This post was written in April, 2016. It is published with an earlier date because it was meant only for an audience of those in search of a pastoral candidate. This is the best way for me to have it visible to that audience without requiring a secret password.
To be sure, being a pastor is a calling and special gifting from God (Eph. 4:11). It's one for which I've felt for 15 years now and has yet to be fulfilled in His providence.
You may be thinking that I should have given up at this point. Surely if God wanted me to be a pastor he would have brought it to pass by now, right?
Trust me, I've felt the full pressure of that belief. Many times throughout these past 15 years I've tried to abandon the hope of becoming an under-shepherd of God's people (Christ Himself being my Shepherd and the One, True Shepherd of His church - Jn. 10:11). Giving up only seemed practical, since it was clear in so many different ways - with so many different doors shut to the opportunities.
So why press on?
Because I believe this desire truly is of God. Every time that I've abandoned the hope of becoming a pastor to God's people I've experienced (to a degree) of what Jeremiah wrote in 20:9. I've found that when I do say to myself "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," (in other words, I will not pursue full-time vocational shepherding ministry), His word burns so strongly within my heart that I simply cannot hold it in. I have to speak it - and speak it to God's people (as well as unbelievers).
I also take some comfort from the fact that it was roughly 15 years from when David was anointed King over Israel to when he actually was confirmed by the people and began to rule. I know that with God, timing seems to be a very different thing for Him and how we perceive or expect it (cf. Jn. 11:2, 3, 14, 17, 21-22, 23). And even Paul in his ministry faced closed opportunities both by Satan (1 Thess. 2:18; though under God's supervision) and by the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6, 7).
So when will God allow me to shepherd his people in a formal capacity of a pastor at a local church?
I don't know... But if your church is searching for a pastor, I'd like to give you some reasons why I would like to be that pastor (as well as some reasons you may not want me - I'll let you decide on that).
But first things first...
Why I Want to Be Your Pastor...
As I've said before, it's a true calling of God (Eph. 4:11), and one in which I'm confident is mine. Now I'm certainly not confident in it because of any wisdom or knowledge I have in and of myself. But I'm confident because it is God who works in me for this very passion and desire (see, 1 Tim. 3:1).
Truly many have a passion for math or science or psychology or sociology or history or language or literature or anything else related to these (engineering, healthcare, business administration, process improvement, translation, entrepreneurship, etc., etc.,), or even teaching any of these disciplines. While I myself am interested in how these areas relate to Christ as the author and sustainer of all space-time facts (Col. 1:16, 17), my passion is and ever remains knowing the Word of God - that not only will my own life be changed by it, but that I might be able to teach it to others for God's glory and the good of His people (Jn. 17:17; Ez. 7:10).
And that pretty much says it there. I want to be your pastor because I want to take the rich and glorious truths of God's Word that have been revealed to me (by His Spirit through His Word, as taught by past and present teachers He has given to the Church), and share them with the rest of His sheep.
What is required of a shepherd? That he is faithful in leading the sheep to lush pasture, providing them with nourishing food, and in taking them to refreshing waters from where their souls may be fortified and revived (see Psalm 23).
What is more is that a shepherd must protect the flock from animals of prey, that seek to harm and devour, or thieves that seek to hurt and destroy (see John 10:7-16).
And truly Christ is that Good Shepherd who does those things for His church, but the way He provides for and protects His church is through the ministry of under-shepherd men (Eph. 4:11). My desire is to be such a shepherd!
Yes, I willingly want to have the fearful and gracious ministry of leading people to the pasture, not of the world's sinful ideas or the world's depraved culture, but to the pasture of God's Word - that they might feast on all good things and be nourished and well fed in their souls.
I want to have the fearful and and awesome responsibility to ensure, as best I can, that His sheep are drinking, not from the waters of self-effort or the flesh, but from the refreshing, rejuvenating water of the Holy Spirit who alone can fortify and revive their souls.
I want to have the fearful and wonderful task of protecting the sheep from the philosophies of the world that are not according to Christ (Col. 2:8) and the Satanic influences that can arise even from amidst the very flock itself (Acts 20:30).
And it should be understood as a good thing that this is my desire. For if a shepherd has not the desire to be responsible for nourishing the flock and taking care of it - even in protecting it from harm (from both outside and within), then that one is not fit to be a shepherd (1 Pet. 5:2ff).
But I also realize that desire by itself is not enough. Indeed, "desire without knowledge is not good" (Prv. 19:2). That is why a pastor must be one who not only desires to do the above things (1 Tim. 3:1), but he must actually be able to do them (Ti. 1:9).
And to that I say, I can't! Not in and of myself.
However, this I know for sure: He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world (1 Jn. 4:4). And just as much as it is by His grace that He gave me this desire for these past 15 years, it is by His grace that He has grown my knowledge of His Word for these past 15 years as well.
