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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.


Anonymous said...

Your points you made are very good. I was looking for what I felt is the most important point. Maybe I missed it. To me the MOST important thing to share with a congregation is that a pastor preaches the message of Salvation and gives people a chance to accept Christ! Too many ministers bypass that in today's CHURCH and never give an altar call. At least, that is the way it is in my church.

Anonymous said...
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Rick Blumenberg said...

Excellent point. The problem is, you can't put in everything in one sermon. I've been preaching to this congregation for six months as Interim Pastor and every sermon has either a direct or indirect reference to salvation so they already knew this would be a normal part of my preaching. But you're right, this blog is incomplete without that point. Thanks for reading and responding!

Jack A. C. Lawrence said...

Thank you for your unfettered devotion to God and His Church.

Rick Blumenberg said...

Brother Jack,
Thank you for your kind words. I certainly desire that to be true, but I must admit, God still has work to do in my behalf. The good thing for all of us is that when we falter or fail, God is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your willingness to step into that leadership role at a time when, it seems to me, associates and 'fill ins" abound but there are not enough dedicated pastors to fill all the vacancies.
I appreciate all that you have committed yourself to lead the group into; IMHO, it is biblical.

However, don't be discouraged if and when, it doesn't happen as you have laid it out. It would be easier to push a wet string into a straight line than it would to bring these things about by declaration.
1)You can designate these landmarks as your ultimate destination--so everyone can recognize that area should you happen to arrive there, but a pastor cannot force anyone to follow. Jesus could not (without violating freewill)and it broke his heart. It breaks EVERY good pastor's heart.
2) Not everyone in your group will be at the same stage of spiritual growth. IMHO,if you are following Jesus, a good number of your group should be the "not yet saved" and they cannot, will not and should not be expected to comply to external standards since they are still their own lord on the inside.
3)YES! Put the ole' ship back on course if it has drifted (or, as in too many cases, never left the dock)! Teach it, live it and most of all--love it! Encourage others to follow, be winsome, enjoy the journey but don't get discouraged and quit when longstanding members want to continue on the course they find most comfortable. Some may even choose to 'disembark' rather than comply. Yes, I have helped lower a few in the dingy and wished them well as they bobbed away on the waves wearing their little arm floats.

God Bless you and all who sail with you!!

Rick Blumenberg said...

Thank you for another comment. Or, are you a second anonymous? It would be more helpful if you would identify yourself.