Back to all

November 1, 2020

The Church | What to Expect from Pastors

The Church

Week 3, What to Expect from Pastors

Mike Colaw

 

Opening:

My first Mass.

I clearly remember the first time I went to a Catholic Mass. I had visited many churches over the years. Most of them modern mega churches. So, I did what I always did when I visited a new church. I timed my arrival right at the start, so I didn’t have to talk to people, I snuck in the back as the service was starting, kicked back in my pew and waited for the show to start. It didn’t take long to realize this was very different than any service I had attended before. The lights never went down. Usually the people in the church can hide. It appears that’s not true at Mass. All the sudden people stood up and started saying these phrases to each other. All I picked up on was the “and you” so I just mumbled and added “and you” to the people around me. The next half hour was a blur as we stood up, sat down talked back after scripture was read. Then came communion. Cool, I knew this. I started looking for those modern mega church communion packages. You know the all in one juice and wafer combos. Nope, while I was looking around people started making their way to the front. It was hard to see what was happening. I tried to watch what they were doing so I could mimic it when my turn came when all the sudden an usher (I think it was an usher) asked me if I was Catholic. I’m a Christian, so I started to say “yes,” then fumbled around trying to explain quietly that I haven’t been to mass but I am a Christian. He finally stopped me and said I couldn’t take communion, but I could cross my arms and receive a blessing when I went forward. My time was coming fast, and I didn’t know what to do so I just sat back down in my seat. Bummer, missed it.

I actually hung around for a while after Church and met the priest. He was awesome and friendly. We both laughed a bit at how different Church was for me. I learned something really important that day.

Most of church history has its members participating in the ministry, not just observing it. It’s a modern variant to have churches full of thousands of people who sit in the dark and passively watch a lit-up stage where Christian stuff happens.

I don’t think it’s wrong to display Christianity. I also don’t think a dark room is sinful, but the passive part is very new and maybe not actually Church at all.

 

“Worship is the arena in which God recalibrates our hearts, reforms our desires, and rehabituates our loves. Worship isn’t just something we do; it is where God does something to us. Worship is the heart of discipleship because it is the gymnasium in which God retrains our hearts… The orientation of the heart happens from the bottom up, through the formation of our habits of desire. Learning to love (God) takes practice.” [1]

― James K.A. Smith, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit

History teaches that the church is less like going to a movie and more like going to a gym. It is a place where your heart is formed by practicing and learning the ways of Christ and where you are sent to take what you have learned into your spheres of influence. Gather, practice and scatter. That’s the rhythm.

 

To the Text:

Introduce our young leaders who are feeling a call to ministry. We will start using them more and more in the services. Today we have Ian and Shay! They will be reading scripture.

 

(Have Shay read this)

Ephesians 4:11-12

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,[2]

 

(Have Ian read this)

Acts 6:1-7

Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.

And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. [3]

 

  • What can you expect from your pastoral team? (Ephesians 4:11-12)
    • It’s in the titles. [4]
      • Apostle: (Apostolos) One “sent out;” an ambassador or one who helps create and represent Christ culture.
      • Prophet: (prophētēs) One who “speaks a message” received from God.
      • Evangelists: (euangelistēs) Someone who “proclaims the gospel.”
      • Shepherds and teachers: (poimēn/didaskalos) Someone who spiritually protects, takes care of and develops another.
    • Notice that this refers to different people. No one leader does all of these perfectly. You need a team of people (lay or paid) to accomplish these. To expect one church leader to meet all your spiritual needs isn’t scriptural.

 

  • What will the church expect out of you? (Acts 6:1-7)
    • “If you are not a Christian? Acknowledge that deep desire for a truer family and a right world. Chase that hunger until you are staring into the eyes of Jesus.”
    • If you are a new Christian? Join a church family with a teachable heart. (Acts 2) For Trinity specifically, commit to come and learn, commit to come and build relationships. In other words, go to church. When you are ready your next step is Discover Trinity.
    • If you are a member?
      • God will show you areas where there is ministry void. (Acts 6:1)
      • You will have a tendency to push your call from God on to another. Don’t trade away the mission God has shown to you. (Acts 6:2)
      • Take your ministry opportunity to the leaders in the Church. If it’s right and good they will ask you to develop it. (Acts 6:1-5)

 

Final Thoughts:

 

  • The goal of the church is to multiply ministry, not steal another’s call and replace it with yours. When you own a ministry vision the church “multiplies greatly.” (Acts 6:7)
    • Expect to see places of need. God will show them to you.
    • Commit to own the places of need that God reveals to you.
      • Don’t condemn the church for places of need, be the solution.
      • Don’t give away your ministry vision from God, own your purpose.
    • Expect it to be hard. Spiritual warfare is real. Your inadequacies are real. It’s going to take time. You will learn as you proceed.
    • Don’t wait to be an expert. Jesus sent people long before they were experts. He will do the same with you.
      • This is the natural order of things. Think about parenting – God makes parents before they are experts.

Next Steps Cards:

  • Take out your next steps card.
    • Write out the places of influence God has given you. Your children, friends, work or a club or gym, anything.
    • Ask God what ministry opportunities he may have for you?
    • If it’s nothing at the moment keep to the basics – attending church and growing in the family.
  • If there is a ministry opportunity God is laying on your heart place your hand on it and pray with me.
    • Father, I commit to not be bitter that another is not doing this ministry but own this need that you have revealed to me. I commit to take this to the leadership in my church family and have the elders/leaders speak into it. If it’s of you I commit to start the journey of creating it.

 

 

 

[1] Smith, James K A. 2016. You Are What You Love : The Spiritual Power of Habit. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Brazos Press, A Division Of Baker Publishing Group.

 

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Eph 4:11–12.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ac 6:1–7.

[4] Michael R. Jones, “Teaching,” ed. Douglas Mangum et al., Lexham Theological Wordbook, Lexham Bible Reference Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014).


Notes Share