incumbent to him in an orderly fashion.
What then does this mean for the Church Elder? Well it reminds me of a newspaper article I read while at Cliff Bible College in the lovely peaceful hills at Calver in Derbyshire. It told of a Methodist minister and a Baptist minister who had met for some pub lunch and a quiet chat. The article went on to describe the brawl which ensued between the two over some minor difference, there were chairs, tables, food and drink all over the place as these two men battled it out in public. I suppose I would be right in saying this is firstly not an example of Kosmios, good behaviour.
The clue to kosmios is found I believe in the voluntary limitations on personal behaviour which I mentioned earlier, that is why it is irreversibly linked with self control. Those who know me will know that on occasions, this much-valued fruit of the spirit is lacking due to my hot temper. There are times like my two colleagues I wished that I had never said or acted in a way that brings Gods name into disrepute and there are others times when through shear grace from above I have managed and decided not to react to a certain situation. My friends unless we are respectable, unless our behaviour is impeccable, unless we become good citizens how can we be a witness to the world and an example to the flock of Christ?
The example we must follow is the example of Jesus. A savoir who was gentle, a savoir who paid His taxes, a savoir who the world thought was the opposite according to its own hypocritical rules but who demonstrated through his life self limiting freedom which outpoured in wonderful dignity to Himself and those who followed Him.
- Paul now urges the Elder to be given to Hospitality. The Greek word is Philoxenos (filoxenov) or quite literally ‘A lover of strangers’.
The word is used in the New Testament suggesting three things how the Christian Elder must apply himself.
- 1Tim 3:2 says he must be Given to hospitality
- 2)Titus 1:8 says he must be a Lover of hospitality.
- 1Peter 4:9 says he must Use hospitality one to another.
As we see by these three verses Hospitality is to be spread across the board, not only is it to be shown to strangers but we are also able to use it amongst the brethren. It is also something Paul commands us to Practice.
The most wonderful story I have heard concerning the subject took place in communist Rumania several years ago. A group of missionaries were taking much needed Bibles secretly into the country and were given a contact name of a trusted believer. When they made contact they were surprised to see a very elderly woman, impoverished and living in the most desperate of circumstances. Yet this lady desired to show her brothers from the rich west Christian hospitality. It turns out her one prize possession was a jar of fruit preserve. And much to the discomfort and protests of her guests she began to spoon all she had onto plates before them. All she had she gave freely, what an example for us to follow.
But also what an opportunity for the elder to get to know the flock of Christ. In first century Judea, they valued hospitality, they valued a shared meal, it was a place where relationships were built and trust forged. The table was a place of privilege. Look at the customs of the time; the washing of feet, a greeting with a kiss and a place of honour at the table. They were all meant to honour the guest, to show goodwill and to bless in the effort to forge good relations. It is something which the west has slowly lost. Generally gone are the days when the family meets at dinnertime. People eat out more when they want to entertain, yet if the elder sought to show hospitality to the flock barriers would fall and distances closed between people. So let us give a simple recommendation; let the elders divide the congregation between them and starting with those you know least well, begin to invite your people systematically home for Sunday lunch after church. If possible begin even with those who you feel need the hospitality most. I tell you this could revolutionise the church and I speak as one who has recently gone months as a church visitor without so much as a coffee invitation by the church elders.
- Next Paul says the Elder must be ‘able to Teach’. In this instance the Greek for teach is Didaktikos (didaktikov) and it infers one who is skilled at giving instruction.
Being able to teach requires two things;
First of all the correct knowledge
Secondly, the communication skills to impact people.
What use is all the knowledge in the world if you cannot share it and even though you may be an able communicator what good is that if you do not have the correct knowledge?
Among church elders this is indeed a great battle as we have often observed elders brought into leadership for other reasons. He may be a kind good hearted Pastor who has a great shepherds heart. But is he able to feed the flock? He may be great at accounts and a whiz at the church budget. But can he feed the flock? He may be able to type 1000 words a minute on the churches super duper new computer and produce endless management reports. But can he feed the flock? All these things are good wholesome gifts and of great benefit to Christ’s body but unless they are coupled with the gift to feed the flock of Christ they preclude a man from Eldership. Notice I did not say leadership, just the office of Elder, the office of Deacon is still a noble part of the body.
There has been a mix up over the years but really the office of elder has been so used and abused that we really must find our way back to a biblical stance.
First of all leadership is Male as God ordained it in the garden,
Secondly not a novice
Thirdly bound by the requirements of 1Timothy Three.
We see the results within the body of Christ today when unbiblical leadership is manifested by popular demand. We see the heresies of many who hold not to biblical doctrine and openly teach error.
Other areas for consideration are:
- ‘Not given to wine’ paroynos in the Greek
- ‘No striker’ Plaketace in the Greek
- ‘Not greedy of filthy lucre’ Aheeskhrokerdace in the Greek
- ‘But patient’ Epeeikace in the Greek
- ‘Not a brawler’ Amakhos in the Greek
- ‘Not covetous’ Afilargooros in the Greek
- v4-5 ‘one that ruleth his own house well having his children in subjection with all gravity. (For if a man know not how to rule his own house how shall he take care of the church of God)
- ‘Not a Novice’ neophutos in the Greek
- ‘Must have a good report of them that are without’
THE LEADERS LIFE AND CHARACTER
Robert Murray McCheyne, a minister from Dundee in Scotland said on the subject:
“Firstly my peoples greatest need is my personal holiness, second, how awful a weapon in the hand of God is a Holy minister”
God’s people require examples if they are to be effectively shepherded and taught. It is the role of the Shepherd and Teacher to provide examples of character and Godliness and following Godly examples is part of God’s provision to help people obey the gospel message. 2Thess 3:6-7 says:
“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep aloof from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. For you yourselves know how you aught to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you,” NASB (emphasis added)
The key example though has to be our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus in fact used this way of discipleship among His followers. Jesus was a Rabbi, as was Paul and they both used Rabbinic methods of training. That is why the twelve spent three years living with Jesus so that not only could they acquire knowledge but so also they could follow His life’s example.
John 13:12-17 is a perfect example of how Jesus taught Kingdom principles by setting the example. READ.
The duty of all Christians is to be an example to one another. Hebrews 10:24 says:
“Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds” NASB
But in what sphere is the leader to be a leader? I believe that our look at 1Tim chapter three tells us that examples must be set in every sphere of life.
1Timothy 4:12 also gives us strong indications as to our example setting and the character within. (READ)
In speech, in life style, in love, in faith, in purity, all these things must flow because we ourselves are following the example of Christ Jesus and allowing His life to flow into ours and so letting our lives flow into others.
Paul gives us one other strong example in 1Thess 2:8
“Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the Gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us” NASB
Paul was at the point where he was pouring or giving his own self into the lives of others. Again we see that the leader must not be aloof or separate. Aloofness among ministers is an unbiblical principle which ensures discipleship only takes place on a superficial level.
There is an area of our lives which is even more important that being a Teacher or Pastor, it is simply being a child of God. Prayer is the principle expression of our relationship to God and this subject requires our priority, yet its priority (If were honest) is never full realised in our lives.
Our prayer lives are so important that the devil himself will attempt to undermine it. There is almost a guarantee that if one is on the way to prayer, something or someone will attempt to derail you. Even with things we understand as ‘good’. For example in Acts chapter three, Peter and John were on the way to prayer when they ministered to the crippled beggar.
How many times have you desired to have that private time with God and found the phone wring? An unexpected visitor? A family crisis?
Yet effective prayer in leadership arises from the habit of private prayer for the sake of fellowship with God alone.
Since prayer is a major area that we want our people to win the spiritual battle, we ourselves must also win it if we are to encourage and help them with any conviction.
It was observed by Charles Simeon a renowned preacher that “It is more easy for a minister to preach and study for five hours than to pray for his people for one half hour”
As usual it is the chief Shepherd, Jesus, who sets the example for us to follow. Let us then look briefly at the prayerfulness of Jesus.
