I’ve been asked to deliver a few messages to a congregation in the central part of my home state to encourage them as they begin their search for a new pastor. I’ve decided to post these here for them to access and others to consider for encouragement.
“What’s At Stake” (2 Chronicles 20:12)
God willing, in the near future you will call a man to be your pastor. But right now 2 Chron 20:12-b is a verse that is where you are, WITH an answer (Quote it). Now… what I want to talk about is what is at stake FOR YOU in finding the man God wants to be your pastor.
This man is more important in your life than your physician, friends, family, co-workers, or legal counsel. These deal almost exclusively w/ temporal matters… the things of this life. Your pastor is charged to watch over your soul (Heb 13:7). He is to encourage, challenge, & disciple you in Christ.
Your Pastor is to grow you in the things God will evaluate to determine your eternal rewards. He is to break the bread of life for you. When you are dealing with the hardest issues of this life, he is to bring truth & peace from God’s Word for strength & encouragement. He is to counsel you according to Scripture in all matters great & small. He will baptize your children & grandchildren. He will counsel your children & marry them in Christ… &… he will do your funeral. Those things are eternal…
It follows that this man should be of great significance to you. Thus you need to u’stand the process of finding the next man God has for NHBC & your interest in calling him.
How do you find “GOD’S man?” Think about that question… the man GOD WANTS TO COME TO NHBC! That is significant. We’re talking about GOD’S WILL! We are talking about GOD’S man! This is a serious matter. One that literally has ETERNAL consequences!
What you will be hearing for a few weeks are messages probably unlike any you’ve ever heard before. I hope to encourage you about the process of looking for a pastor… your part in the process… & messages to encourage a healthy congregational existence for years to come.
Let’s begin by considering Paul from Eph 5:15, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil…”
Do WE live in perilous times? Your kids & g-kids are & will be subjected to evil in ways you never were thru their cell phone, internet, their peer group, & society in general. The ONLY way to fight the battle for their soul is a strong faith in Christ… lived at home & supported at church.
Q: When should we prepare for “the storm” Franklin Graham said is coming? Q: What is being done to prepare… spiritually… for what is coming? How should the next generation be emotionally & spiritually prepared for a life that will be much harder than we’ve known? Let’s don’t fail them!
Bigger Q: Are we cruising through life without seriously contemplating that one day WE will stand before God & give an account of OUR life… what we’ve said & thought & done? 1 Cor 3:10-15…
Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation w/ gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, b/c it will be revealed by fire, & the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
Christians will NOT be judged in relation to salvation, BUT we WILL be evaluated on the basis of our works for God’s glory. Those who identify w/ Christ just to have “fire insurance” may one day experience a conversation I call “The Judas Factor” from Mt 7:21-23…
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, & cast out demons in your name, & do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
I believe that may be the saddest passage in the NT. For people to think they are in God’s family only to find out they never were. “Doing the will of God the Father” is trusting Christ for salvation. The answer to the question most ask regarding Mt 7:21-23 is twofold…
Jn 6:28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
Gal 5:22 The fruit of the Spirit IS love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
Believing in Christ & the fruit of the Spirit (Singular) are THE proofs of being in Christ. Now, who is the person who is to help, encourage, & guide you in this process? Your pastor. Who is to lead the NHBC in this area? Your pastor. Who is to encourage those new in the faith… you, your children, & your grandchildren? Your pastor! Your devotion to discipleship & the Gospel.
See how important the man you call to be your pastor is? Grasp the eternal nature of his ministry among you. The most important things he will do, IF he loves you, are found in Acts 6:2…
And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples & said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer & to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering…
If your pastor loves you & loves God, he WILL devote himself to praying for you, often & long. He will devote himself to studying to bring to you messages to grow you in your faith. He will spend hours writing messages & studies… from God’s heart to yours… for spiritual well being & strength.
Some of you are thinking, “But what about hospital & home visits? What about Administration? What about vision?” Well, those he will do as time permits. But it is more important that he fulfill his call to speak God’s Word & disciple you. Consider Heb 13:17…
Obey your leaders & submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy & not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
First look at, “they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.” Your pastor will answer to God for how faithful he is to carry out what God expects of him.
If your next pastor does not place a high priority on “keeping watch over your souls” by preaching & teaching God’s Word, he has abandoned his call from God & has moved to job security.
Now look at the first & last part of the verse. “Obey” carries the importance of submitting to their leadership b/c of his call. Some object because they disagree with the pastor’s leadership. Let God handle that. You pray FOR him, not ON him. Get it? Repeat…
Look at the last part, “Let them do this with joy & not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” God takes notice how his people treat their shepherd. He watches & listens how you talk about him & treat him. The best thing you can do for your next pastor is be on his side. Pray for him. Don’t let anyone talk negatively about him. In fact, confront them if/when they do… and some will!
The last phrase leads us to Heb 12:14, “Strive for peace w/ everyone, & for the holiness w/out which no one will see the Lord.” God puts pastors in a congregation’s life to help, encourage, & lead you to live a holy life which is REQUIRED for you to see God.
What is at stake in calling your next Pastor? Your spiritual well being in this life. The spiritual well being of your family… children… grandchildren. AND what will happen as one day you stand before God to give an account of your life. Those things are important! That is what is at stake!
That is why I implore you… encourage you… & plead w/ you to pray for the ST. Pray for him, whoever he is & wherever he is… b/c “the days are evil.” The days ahead can be magnificent as you come together to honor God, grow in the faith, & mature in Christ… knowing that your pastor is to be the man GOD calls to aid you in this endeavor.
Calling a man to be your pastor is not HIRING SOMEONE to visit you… that’s the deacon’s responsibility. Calling a man to be your pastor is instead part of a process GOD ordained to bring glory to His name. My prayer is that you all will embrace this and be faithful in carrying it out.