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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How to Pastor the Local Church

Pastoring the local church is full of challenges.  The pastor questions himself every week wondering whether or not he is being and doing what God has called him to be and do.  In our modern church world a pastor who looks to the internet to examine the pastorate, he may come to many different conclusions.  He may think that to be a pastor he must be successful (growing numbers and his own reputation).  He may consider that to be a good pastor he will have to be on the cutting edge of ministry (lights, camera, action).  He may look to his external appearance and seek to dress a little more hip (square rimmed glasses, untucked shirt, and just the right pair of shoes).  He may even think about his preaching style and seek to implement a laptop, iPad, iPod, or other media helps (visual learning, lights, catchy).  The modern church gives offs the vibes of a hollywood mentality that is seeking the best show in town with the greatest of actors.  He may feel he has to keep up with what everyone else is doing.

What is it that makes a good pastor?  It is of vital importance to look at the "Chief Pastor" to develop a true understanding of pastoring.  Towards the end of Jesus' earthly ministry he is gathered together with his local church of 12 men.  He has known all along that one member of his church is not really with Him.  Jesus had even revealed that one of them was the devil back in John 6:70.  With this knowledge of Judas we still find Jesus teaching Judas, serving Judas, and even washing his feet.  Herein, is the heart of the successful pastor.  A man so in love with the glory of God that he would even wash the feet of the devil to the glory of God.  In John 13 we find these words from the "Chief Pastor", "αγαπησας τους ίδιους τους ev  τω κόσμω εις τέλος ηγάπησεν αυτούς"(having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end).  With all the faults, failures, and at times fickleness of His local church Jesus loved them to the very end.  

The word love gets thrown around and used in many different ways by different people.  We must define the word properly.  Love is defined this way, "By this we know love, that He (Jesus) laid down His life for us".  Jesus, the Chief Pastor, sacrificed Himself for the undeserving.  He sacrificially taught them, prayed all night for them, fed them, watered them, led them, and in our present passage He washed their feet.  A local church of 12 with one of them being a devil and the other eleven having issue of doubt, fear, lack of prayer, timidity, denials, and in general they just were not that impressive.  Jesus loved them to the end.  They misunderstood His teaching at times and had the shocking ability to forget the greatest of miracles that Jesus did.  Jesus' local church rebuked Him for sleeping when a storm was on the sea, when He said He was going to return to Jerusalem, and when He told them He must die.  What nerve they had to rebuke the Chief Pastor.  Yet, Jesus loved them to the end.  

In order to Pastor a local church correctly the pastor will have to learn to love the unloveable.  He will have to be patient with those he does not think deserve his patience.  He will have to teach those who are playing on their phones and iPad's while he is teaching.  He will have to preach to those who sleep while he preaches.  He will have to serve those who slander his good name in the community.  He must learn to love those who do not even want to be loved.  He must learn to love those who do not love him.  He will have to serve some that proof, in the end to be in partnership with the devil.  He must look to Jesus, the Chief Pastor and learn to love like Jesus loved.  He loved to the end. 

Bypassing all of the modern trends of what is said it takes to be a successful pastor, perhaps men should try to learn to love the local church the way that Jesus did.  Jesus loved his own to the end.  Do you love your own to the end?


  1. I loved them ALL to the end...STILL DO. Hard to cut off the pastor switch. Thanks for the encouraging Word. And thanks for being an example of all of this.

    2 Corinthians 4:5
    For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.

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  2. I remember reading this article once entitled, "The Man Who Never Forgave." It was about a brother in a persecuted country who said that Jesus' teachings on forgiving others was for "beginners." Those who have matured never have to forgive because they are not resentful in the first place.
    Can a bad spring produce good water? The sons of darkness - and also those of light - sometimes do terrible things to us. Yet, Jesus turns even brackish water into wine! It is a miracle! God is glorified when we are thrown into furnesses or into the lion's den! As it is written, "All things work for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes." That is, people only do beneficial things towards us! Why be bitter when you have been done a service?
    Further, we must be disciples of Christ, who is a Physician by trade. What doctor is disgusted at the sight of pus or infection? Any wrongs towards us are simply a sign of a corrupted heart, one full of disease. Stat! Emergency! The patient is a heartbeat away from death! Time is of the essence! A true disciple will not turn away but will administer CPR (that is, Christ's Powerful Resurrection)! May God help us be faithful "interns."
    Pastor, if you are reading this, we are considering joining your church. Please pray that we will know the will of Christ in this matter. Thank you for your prayers. Ken