Pray for your pastor that he would be on guard against the lies of sin. Pray that he would have a proper fear of God. Guard him from sin. Keep his conscience tender and fresh. Keep him close to you and close to your word. Pastoral ministry can be brutal, discouraging work. Pastors find themselves in the midst of terrible situations on a regular basis — divorce, death, apostasy, and much more. Christians are always in progress. Because of this, discouragement and depression can be a regular companion of the minister.
Pray for your pastor to be encouraged. Father, please encourage my pastor by the power of your Spirit. Let his soul be refreshed with the love of Christ. Let him have faith for the future. Help him to keep pressing forward even when the way is littered with landmines. Let him be refreshed by the fact that your grace is sufficient for him.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. Many elements of pastoral ministry are not black and white. A husband and wife are in serious conflict, and the husband has one story while the wife has another. A church member needs financial support but has a history of mismanaged finances. A young man struggles with same-sex attraction while still wanting to follow Jesus.
The Pastor’s Home as Paradigm for the Church’s Family Ministry — Southern Equip
Father, please give my pastor your wisdom. Help him know the way to go even when the way is not clear. Give him discernment to know good from evil, even when evil is dressed as good. Help him apply your word to even the most confusing situations. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you 2 Timothy 1: Pastors can be tempted to modify or even abandon biblical doctrines for a variety of reasons. Cultural pressures, vocal church members, even legal actions can press hard upon pastors, making them feel that the only way out is to give up the clear teaching of Scripture.
Father, I pray for my pastor that you would help him hold fast to Scripture, even when everyone else tells him to let go.
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Help him stand on your word and only your word. Protect him from the temptation to abandon the precious truths laid out in Scripture. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified 1 Corinthians 9: Yes, our bodies are temples , but they are often broken temples. Long nights at the hospital, high-stress situations, and ever-present discouragement can quickly lead to burnout and body betrayal. Pray for your pastor that he would be sustained in body and mind. Father, please give my pastoral supernatural strength. Protect him from sickness and disease.
Give him your energy to keep serving faithfully. Help him to find periods of rest and recovery. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. Spiritual leaders ruthlessly track down bad habits and break them by the power of the Spirit. They hear and follow Romans 8: One thing is for sure: No one will be a significant spiritual leader if his aim is to please others and seek their approval. Paul said in Galatians 1: Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Carl Lundquist, former president of Bethel College and Seminary, said in his final report to the Baptist General Conference that there was hardly one of the 28 years in which he served the Conference that he was not actively opposed by many people. If criticism disables us, we will never make it as spiritual leaders. We must be able to say with Paul in 2 Corinthians 4: As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4: Leaders must be able to digest depression because they will eat plenty of it.
There will be many days when the temptation is very strong to quit because of unappreciative people. I should, however, qualify this characteristic of being thick-skinned. I do not want to give the impression that spiritual leaders are closed off to legitimate criticism. A good leader must not only be thick-skinned, but also open and humbly ready to accept and apply just criticism. No leader is perfect and Jonathan Edwards said once that he made it a spiritual discipline to look for the truth in every criticism that came his way before he discarded it.
Lazy people cannot be leaders. They work while it is day, because they know that night comes when no man can work John 9: The world is run by tired men, someone has said. A leader must learn to live with pressure. None of us accomplishes very much without deadlines, and deadlines always create a sense of pressure. A leader does not see the pressure of work as a curse but as a glory. He does not desire to fritter away his life in excess leisure.
He loves to be productive. And he copes with the pressure and prevents it from becoming worrisome with promises like Matthew It is not easy to be a leader of people who can outthink you. A leader must be one who, when he sees a set of circumstances, thinks about it.
He sits down with pad and pencil and doodles and writes and creates. He tests all things with his mind and holds fast to what is good 1 Thessalonians 5: He is critical in the best sense of the word; that is, not gullible or faddish or trendy. He weighs things and considers pros and cons and always has a significant rationale for the decisions that he makes. Careful and rigorous thought is not contrary to a reliance on prayer and divine revelation. The apostle Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2: It is hard to lead others if you cannot state your thoughts clearly and forcefully.
Leaders like Paul aim to persuade men, not coerce them 2 Corinthians 5: Leaders who are spiritual do not muster a following with hot air or waves or words, but rather with crisp, solid, compelling sentences. The apostle Paul aimed, like all good leaders, at clarity in what he said. According to Colossians 4: It is astonishing and lamentable how many people today cannot speak in complete sentences. The result is that a great fog surrounds their thought. Neither they nor their listeners know exactly what they are talking about. A haze settles over the discussion and you walk away wondering what it was all about.
It is not surprising to me that some of the great leaders at Bethlehem Baptist Church have been men who are also significant teachers. According to 1 Timothy 3: What is a good teacher? I think a good teacher has at least the following characteristics. Jesus knew the hearts of men John 2: Leaders must know who is fit for what kind of work.
