Summary: A message regarding how the pastor & the flock make up the church, and how the church helps us as Christians. Text, communion meditation, and audio will be at www.sermonlist.com
The story is told of how they used to make the masts for the old sailing ships of the past. They would go into a forest and select a tree that was tall and straight. Then, they would cut all the surrounding trees down, leaving that large tree standing by itself to endure the winds of time for several years.
How many of you know that when the wind blows a tree, that tree bends, and it is when it bends that it grows the strength to keep it upright in the future.
Well, when that tree had withstood the winds and storms for several years, they would then cut it down, since it was now strong enough to withstand the storms of the sea, too. But it is funny how it would never have gained that strength had it been left among all the other trees. It had to be separated from the others so it could actually grow stronger so it could be used properly.
Christians are the same way. If we remain in the same mindset as those around us, we could never mature enough to be strong in the Lord Jesus, or faithful enough to do His work. It is only when we have been set apart, can we then learn the things of God so we can be changed from the inside out – to make us stronger and more resilient to the storms around us.
And churches are much the same, too. There are many churches in our communities, and not all of them are preaching the sacred, holy, and true word of God. Many churches have ended up focusing on how to keep people in the church rather than how to change the hearts of those in the church.
A preacher friend of mine in Arizona told me once that his church had grown so large they had to build new buildings to handle it all. He was very proud of the fact that his church was so successful. But in so doing, he ended having to soften his message a bit so as not to drive people away. It seems they wanted to hear the words that made them feel good about themselves.
I lost a friendship because I told him that his church really wasn’t successful. I told him he might have a very successful social club, but as for a church that teaches and preaches Jesus Christ, it was a dismal failure if he had to soften the word of God, or not talk about some of the word of God.
And so, today, I want to talk to you about the church. Now, a few years ago, I preached a message about what it takes to build a church. Today, I would like to take that one step further and explain what we are supposed to with them once they are built.
Let’s start by talking about -
1. THE PASTOR
Every church needs a spiritual leader. He should be a man of integrity and one that is accessible to every member of the church, especially during times of hardship or illness.
The church must be very, very careful whom it chooses to have as their pastor. The right pastor can take the church very close to the Lord, but the wrong pastor can take it further away from Jesus than anyone ever expected to be.
Let me give you an example of a what I am talking about.
A church needed a pastor because the pastor they had for many years retired. While discussing what they wanted and needed, it seemed everyone had a different opinion, and nobody could agree with anyone else.
Knowing this confusion could destroy the church, an elder wrote a letter that would look like it was from a man who was applying for the job. It read:
I would like to apply to fill your vacant pastor position. I am qualified to preach the Good News with anointed power and would like the chance to preach in your church. Let me give you a little of my background.
I have been a very outspoken leader everywhere I have gone, and some even say I am a very good organizer and church planter.
I am over 50, and I have never preached more than three years in one place because I have always been called to go elsewhere. There have been times when after just a few months; they have demanded that I leave. In some places, I have caused great dissension and have even been beaten on occasion for what I preached. Also, I will have to be honest and tell you I have been thrown in jail on more than one occasion, but it was not my fault or because I did anything wrong.