While I certainly have much more study to do - He has taken me from very humble beginnings regarding knowledge of His Word and has Himself allowed me to discover the amazing truths He has revealed for us to know - all of which point to Himself for His own glory (Rom. 11:36). And it is these truths that I do know which I most sincerely wish to share with my fellow sheep!
But will I be able to?
I know it's up to Him. And for my part I'm involved in teaching ministry in my local church and through this website/blog and other venues until a full-time vocational pastor opportunity is opened up for me.
But for your part, let me at least give you some up-front things that I know may not be popular, and might even be reasons for you to not want me as your pastor...
Some Reasons Why You May Not Want Me...
There are only a few, so I will do my best to be brief and even provide an outline of sorts:
Who You Are and Who You Are Not Getting as Your Pastor
This may be a cause to not want me, but it needs to be said up front.
As regards to who in my family is gifted and called to the pastorate - it is I and I alone. My wife is not a pastor, does not have the spiritual gifts to be a pastor, should not be a pastor (because the Scriptures declare that that particular office is for men - 1 Tim. 3:1-7, cf. 1 Tim. 2:11-15; Ti. 1:5-9), and therefore she should not be looked upon for anything pertaining to being a pastor.
There is no special office in the church for a "pastor's wife," and therefore, there is no special calling for her in this ministry anymore than any other female member of the church (obviously she needs to be a baptized, confessing believer - which she is).
My wife is by temperament quiet and reserved, and in regard to spiritual gifts has those pertaining to service (1 Pet. 4:11; cf. "helping" 1 Cor. 12:28). She is not outgoing by nature and does not possess "speaking" gifts from the Spirit. She would not be comfortable being looked upon for direction by a large group of people; but neither she, nor anyone else in the church with like temperament and spiritual gifts, should be expected to be.
That may be a stumbling block to certain churches. It may be a stumbling block that a pastor's wife is not going to be the choir director or the children's ministry coordinator. It may seem odd that the pastor's wife isn't going to be expected to do anything more than any other female member of the body is expected to do (i.e. use the gifts she has for the building up of the church, and if married and/or has children being a godly wife and/or mother).
But as odd as it may seem, there appears to me no Scriptural warrant to expect anything more from my wife than what we should expect from any other member of the church. She is not being called into pastoral ministry; I am.
I hope that's not a hindrance or stumbling block. I hope we all agree that there is no special office for a pastor's wife. But if that is a hindrance to not wanting me as a pastor - I have to leave it alone, wish you well, and look for other opportunities. As you know, my duty regarding human relationships is first and foremost to my family (1 Tim. 3:4-5, 5:8). And I can't put her in a position where she will be looked up to use spiritual gifts that do not belong to her (1 Cor. 12) or use "natural" capabilities that are not hers.
Patience for My Continued Seminary Education
It is generally true that whatever one's profession is, there is always room to grow. I think pastoral ministry - especially as it pertains to knowledge of God's Word - is no exception.
I'm currently enrolled in a Th.M. program at Whitefield Theological Seminary and am enjoying my studies there. But I would ask the church's patience as I will continue to work through that program until it's completed.
Even after it's completed I will always be a student of the Scriptures and look for ways to grow my knowledge of God's Word and how it applies to our day. But this is a good thing. Just as the customers of a restaurant benefit greatly when the chef has grown in his knowledge of how to better prepare all the dishes he serves, so the congregation of which I would pastor would greatly benefit from the rich knowledge of the Scriptures I am able to attain through other godly and more knowledgeable men.
I don't anticipate this being a hindrance to many wanting me as a pastor; but it needs to be understood up front that at least for the short-term, I will need to spend at least some of my study time in formal education.
But my growth in the Scriptures will certainly constitute something...what I learn is what I will teach, which brings me to the last point...
Where I Will Take You (As Best I Can) As Your Pastor
The mission of any pastor regarding the Word of God ought to be to declare "the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). And by His Spirit working in me, this I plan to do.
What does that mean?
Hear me on this. The Bible is not a textbook on biology, geology, history, government, economics, psychology, sociology, philosophy, or any other topic. But it does speak to these areas of human knowledge. Furthermore, where and when it speaks to these issues, it does so inerrantly and infallibly.
As I learn the Scriptures more and more, when it encounters these areas of human thought I am not going to shrink back and talk about how the Bible is more of a spiritual book and doesn't really speak to these issues in an authoritative way.
I believe in whatever area the Bible speaks to, it does so with infallible authority. And as a pastor, I will be bound to declare, not just the "spiritual" things of God - but "the whole counsel of God."
Surely this is unpopular - at least in our culture in the United States. And I realize it may even be unpopular in some churches today. That is why you need to know it up front.
I hope it's not a hindrance. I hope it's an encouragement that you'll be getting a pastor who so greatly cares for the sheep that he doesn't want to shrink back from declaring the whole counsel of God.
But for that again - I'll let you decide...
In God's providence, I hope to hear from you soon.
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