Good leaders have good noses. They can snoop out barnacles in a hurry; that is, people who are forever listening but never learning or changing. They can detect potential when they see it in a beginner. They can hear in a short time the echoes of pride and hypocrisy and worldliness. The spiritual leader steers a careful course between the dangers of rigid pigeonholing on the one hand and indifference on the other hand. Paul said in Colossians 4: Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. We must remember that leaders are aiming to change hearts, not just to get jobs done.
Therefore, alienating people unnecessarily is self-defeating. Tact is especially needed in a leader to help cope with embarrassing or tragic situations. For example, very often when you are leading a group, someone will say something totally irrelevant, which is recognized to be very foolish by everyone in the group. A tactful leader must be able to divert the attention of the group back to the main course of the discussion without heaping scorn upon the individual. Another example, which I recall, comes from my experience at Wheaton College.
I was present at the chapel service where V. Raymond Edman had a heart attack in the pulpit and fell over and died. Hudson Armerding, who followed him as president, was sitting behind him when Dr. Edman paused in his lecture, took one step to the side, and fell over. In one of the most beautiful and sensitive demonstrations of tact that I have ever seen, Dr.
Armerding quickly kneeled beside him as 2, students fell silent. Then he stood, led us in a brief prayer committing Dr. Edman to the Lord, and dismissed the students quietly. Edman died as we walked out. The tact of a leader must demonstrate itself in forthright confrontation. The person who is unwilling to approach a person who needs admonition or rebuke will not be a successful spiritual leader. His choice of words will be astute rather than clumsy. We must work toward a synthesis of all things. We must probe to see how things fit together.
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How do war and sports and pornography and birthday celebrations and literature and space travel and disease and enterprise all hang together? How do they relate to God and his purposes? Leaders must have a theological standpoint that helps give coherence to all things. This will give the leader a stability that keeps him from being knocked off his feet by sudden changes in circumstances or new winds of doctrine. He knows enough about God and his ways that things generally fit into a pattern and make sense, even when they are unpleasant. So, the leader does not throw up his hands, but points the way onward to God.
According to Joel 2: We must not only be discontent with the present, but also dreaming dreams of what could be in the future. In 2 Kings 6: Leaders can see the power of God overshadowing the problems of the future. This is a rare gift: Most people are experts at seeing all the problems and reasons not to move forward in a venture. Many pastors are ruined by boards who think that they have done their duty when they throw up every obstacle and problem to an idea that he brings.
Hope and solutions are expensive. The spirit of venturesomeness is at a premium today. Oh, how we need people who will devote just five minutes a week to dream of what might possibly be. It is tragic when age makes a man jaded instead of increasingly creative. Every new church, every agency, every new ministry, every institution, every endeavor, is the result of someone having a vision and laying hold on it like a snapping turtle.
A leader does not like clutter.
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He likes to know where and when things are for quick access and use. His favorite shape is the straight line, not the circle. He groans in meetings that do not move from premises to conclusions, but rather go in irrelevant circles. When something must be done, he sees a three-step plan for getting it done and lays it out. He sees the links between a board decision and its implementation. He sees ways to use time to the full and shapes his schedule to maximize his usefulness.
He saves himself large blocks of time for his major productive activities. He uses little pieces of time lest they go to waste.
The Marks of a Spiritual Leader
For example, what do you do while you are brushing your teeth? Could you set a magazine on the towel rack and read an article? A leader takes time to plan his days and weeks and months and years. Even though it is God who ultimately directs the steps of the leader, he should plan his path Proverbs A leader is not a jellyfish that gets tossed around by the waves, nor is he an oyster that is immovable.
The leader is the dolphin of the sea and can swim against the stream or with the stream as he plans. In 1 Kings If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him. He will take risks rather than do nothing. Jesus said in Matthew That means that very few people excel in the virtue of perseverance. Very few people keep on and keep on in the same ministry when there is significant difficulty. Vision without perseverance, however, results in fairy tales not fruitful ministry.
My dad once told me that the reason he thinks many pastors fail to see revival in their churches is that they leave just before it is about to happen. The long haul is hard, but it pays. The big tree is felled by many, many little chops. Here I am speaking directly to men who are husbands and leaders. Paul said in Ephesians 5: What does it profit a man if he gains a great following and loses his wife?
What have we led people to if they see that it leads us to divorce? What we need today are leaders who are great lovers: We need leaders who know that they should take a day alone with their wives every now and then; leaders who do not fall into the habit of deriding and putting their wives down, especially with careless little asides in public; leaders who speak well of their wives in public and complement them spontaneously when they are alone; leaders who touch her tenderly at other times besides when they are in bed.
One of the greatest temptations of a busy leader is to begin to treat his wife as a kind of sex object. It is a tragic thing when a wife becomes a mannequin for masturbation. Learn what her delights are and bring her to the fullest experience of sexual climax.