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As a pastor, I regularly wrestle with how best to train up God’s people for the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:12). I’m thankful that God is merciful and patient with me as I’m seeking to “figure this out,” that is, as I seek to understand how to disciple, care for, and equip His people.
One question I’ve asked God over my years of pastoral service is this: “What is the essence of the gospel that God’s people need to know and live out for effective ministry?” I’m not going to fully address this question here; that would require a much longer format. But I’d like to share some practical ways God has answered my question in recent years.
Shepherds - Lot - Time - Skills - Methodology
As shepherds, we can spend a lot of time thinking about our skills and methodology. But it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees. What God has taught me is that it’s more important to focus on Him than on myself and my abilities. Certainly, skills and methods are important when it comes to caring for God’s people in holistic and practical ways. But even the most important emphases and skills—being a competent minister, drawing out the heart, understanding the heart’s struggles, and instructing in how to live a godly life—need to be properly understood and practiced. Let’s take a look at how to balance each of these four essential elements with a primary focus on God and His relationship with us:
We can get anxious about caring for people. We wrestle with particular struggles: “I don’t know what to do;” “I haven’t experienced this struggle before;” “I want to help this person, not harm them; “I need to read more on this particular struggle.” Such struggles can lead to fear, lack of confidence, and avoidance.
Growing in competency is important. Sometimes you do...
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"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift