Since I arrived here at CBC, I have been telling people that church is a team. I need them and they need me. In reality, pastoral ministry is as much a team as any sport. I have been called to a specific task and so has the Christian. All Christians are called to tasks in relation to the pastors.
In the office, we have been reading a book over the past month called A Portrait of Paul: Identifying a True Minister of Christ by Rob Ventura & Jeremy Walker (I am sure a book review will be coming in the next couple of weeks). The reading that we did for today really stuck with me. I wanted to share a couple quotes for both the Christian and the Pastor in regards to their responsibility. Enjoy & remember your relationship with your pastor is that of a teammate.
For The Christian:
"You cannot coast to heaven, and you will not reach glory by standing still. You must change, you must advance, and you will be greatly aided in doing so if you accept that your pastors are God's servants to assist you toward Christian maturity, and not officious bystanders poking their noses into your business." (123)
If you have a faithful minister, there may be times when your face blanches, when your teeth clench, when your cheeks redden, when your stomach churns, when your heart falls, when your excuses rise, and when your defenses go up. There may be times when you are tempted to go home and rail against your pastor for his barefaced cheek and blinding audacity. You may be tempted to hurl fire at the elders after the latest pastoral visit. Pause, then, and consider: What is the truth of the matter? Are these men really throwing their weight around and abusing their authority? Or could it be that they are seeking to discharge the weighty responsibility of seeing you safely to glory?" (123)
Yes, pastors are sinful men. They will at times err in the manner or matter of their speaking, but listen to them opening their hearts in the words that they speak. Pray God to help His servants--who are your servants for Jesus' sake--to keep this great purpose, this state of Christian maturity, always fixed in their minds. Ask God that they might labor with the awesome occasion of Christ's return in their hearts. Pray that they will be given wisdom and humility never to employ their gospel tools for anything but their high and holy task. Plead with God that they will never abuse their position or authority but will only labor to make you fit for glory. Pray for the identification and mortification of every sinful or shallow motive that would distort their purpose or distract from their goal." (124)
For The Pastor:
"Neglecting or attacking the sheep is just as bad as ignoring or encouraging the wolves." (125)
"Brother, that is the day in which you will see those whom you have pastored giving an account of their life and work to Jesus. It is the day on which you must do the same. Their account will reflect on your work as well. You and I must stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and there we will answer for what we have been not only as men but also as ministers . . . Do not lose sight of the preciousness of souls and your commission to proclaim Jesus to them." (126)
"One thing we can hope for: if our people know that we are eager to see Christ formed in them and have them truly blessed, then they will put up with our many other shortcomings in living and serving. WE are far from being perfect men. However, if we are diligent men, if we are serious men, if we are men who are bent on nothing but the good of our people, men who set a good example of diligent service for Christ, then they might love us and be all the more ready to heed what we tell them and follow what God calls them to do in His Word." (149).