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In last week’s article, we began to wrestle with the question “how do you carry the weighty and sober responsibility of being a pastor without losing your sense of adventure and joy?”  In other words, how do you not let the burden of ministry rob you of the joy of ministry?

1 Peter 5 gives us some insightful advice that can help us answer those questions.

Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.  1 Peter 5:2-3 (NLT)

In the last article we talked about our call to

·      Lead Pastorally:  care for the flock (v.2)

·      Lead Responsibly:  that God has entrusted to you (v.2)

Today we want to look at three other challenges that Peter gives those of us who lead in the church.

Lead Gladly:  Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly (v.2)

It is a sacred privilege to look after our congregations.  But when we are dealing with problems or “running on empty” or counseling that needy church member, pastoring can begin to feel like a “have to” rather than a “get to."

It reminds me of the rebuke that Malachi gives those who were leading in ministry in his day.

And you say, 'What a burden!' and you sniff at it contemptuously," says the Lord Almighty. Malachi 1:13a (NIV) 

Carrying out the duties and responsibilities of ministry had become a hassle for the priests.  The result was that they began to disdain the very thing that was intended to draw them to the Father.

None of us are exempt from danger of cynicism and turning ministry into nothing more than a job.

In my life and ministry I have found that comparison is the enemy of serving “gladly”.  It is so easy to fall into the comparison trap.  Far too many times I have looked at other pastors and wished for their situation, their location, their congregation, or their gifts.  Comparison always robs us of joy and is never helpful.  It either leads to feelings of pride or inadequacy.

Lead Unselfishly:  not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God (v.2)

To pastor well you must regularly die to self.  You must keep showing up week after week caring more about the sheep than about your income, the house you live in, the size of your congregation, or how well known you are.

A reporter once asked an insightful question when interviewing a woman from the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra: “How does it feel to get a standing ovation from the crowd at the end of your performance and then wake up in the morning to a negative review in the newspaper?” Her response was even more insightful. She said over time she has learned not to pay attention to the applause of the crowd or the disapproval of the critics. She was only after the approval of her conductor. After all, he was the only person who really knew how she was supposed to perform.

Lead Humbly: Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care (v.2)

This is all about servant leadership.  We don’t lead from position, power, or prominence.  What gives us credibility as shepherds is not your vision casting ability, persuasive communication gifts, or your strategic thinking… it is your willingness to pick up the towel and serve the people that God has assigned to your care.

Here is a question to ponder:  How am I doing at humbly serving those that God has entrusted to me?

Lead Authentically: lead them by your own good example (v.3)

These words from Peter remind me of Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 11:1 …follow my example as I follow the example of Christ 

When I was a kid in school we used to have something called “Show and Tell."  The idea was that you were supposed to bring something from home that you could show your class.  Actually being able to see the object was way more interesting and compelling than simply being told about it.  The same is true with the Christian life.  Beyond just preaching (telling) about the Christian life, when we model (show) what it looks like it is far more compelling.  

Which of these 4 statements do you need to work on this week?

·      Lead gladly

·      Lead unselfishly

·      Lead humbly

·      Lead authentically

 

 

 

 

Lance is the founder of Replenish ministries and is often referred to as a Pastor’s Pastor.  He is also the author of the book Replenish, which is dedicated to helping leaders live and lead from a healthy soul.  Before launching Replenish, Lance served 20 years as a senior pastor and 6 years as an Executive/Teaching pastor at Saddleback Church. 

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