Earlier this week at ThomRainer.com:
- Five Reasons the Homogeneous Church Is Declining and Dying
- How Being Nice Can Lead to Bad Decisions – Rainer on Leadership #386
- Four Considerations for Baby Boomer Pastors
- Should a Church Replant Change Its Name? – Revitalize & Replant #018
- 10 Keys to Maximizing Your Church Facility – Rainer on Leadership #387
When a pastor has disqualified himself from his ministry, is he disqualified from ministry altogether? If so, for how long? Forever? Can he ever be restored? If so, how soon? These sorts of questions are not new, but they do seem more relevant than ever. While there are lots of articles out there on “fallen pastors,” I’ve been surprised to discover few deal with these questions in an in-depth way. I won’t pretend to provide a comprehensive treatment of this difficult subject in this post, but I do want to share some biblical reflections and practical implications I’ve been ruminating on for a while. This subject hits fairly close to home, as I think it does for many. It behooves us to think carefully and biblically about these matters.
I had a seminary professor once say, “You have to begin in Nashville before you head to Jerusalem.” His point was that if you do not meet listeners where they are and engage them where they live, you will have a hard time getting them to the truths of the Bible, and more particularly, to the relevance of the cross of Christ for their lives. The introduction of the message is what helps listeners know where you are going and whether or not they want to go with you. In this regard, the first five minutes of your message may be the most important of all of them. In light of that, I want to give you two areas to focus on as you prepare and deliver your sermons.
Ministering to widows and widowers is not hard because it’s challenging work. Widow ministry is difficult because it takes time. Ironically, many homebound people have hours of availability each day even as they don’t have much time left. It’s a double irony. Those who could minister to them often don’t believe they have the time in the day even though they have years, if not decades, of time in front of them. The widows have lots of hours but few days, while others have lots of days but few hours in the day.
We see both intentionality and intensity in the biblical account when God first gave humanity the responsibility to lead. God told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). After God created the creatures in the sea and in the sky, He told them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:22), but He did not tell them to subdue and lead. God reserved that command for the crowning work of His creation—humanity. God placed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden with the instructions to “work it and watch over it” (Genesis 2:15). God-given leadership, before sin tainted everything, was simply watching over and working. And still today, effective leadership requires both intentionality and intensity.
Several years ago, I posted on “Signs of Mediocrity in a Church.” Today, I add to that list other signs I’ve seen as a church consultant: