Gospel ministry is terrible and beautiful, light and heavy, sorrowful and joyful.
Last week I met with a fellow PCA pastor at a pub to talk about life and ministry. Two of his burdens have been on my heart and mind all week, for they have also been my own burdens:
(1) He told me about all the folks who are leaving his little church for other bigger churches. Some of those folks are close friends. With tears in his eyes he said, “They act like our church is just some frumpy housewife who’s stuck at home taking care of all the kids; and those other churches are like glamorous super models and sexy porn-stars.”* He paused and apologized for the graphic imagery. I shrugged it off and told him he sounded like an OT prophet crying out against a spirit of whoredom which (apparently!) is still prevalent among God’s people.
(2) He wondered why all the pillars of his congregation were leaving, and he worried about the congregation and whether it would stand or fall. But I called BS on his use of the word “pillars” to describe them. Why? Because pillars don’t move, they stand up. Pillars don’t leave, they stay put. They don’t pull down, they push up. I encouraged him to look around at the ordinary folks in his congregation who are doing those very things. “There, among the weak, the poor, the needy, the plain, you will find the real pillars of the church.” That’s where the power of the truth of the gospel is working most effectively.
How do I know? Divine Revelation and Personal Experience. Not only have I been there and done that as a pastor of a little congregation, but I have learned that this is the true Story of God and his people in the Bible.
Death comes through our weakness; life comes through God’s power, which is made perfect in our weakness.
This is the way of the cross.
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
“God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are nothing, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”
“God is faithful even if we are faithless, for he cannot deny himself.”
God’s grace is for the battered and bruised, the burdened and broken.
And it is enough — even for you.