Summary: Pastor are not perfect, yet they are often expected to walk a thin line between love and conviction, heart and mind, between right and wrong. This places pastor firmly between the title of today’s message. Pastoring is then either a plight or a passion.
UNDERSTANDING THE PASSION AND PLIGHT OF PASTORS
INTRODUCTION: Pastoral ministry is often a precarious ministry. Many times pastors walk into or are called to situations, which are delicate and or sensitive in nature. Often, pastor are misconstrued, misquoted, and roasted. Pastor are not perfect, yet they are often expected to walk a thin line between love and conviction, heart and mind, between right and wrong. This places pastor firmly between the title of today’s message. Pastoring is then either a plight or a passion. For me, pasturing is a passion. I can imagine myself doing nothing else. I can also say that I am always in a learning mode. I have not gotten to the point, nor do I think I will ever get to the point of not needing to learn. Just as the world is evolving, ministry too is evolving. Different issue come to the forefront, never usurping the ultimate ministry need – the gospel. Families face different crisis. Individuals are under pressure like never before. Violence seems to have skyrocketed. The influence of anti-Christian organizations and pseudo-Christian cults is mounting. Through all of this, a pastor must navigate, balancing the communication of truth in love, with feelings and emotions of those he ministers to.
Paul faced this with the Corinthian Church, and as such, Paul gave the church some thoughts regarding pastors and their ministries.
In reality, this could be a “reverse church” message. I could be sitting down there, and all of you could be standing up here. I need to hear what is recorded for us in the text. Yet, perhaps it is at this time in God’s plan that we all together receive his instruction concerning pastors.
I REAL PASTORS ARE FATHERS NOT INSTRUCTORS – 1 Corinthians 4:14-15
A Pastoral relationship are to be close relationships
1 Close relationships are built with time
a Cannot hope to become close to someone quickly
b Cannot hope to become close to someone without investing time in them
2 Close relationships are built with trust
a Every relationship we have is based on trust – it is just the degree of trust involved
b The greater the trust, the greater the relationship
3 Close relationships are built with crisis
a Crisis pulls people together
b Just look at the New Testament – how many times did crisis bring people together to pray?
1) Upper room – Pentecost
2) The imprisonment of Peter
4 Close relationships are built with mutual points of contact
a Many times there is a common thread that draws people together.
B Pastor relationships are to be respectful relationships
1 Notice, Paul says he is writing to warn not to shame
2 No genuine pastor would not hesitate to warn those in his care of danger
a At the same time, no “child” under his care would fail to heed the warning
3 The goal of the warning is seen in the difference of the words.
a When we are shamed, we will change the actions alone
b When we are warned, we will change the heart behind the action as well
1) The word warn means to admonish
a) To put in mind
b) Caution gently
Acts 20:31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped WARNING each of you night and day with tears.
c) Urgency and need to share the truth
IT IS ONLY THROUGH HEART CHANGE CAN REAL CHANGE OCCUR IN THE LIFE OF A BELIEVER AND IN THE LIFE OF A CHURCH
In our hearts we must believe in our responsibility to the church – WE must look at our responsibility individually, not corporately.
One of the first things I learned when I was taking CPR class was to point to someone and say, “You, call 911”. My CPR instructor told me that often when you simply give a “blanket call” to call 911 – everybody thinks someone else in the group will call – hence nobody calls, the person dies!
ü We miss you when you are gone
ü We miss you when you do not serve
ü We miss you when you do not pray
ü We miss you when you do not witness
II REAL PASTORS ARE CATALYSTS NOT DETERRENTS
A Growth by imitation
1 Not looking for exact imitation – even pastors sin
a Some more than others
b Some in destructive ways
2 Imitate those godly areas of life
a Dedicate your life to Christ
1) Not in full time service, but where you are
b Have a genuine concern for the lost
1) Does it matter to you that people are going to hell?
2) Does it matter to you that you have the answer and are not sharing it?
Perhaps Paul defines imitation best this way -- 1 Cor. 11:1