Characteristics of Faithful Pastoral Ministry (1 Corinthians 2:1-5) – C. J. Mahaney
1. Proclamation (v. 1) – the gospel of Christ crucified as central to ALL of life and ministry.
2. Posture (vv. 2-3)
a. Acknowledge weakness
b. Consciously depend on divine assistance
3. Purpose (v. 5)
b. The glorifying of God (leaving God with us)
Interaction: This was a good message for me to hear. I need to acknowledge my weaknesses and assess whether I am fulfilling my purpose of growing my people’s faith in the power of God (thust glorifying God by relying on his power).
My weaknesses are: (1) my preoccupation with myself. I’ve noticed pride and selfishness in my life as I was praying and meditating on God’s truth after receiving an email from one of my professors. God showed me that I’m selfish and impatient and proud. I’m selfish in that I think primarily about my needs and plans, not the church’s needs and plans and not my wife’s immediate needs at home. I’m sloppy in my meeting of others’ needs precisely because I’ve been selfishly focusing on my plans, particularly plans of future study and theological subjects that are of particular interest to me but not immediately necessary to serving others around me in this present context. I’m impatient because I think in terms of weeks rather than years when I look at church ministry and church growth and development. I’ve struggled with where I’m at in life and because growth doesn’t happen at my bidding (but at God’s) I’ve thought the best thing for me to do is leave and do a Ph. D. That may or may not be true, but that is not to be dependent on the growth or lack of growth in the church at the present moment. Regardless or whether I should go on in further study, it is embarassingly arrogant of me to demand growth and development in my church from the Lord on my time table. So where do I go from here? C. J. Mahaney has pointed the way for me (or more accurately, God through C. J. has pointed the way for me): grow in humility. Invite correction from my wife and friends REGULARLY. Apply the changes and truths that God brings to your attention and the Spirit calls you to follow.
(2) Another weakness of mine is disorganization. I need to be a better planner. Getting away once a week to plan my week, retreating for a day to plan the next quarter, and retreating for a few days to plan the year and next few years is essential to my life and ministry and something I lacked personally and (in my estimation) even as a pastoral team. Along with this weakness would go the need to manage and maximize time given.
(3) Another weakness I have is a lack of delegation (thanks Jireh and Yek). I see that and need to come up with a list of things that are on my plate and from that list figure out what I could delegate.
Assessment of me fulfilling the pastoral purpose: Are my people growing? Yes. Is their growth properly contributed to through my pastoral ministry? No. I don’t think I’m teaching them well how to depend on God’s power for them to fulfill their purpose in their lives. I think the reason for this is that I haven’t been shepherding them to apply the gospel, I don’t follow up well to encourage them to apply the gospel, and I don’t create, delegate, and oversee opportunities for them to apply the gospel. So I need to make it more of a point to apply the gospel. I also need to give them opportunities to trust God and see his faithfulness and kindness. Then I need to highlight those acts of God’s kindness and faithfulness through the gospel in our context so that the people see the trustworthiness of God and grow in their trust in his power.
Lord, by your grace and enablement, despite my weaknesses, help me to get to work!