He was a man noted for prayer. Hebrews 5:7 says
“Who in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear” ASB
He would retreat into the night, sometimes all night and pray. Luke 6:12 says:
“And it came to pass in these days, that he went out into the mountain to
pray; and he continued all night in prayer to God.” ASB
He rose very early to pray. Mark 1:35 says
“And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose up and went out, and departed into a desert place, and there prayed.” ASB
He prayed before He was baptized. Luke 3:21-22 says:
“Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that, Jesus also
having been baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the
Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form, as a dove, upon him, and a voice
came out of heaven, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” ASB
He prayed before He ate. Matthew 14:19 says:
“And he commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass; and
he took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he
blessed, and brake and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples to
the multitudes.” ASB
He prayed when He was busy, in fact He withdrew from His business. Luke 5:15-16 says:
“But so much the more went abroad the report concerning him: and great
multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed of their infirmities. But he withdrew himself in the deserts, and prayed.” ASB
Jesus prayed on all occasions, in all ways and for all situations. It was His top priority and if the Son of God had to draw strength, find direction and worship the father through prayer, how much more must we need those times of quiet communication and reflection. This prayer spills from our personal life (Which we will look at next) into the public domain of our leadership life.
Listed are some of the areas which call for faithful prayer.
- Intercessory prayer as part of our Pastoral care. If you want to grow and develop in the area of intercession I suggest you listen to an audio cassette by Jacob Prasch called ‘The Jewish understanding of Intercession’.
- Prayer in preparation for preaching and teaching. We can study and we can plan and we can even have great and lofty thoughts, but, unless all our preparation is done under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, all we will achieve is the path of man.
- Prayer when visiting and counselling. We pray that God will point us to the right scriptures, that He will give us the gift of knowledge. That He will give us the gentleness and sensitivity of the Holy Spirit. Pray just before your appointment and don’t just place the prayers in with your morning devotions. We are dealing with people who are precious to God and they deserve our time and prayer.
- Emergency Prayers. Sometimes called ‘arrows to heaven’. During your ministry you will no doubt met many unexpected emergencies. If crisis comes don’t rush into making snap decisions, but take a reflective moment to wait upon God and hear the gentle voice of the Spirit. It may fly in the face of our character and even instincts, but when emergencies come you will reap the benefit of first having consulted with the Lord.
- Public prayer is important. Setting the example is again paramount. People are encouraged by our prayers, our children learn to pray from our example and unity of purpose and Spirit is achieved when we come into agreement. Reality in our public prayers is also important. We use the language of the people, our own language, to communicate with God, not only does this make sure the believers understand our prayers, but it shows sincerity when a man prays as he talks and doesn’t all of a sudden begin to speak using King James English.
- We too need the prayers of others. How many of your friends or brethren are lifting you up to the Father in intercessory prayer? Some tips if you are in leadership, make sure you have a list of mature brothers and sisters whom you trust, who will faithfully uplift you to the Lord. It will be the backbone of your ministry. Communicate with them your needs, fears and also your joys and successes.
1] Stott J, The contemporary Christian (IVP) p52-56
 Matt 19:19
 Proverbs 22:6
 Romans 12:19
 Proverbs 15:5
 Proverbs 19:18
 Revelation 3:19
 John 4:24
 Young’s analytical concordance p1005
 John 14:6
 1Peter 1:20
 2Corinthians 11:14
 ZODHIATES, Lexical aids to the New Testament
 Matthew 11:29
 Matthew 17:24-25
 Luke 15:2
 Luke 7:11-17
 Young’s Analytical concordance
 Romans 12:13
 John 13:5
 Luke 7:45
 Luke 14:7-12
 Vines complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words page 619
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked, Nor
standeth in the way of sinners, Nor sitteth in the seat of scoffers: But his
delight is in the law of Jehovah; And on his law doth he meditate day and
night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water, That
bringeth forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also doth not wither; And
whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The wicked are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind driveth
away. Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners
in the congregation of the righteous. For Jehovah knoweth the way of the
righteous; But the way of the wicked shall perish.
This section deals with our secret and personal life, the hidden life where our roots are firmly fixed in God. One of the hazards of ministry is that we become so caught up in the legitimate needs of others that our own ‘inner man’ becomes tired and weak in fact, neglected.
We all know that to be in such a situation is counter productive, because we know that to help others we need to be spiritually healthy ourselves.
We have to come to a recognition that more important than our ministry, our church, our service and the needs of others is our own personal relationship with God and it is this fellowship with Him that has to be nurtured.
Maybe the word ‘Devotional’ life is the wrong choice. Maybe we need to call it ‘Our Love for God’. Love for God has to be our top priority, but love for the Son is the supreme object of the Fathers love and we are never more in harmony with the Father than when we delight in His Son and love Him.
In concentrating upon this inner life we have three areas of our most secret and personal life in view.
- First, our own personal walk with God. Enoch walked with God in such intimacy that he was eventually translated without passing through death. (Gen 5:24) Walking with someone means that we keep in step with that person. Our walk with God is there so we can keep in step with His plans and purposes for us. When we don’t walk with God, we are literally out of step with Him and we begin to lack harmony with Him.
- Second, we have in focus the sustaining of our Spiritual life. Our eternal souls which have been redeemed by Jesus, cry out for Spiritual nurture by prayer and Bible reading. Our inner man craves sustenance and our union with Christ Jesus is our most valuable possession. John 15: gives us a picture of Christ the true vine. Unless we draw sustenance from Him we shall never bare fruit, wither and die.
- Third, we have in focus the development of our Christian character. As leaders we have in view the development of others into the image of our saviour Jesus Christ. In so doing we must have in view for ourselves the same objective. Christian character begins to grow when as Peter says in 2Peter 1:5-7: “Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in your virtue knowledge; and in your knowledge self-control; and in your self-control patience; and in your patience godliness; and in your godliness brotherly kindness; and in your brotherly kindness love” ASB
Taking care of our inner self in this way is a big part to avoiding professionalism in the ministry. When we are empty inside it becomes a huge temptation to latch onto methods rather than listening to the fresh voice of God.
Some also begin to view the ministry as just a job. A job with responsibilities to others and so when we do read scripture it becomes ‘work’ and we tend to look for scriptures for others rather than firstly seeking truths for ourselves.
There are four areas which form our inner life.
- One, is Worship. It is the reason why we were created in the first place
- Two, Prayer and Meditation. Remember the opening Psalm to this session, Psalm one? “On His law he doth meditate day and night:” Biblical meditation or filling your mind with the things of God (As opposed to emptying ones mind as in Eastern Religious Meditation) is something we must do each day. Filling your mind with the word which tells us of His Holiness, loveliness, sacrifice and beauty.
- Three, Bible reading. Psalm 1 also links meditation with obedience to Gods Word. Again we must avoid the professionalism of reading well known passages with preconceived ideas. It is possible to read John 3:16 with a freshness of mind as long as we allow the holy Spirit lead us into all truth.
- Four, Reading Christian books and journals. Christian classics which inspire us to deeper devotion, never replace the Word of God, but they are a valuable part of our growth never the less. There are classics, which can deepen our walk, such as Bunyon’s Pilgrims Progress. Thomas a Kempis The imitation of Christ, AW Tozer The knowledge of the Holy are just a few. Only good can come through stocking our library shelves with tried and tested classics. Try and avoid some of the word of faith and Kingdom now writers. They will not only handle scripture with error, their ideas will lead you into personal error. In short fill your reading with good and godly things and it will reap dividends in your walk.
To be able to study the things of God is a tremendous privilege in our day and age and specifically if we are a western world context. Freedom to study has never been part of the general context of the universal church throughout time. Our privilege has literally been bought for us at a great price, look at the Fox’s book of Martyr’s, we see that through persecution, first from the Jews and Pagans, then by the Roman church and now a combination of Rome and Islam world wide and even Hinduism in India, the general condition of the church has been persecution.
It amazes me that in our society we take for granted and even ignore the very thing which most Christians today would die to achieve – study.
If you are to have an affective ministry, study must have its rightful place. Behind every sermon or bible group must come hours of devoted study. This does not mean that we do not rely on the Spirits leading, we do. The fact is the Holy Spirit will anoint and bless your study. CH Spurgeon, one of the greatest preachers of all time was such a man. He commented on this while addressing a group of fellow Pastors:
“Some of our people think we have little or nothing to do but stand in the pulpit and pour out a flood of words two or three times a week; but they ought to know that if we did not spend much time in diligent study, they would get poverty stricken sermons. I have heard of a brother who trusts in the Lord and does not study; but I have also heard that his people do not trust in him; in fact, I am informed that they wish him to go elsewhere with his inspired discourses, for they say that, when he did study, his talk was poor enough, but now that he gives them that which comes first to his lips, it is altogether unbearable. If any man preach as he should preach, his work will take more out of him than any labour under heaven”
There are dangers in study and one would be foolish not to be aware of them. For one thing, study can become an end to itself. John Owen the Puritan Theologian was ashamed in later life that the main aim of his studies as a younger man was to climb to a position of authority in the church. Some say it leads them to Spiritual pride.
The balance has to come from the Word of God. As Paul instructed Timothy in 2Tim 2:15, we should be workmen approved, handling the Word of God correctly and this involves disciplined diligent study. But as Paul suggests in 1Cor 13, the chapter of Love; unless it comes from a heart of love, unless the motive is right, it will lead to Phariseeism.
With study, there is no substitute for discipline. To ensure that we spend the correct amount of time in the word I suggest the following:
- Determine for yourself the best place to study. Make sure (If Possible) the children are not around. That you are in a place where only real emergencies (Life and Death) can come to you. This is where a good wife or office person can come in handy, even an answer machine.
- Plan your week and let your staff know that at certain times you will be studying Gods word. If you are in a multiple staff situation compare diaries and allow one another this important aspect of the ministry. Don’t get so busy that study is rushed. If you find yourself planning a busy diary you are planning to fail at study.
- Make sure that your library contains all the essentials for good exegesis. Different Bible versions, Hebrew & Greek Lexicons, Concordances, Commentaries, Dictionaries, Encyclopaedias, word studies, Systematic Theologies are all necessary.
The following instructions from Paul to Timothy in 1Tim 4”13-15 are to be taken to heart.
“Till I come, give heed to reading, to exhortation, to teaching. Neglect not the
gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on
of the hands of the presbytery. Be diligent in these things; give thyself
wholly to them; that thy progress may be manifest unto all. Take heed
to thyself, and to thy teaching. Continue in these things; for in doing this
thou shalt save both thyself and them that hear thee.” ASB
FAMILY AND LEISURE
Family and leisure go naturally together. If these priorities are neglected in the life of the leader, then disaster will follow quickly.
As leaders we must give our families the care and attention that we expect other members of the congregation to give to their family.
The New Testament clearly links the spiritual qualifications of the church leader with the home. If he cannot have spiritual usefulness within the home base how can he show effectiveness within the body of Christ?
The home is our most important place of witness because it is here where we demonstrate how genuinely we do what we tell others to do. In short if we neglect this area we will undermine all our Pastoral and Teaching ministry.
The family of a leader are the object of special attack from the enemy of our souls. If he can decimate our home life he can ruin our usefulness within the Kingdom.
Here are some pressure points to be aware of.
- Home is often our work base. Into our home come all the stresses and anxieties of our church members. It is here we study and so we can experience conflict from domestic pressures.
- Because work is at home you cannot get away from work. Work can also be an easy excuse to get away from family pressures.
- The effect on our children if they see you dealing with lots of negative issues. There is a danger they will equate church with these issues and we must be aware of protecting our children from these problem areas.
- Our children will come under closer scrutiny than other children. They will feel the pressure from pointing fingers and abusive tongues if they step out of line for even the most trivial issue. This has destroyed the faith of many a young person. It must also be noted that most leaders are super sensitive when it comes to their children.
- We can fail our families by allowing the sheer physical pressure of our duties and unusual working hours swamp us. Derek Prime says “The question needs to be asked ‘when does my family need me the most? How can I structure my day so I can fulfil my pastoral duties and give time to my family?’”
There are special pressures that can come to a leaders Spouse. Our wives are at the forefront of our ministries and yet can seem to be in the background.
In secular work, some wives have no idea as to what their husbands work involves. But in Christian ministry the two cannot be separated. They often see the following in the ministry.
- Hurtful things said about their husband or children.
- They will be expected to provide sudden hospitality.
- Privacy incurred upon by thoughtless visitors
- To provide hospitality to visiting speakers.
