Friday, May 16, 2014
If I Become your Pastor… We will follow Jesus
By Rick Blumenberg / @rickblumenberg
Recently I preached to the congregation I serve as Interim Pastor about how things will go if I become their permanent pastor. That was only a possibility, but if they considered this I wanted them to know what they are getting into. I thought perhaps what I have to say would be helpful to my blog readers, so my theme for today is “If I become your pastor….we will follow Jesus.
My point is that a pastor is always an “under-shepherd” rather than the primary shepherd. Jesus is the head of the church. Any organization that does not have Jesus as the primary leader may be a good and beneficial organization, but it is not the church. My task, and I believe the task of every pastor, is to help our congregations learn better how to follow Jesus.
It is really a simple and clear guideline, but the implications are earth-shaking. Living out that goal is the most difficult and most satisfying task of our lives. As long as we try to do it pastor and church will be in a learning mode. We’ll never learn it all. God always has new and beautiful things to teach us and sometimes painful lessons to learn and difficult applications we must carry out. I could write a book on the subject if I was smart enough, but for today, it will be a simple blog post.
Here are my basic points as I completed the thought.
We, as a church, will do everything God tells us to do (John 3:33-35)
We never ask can we do/afford this. We only ask…“What is God’s will in this situation?” After we ask, we pray. Individually, corporately, we pray, and continue to ask, “God, what is your will in this situation? After we pray, we vote and the majority rules. It’s not a perfect system. In almost every church some who vote never pray or seek God’s direction and because we’re human sometimes even when we seek God’s will we fail to understand or follow. Not perfect, but the best way I know.
We lead our personal lives with Jesus Christ as Lord
No saint on Sunday, Sinner on Monday-Saturday business—every day is God’s day. All of life belongs to him and everything we own belongs to God. We are mere stewards. What is most important to God must become most important to us. Our goal is that “God’s will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Just as fully, unhesitatingly, joyfully, as it’s done in heaven. Not just in the church, but also in our personal lives! Now we are human and sometimes we will fail. When we do, thankfully, God forgives.
We tithe our income to God (See Malachi 3:6-12)
We stop robbing God and begin to really trust. If we don’t love and trust God with our finances, we don’t really love and/or trust him. Our church doesn’t have enough income to survive. We’re dying financially! One reason we’re dying is because we’re robbing God. If I become your pastor, we must begin to tithe our income. It’s important to note, this scripture is for all; individuals, families, churches.
You’re not going to believe this, but after I preached this sermon the church voted unanimously for me to become their pastor instead of merely an interim. This may be the only place in scripture where God says “test me in this”. He goes on to say, thru the prophet Malachi, “see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” (v. 10)
This tiny congregation doesn’t have enough income for the minimum bills necessary to keep the doors open. It doesn’t make sense to give away ten percent when we are in such bad shape…unless God is real and alive and at work in our world today. If that is true (and I know it is) we can trust him.
I’m Rick Blumenberg and that’s My View from Tanner Creek.