HOW TO SPOIL YOUR PASTORS

Ten Ways to Treat Shepherds That Safeguards Peace

Spoil them? Really? I never imagined writing such a post. It seems rather self-serving for a pastor like me to post an article like this. But my experience last week changed things.

Along with several other men from our church, I attended this year’s Shepherds’ Conference in LA. I gotta tell ya. Those guys pampered this pastor from start to finish.

They paid my way, made me ride shotgun in the vehicles, waited in line to save a primo seat in sessions for me, got me some coffee and food, sprang for some books, and even bought me a gorgeous all-leather messenger bag! They insisted the economy canvas version I had purchased wouldn’t do.

If all that didn’t blow me away, they then catered to my request to leave the venue early on the last night to livestream the final message back at the hotel. That meant I/we could get to bed at a decent hour for the marathon travel day ahead.

Good grief, I felt loved!

OK, so “spoiled” may be a bit over the top, but I can make a biblical case for contributing significantly to your pastors’ joy.

After all, they are God’s gift to your church (Eph. 4:11-12). You are commanded to follow in a way that serves their leadership happiness (Heb. 13:17). And they exist to work with you for your joy (2 Cor. 1:24).

Here are ten ways you can “spoil” your pastors in the interest of eagerly preserving church unity (Eph. 4:1-3).

One, pray for them (2 Thess. 3:1). If you do anything on this list, do this. A family in Orlando still prays for me DAILY, even though I stopped shepherding them over a year ago!

Two, obey and submit to them (1 Cor. 16:16; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:5). Or to put it as the Greek imperatives suggest, cultivate an easily led disposition.

Three, respect, honor, and esteem them very highly in love (1 Thess. 5:12-13). Their work demands this–see chapter 9 in The Peacemaking Church.

Four, pay them well (Rom. 16:1-2; Gal. 6:6; 1 Tim. 5:17-18). Give toward your vocational elders’ adequate financial support. No ox-muzzling please!

Five, protect them from false accusations (1 Tim. 5:19). When someone takes aim, refuse to entertain charges without sufficient witnesses.

Six, when necessary, practice biblical peacemaking with them (1 Tim. 5:20). Tough love–that’s what that is.

Seven, refresh and encourage them (1 Cor. 16:18; 2 Tim. 1:16-17). Think of the myriad of ways to do this from writing a note of appreciation (aim for ten affirmations per one constructive criticism) to treating them to a meal and more.

Eight, imitate their godly example (1 Cor. 11:1; Heb. 13:7). What shepherd doesn’t do cartwheels of joy when that happens?

Nine, partner with them in the ministry (Phil. 4:2-3). Don’t sit on the bench! Get in the game by using your spiritual gift (1 Pet. 4:10-11).

Ten, look out for their interests (Phil. 2:3-4). They are attending to yours. Return the gospel favor.

If God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7)–and surely he does–then God loves a cheerful pastor too.

You can make a difference in your pastors’ joy and not just during Pastoral Appreciation Month every October.

Spoil on, sheep!

Question: What’s an idea you have for “spoiling” pastors?

The Grace of Clothing with Humility

Today’s message from 1 Peter 4:19-5:7 is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here.

John Calvin said this of the proverbial expression, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble:

We are to imagine that; God has two hands; the one, which like a hammer beats down and breaks in pieces those who raise up themselves; and the other, which raises up the humble who willingly let down themselves, and is like a firm prop to sustain them. Were we really convinced of this, and had it deeply fixed in our minds, who of us would dare by pride to urge war with God? But the hope of impunity now makes us fearlessly to raise up our horn to heaven. Let, then, this declaration of Peter be as a celestial thunderbolt to make men humble.

May God strike us with humility’s celestial thunderbolt! Then we will have sheep who submit to their shepherds. Then we will have people given wholeheartedly to lowly-mindedness toward one another.

What could be lovelier before our eyes and more glorifying to our God than a report like: Oh yes, I know OGC, a more lowly-minded, humble community you will rarely find!?

What We Need from OGC

On Sunday I shared what I believe OGC needs from Nancy and me and the rest of our officers and their spouses. For the next two years, arguably among the most strenuous in our history, the church needs us to stay the course. OGC needs us to persevere through the hard work, the late hours, the difficult conversations, the tough decisions. The buck stops here in terms of leadership responsibility and we can’t afford to weenie out just because things get hard.

But now let me turn the tables and suggest a few things we need from our covenant members. First, and foremost, we need your prayers. Pray for our staying power over the long haul. Lord willing, we will get through this season of building a facility and all the challenges that come with it. A new normal will arrive in due season. Pray we hold on and excel in our duties.

Second, we need your participation. Paul called the Philippians partners in the gospel (Phil. 1:5). That’s what we are. We need to partner together in service. It’s every hand on deck. Find a need and fill it. Sacrifice when you must. Let’s pull the load together. We need to partner together in giving, BOTH to the capital campaign/Each One, Seek One and to the general fund budget. On the latter we have been slipping of late. Chuck Mitchell will bring a report this Sunday during the offertory.

Lastly, we need your perseverance and patience. I’ve said all along that we and we alone in the history of this church get to do this stewardship of building a facility. It’s an enormous privilege that will bring multiple rewards. But the endeavor is not for the faint of heart or weak in knee. So join Nancy and me when necessary in having that little talk over the kitchen table when things get dicey: What OGC needs from us right now is to keep the oars in the water and keep on rowing.