- If we are away, they take the burden of running the home
- They become unpaid secretaries
- The ladies of the church may have preconceived ideas of what a leaders wife should be.
- Maybe ladies meetings or other work associated traditionally with the leaders wife are thrust upon her. She becomes a round peg in a square hole.
- Loneliness may be an issue if the leader itinerates a lot.
- Jealousy is another issue
- The burden of confidentiality another.
- Isolation from relationships. Often as a leaders wife other women treat her differently than any other lady and true fellowship struggles.
Some pointers for family life.
- Safeguard the marriage. Keep your time together and hold it jealously. Pray together, relax together. Make sure your day off during the week is not all work, make time for fun.
- The same advice holds true for the rest of the family. They must feel that our Sabbath is what it is.
- Don’t spend more than 4 evenings away from home if possible. If you plan this into your diary then the odd exception to the rule won’t matter.
- Don’t get into the frame of mind that when people see you during the day shopping or out having a milk shake, they think your slacking. Don’t forget your duties are flexible and when others are in bed or spending time with their family, you are probably ministering.
Relaxation and leisure play a vital role in family life and I would like to make the following suggestions.
- With privacy at a premium, try and get out of the house for a couple of hors a day, maybe go for a walk. You will be surprised how a bit of exercise and fresh air can recharge the batteries.
- Take up a physical hobby or at least one that gets you and your family out and about. DR FW Boreham found his families relaxation at the local cricket club for three reasons. 1) they loved the game. 2) They found it as relaxing as a holiday. 3) They made good friendships outside their church circle.
- Take an annual holiday of at least three weeks. Try and disappear from your locality if possible. It takes me at least one week to wind down from the pressures leaving me two weeks to recharge and relax. Your congregation will not regret it.
-  Spurgeon CH, An All Round Ministry (Banner of Truth ) p133
PERILS AND PRIVILIDGES OF MINISTRY
The ministry is beset by both perils and privileges, It has its own unique difficulties and compensations. One needs to be balanced against the other, but sometimes in the midst of crisis one can lose sight of the blessings, which can occur. It is the object of this session to look at both in a balanced way.
- A variety of Duties. This can be both a blessing and a curse. The ministry has many challenges and of course the best time comes when having poured out your life into others you see the resulting spiritual growth from infancy into maturity. You may have to perform weddings, funerals, baptisms, dedications, you will visit the sick, the lonely and find yourself chairing meetings, committees and a whole host of different things. But with people come problems. You will find that people can also discourage as well as encourage and sometimes the breaking of bad news and the administering of discipline can be joyless.
- Complex moral and social problems. We are living in a quickly changing world. Moral values have dipped drastically in recent years and all to often this creeps into the church. But remember, that no matter what the moral or social standards are, it is our duty to preach the full council of God and not compromise His Word and His calling on our lives.
- Misconceptions about a leaders calling. The pendulum swings both ways in the opinion of some church members. Some will believe that all you do is preach on a Sunday and that’s it, others will expect you to do everything in the church from janitor to evangelist. Some do not recognise that the body is made up of different gifts and that there is a sharp distinction with some gift’s and often a leader can find themselves ill fitted for a task because they are operating outside the Grace God has provided. The only way misconceptions can be dealt with is with the constant exposure to scripture. Charles Simeon while preaching on 1Corinthians 4:1 remarked. “The ministers of Christ are generally unduly exalted or undeservingly depreciated by those around them; but they should discharge their duties with fidelity, without any regard to the opinions of men, and approve themselves to Him who will judge them righteously in the last day”.
- Opposition and the Spiritual battle. The Devil is like a prowling Lion, seeking whom he may devour. This is true and that is why it hurts especially when opposition comes through God’s people at times. We can certainly engage opposition when we refuse to take sides or maybe stand against some ancient church tradition. But we must remember, Jesus has gone before us. It is He who was maligned, ridiculed and finally persecuted to death. He leaves through these circumstances with the assurance of His presence, He will never leave us or forsake us. Remember our faith is like a battle and Paul uses the term “Fight the good fight”.
- Trials. We never have to look for them, they are a necessary part of the ministry and come looking for us. Trials can be divided into three groups.
