Posts Tagged ‘clergy’

Gleaning Souls

February 3, 2011

I pastor a small church.  There are times when it bothers me that the church has not shown significant numerical growth.  Recently God allowed me to look at this situation with a different perspective,

I am gleaning souls.

In Biblical days, harvests were gathered by hand.  The workers would cut the standing grain,  and then bring them to an area for threshing.  During the gathering  process some heads of grain would fall to the ground.  The custom was to allow the poor to come after the workers to pick up the fallen grain.  This process was called gleaning.  It gathered up what was missed, so that none was lost.

The large churches do not reach everyone.  Everyone is important.  The small churches, like mine, are gleaning souls, so that none are lost.

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Half-Way There!

November 16, 2010

When I was in my teens, I would go to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for a few days almost every summer.  I was relatively small in stature, but wanted to prove that I was stronger than I looked, so I would volunteer to carry the canoe across the portages.  By the time I was sixteen, I could carry a canoe, while wearing a backpack, across the trails.

On long portages,  they would have places set up where you could lean the canoe, without actually setting it back on the ground.  This would give you an opportunity to rest and catch your breath.

The portages would be marked on the map with their distance.  It was always nice to know when you were at the half-way point, because it gave you an idea of how much further you had to travel.

I believe that I am likely at the half-way point of ministry.  I began my role as a lead pastor twenty years ago and, should Jesus tarry, and my health holds out, I imagine that I will continue in full-time ministry until I am seventy.

It is a good thing that I enjoy a challenge.  It has not been an easy portage, but I am at the half-way point, and it is well worth it.

Pastor Shot and Killed

March 9, 2009

On Sunday morning, March 8th, Pastor Fred Winters was shot and killed while delivering his sermon.  This did not happen in some far away country but In Maryville, Illinois,  a suburb of St. Lois.  At this time, there is no known reason for the murder.  The gunman tried to commit suicide, but was prevented from doing so, by members of the congregation, who were themselves, injured by the assailant.    I imagine that in the days ahead he will give the reasons for the attack.  My sincere sympathy is extended to his wife, family, friends and congregation.  May God help them to deal with this horrific tragedy.   

I wonder if this is a sign of things to come?  A colleage of mine keeps a file of the “hate mail” that he has received over the years.  People can sometimes have very strong feeling about the actions that a pastor takes in leading the church.  Furthermore,  I have noticed that Christians, and pastors in particular, have often been poorly represented in movies and television.  Finally, the  accusation is made of  “preaching hate” when activities are labeled as sin.  These three things when added together   are a powerful toxin to the attitude that people have towards the work of the church. 

Pastors are supposed to provide leadership for their churches.  They will make decisions that will not be popular with everyone.  Pastoral leadership is not supposed to be about popularity, but about doing the will of God.

It would be nice to see the entertainment industry portray Christians, and pastors in a better light.  There are many wonderful people of faith and it does not do anyone any good to make a mockery of what is so important to so many people.   

Finally, it is not hate to call sinful activities sin.  Christians are called first to love God, and then to love those around them.  Christians are motivated by love, not hate.  When we condem sin, it is an expression  of  a religious belief, not an expression of hate. We have religious freedom in this country.  That means that I am free to preach what I believe to be true.  You don’t have to agree with me, but I hope that I won’t someday be shot for preaching the truth as I understand it.