- 1. General trials, such things as accidents, suffering, danger, sadness. Martin Luther said “Trials and temptations are a ministers best teachers”. Certainly we are not exempt from them, in fact God can use these trials to help us help others.
- 2. These are inflicted by other people. To high expectations, ungodly demands, misunderstandings, misrepresentations and the unceasing demands of people needing care and attention.
- 3. The self inflicted trials, maybe from our constant availability or our refusal to work set hours. Loneliness through refusing special friendships, the burden of confidentiality.
The trials of the ministry require two virtues, Patience and Self control. As well as facing hardships like soldiers, we need to be patient like farmers and self controlled like athletes. (2Tim 2:5-6)
- Laziness. Just think about it; we work often on our own, we set our own schedules, what we often do is unseen by many. We determine when we start and also when we stop. If we are not careful we can fall into a trap and laziness, slackness and failure to discipline ourselves in the use of our time, lead to our being unbusinesslike and unreliable.
- Discouragement. This has to be the most subtle of all perils a minister encounters. One minute the people listen, the next they slide off into oblivion. You have the joy of seeing progress and the following week the same people backslide. Many a Pastor has succumbed to Monday Morning sickness, when after a weekend of discouragement he hands in his resignation. That is why in a moment of discouragement or depression it is good to break for a while and recommission yourself to the work God has given you. One tip is to always have some things at hand which speak of those who value the most. For example an encouraging letter from a church member. A photo of your family. A gift someone gave on your desk, all reap benefits at moments like these.
- Vulnerability to Criticism. A survey of 300 united Methodist Pastors in the USA found that while they all enjoyed their work a majority were also afflicted with self doubt and loneliness. When the team plays well everyone congratulates the team, when it plays badly they mouth off the manager. People will express their opinions whether they are correct or not and a few critical individuals can blind us from the support of the rest of the team. When criticisms are voiced consistently, we feel as though we have failed. If criticism is just then thank God for the rebuke, but if it is unjust, then we need to commit our cause to the Father who judges all things correctly (1Peter 2:21-23)
- Over involvement with other peoples troubles, stress and burnout. A degree of stress is good for us, but burnout can occur when we take on board daily the stresses of others without seeking refreshment and council for ourselves. These things occur when we fail to discipline ourselves and take our time off and annual leave. Here are some tips on how to avoid burnout.
- 1. Remember to take your time off
- 2. Talk regularly with a friend in the ministry that you trust.
- 3. Go to one conference per year to meet other ministers and be fed.
- Pride. The downfall of a successful ministry is why a leader begins to think it is all his doing instead of HIS doing. Take a tip from Paul, when he set the highest standards, he constantly called himself a sinner, in fact the worst of sinners. (1Tim 1:15)
- Hurting the Church. While ministers have the potential for good they have equal potential for great evil. John Brown prayed that “I may not tear God’s church, mangle His truths, betray His honour or murder the souls of men. Richard Baxter gave eight reasons why a man should examine himself.
- 1. You have heaven to win or lose yourselves, a holy calling will not save an unholy man.
- 2. You have sinful inclinations as well as others.
- 3. Ministers have greater temptations than most men.
- 4. The tempter will make his first and sharpest onset upon you.
- 5. Many eyes are upon you and therefore many who observe your falls.
- 6. The honour of your master and of His Holy truth, doth lie more on you than other men.
- 7. Your sins are more aggravated than other men, they have more of a hypocrisy in them.
- 8. The souls of your hearer’s and the success of your labours, do very much depend on your self examination.
Such then is the inward ministry of the leader, fraught with perils and blessings, it is like no other. In our next session we will look at the outward ministry of the leader.
Stott J, The contemporary Christian (IVP1995)
Young, Young’s analytical concordance (Hendrikson)
ZODHIATES, Lexical aids to the New Testament (AMG Publishers 1991)
Vine, Vines complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words (Nelson)
Spurgeon CH, An All Round Ministry (Banner of Truth )
Prime D, Pastors and Teachers (Highland Books 1989)
Torrey RA, What the Bible Teaches (Whitaker House 1996)
Sugden & Wiersbe, Confident Pastoral Leadership