This was the question I tried to answer as I addressed a sweet group of faithful pastors in Crawley, England yesterday. There is a very personal and private nature to this gathering of pastors and the things discussed. Because of this, my two audio addresses will not be posted. Yet, I would like to offer a brief summary of what I shared with hopes it could be a helpful reminder to fellow pastors reading this blog who are discouraged and growing weary in their ministries.
My two addresses were expounded from Hebrews 13:7-17, with a focus to look back and find perseverance through seeing God’s Providences in those who taught and invested in us, then to look forward and find perseverance in the tasks of which we as pastors have been charged. Under the umbrella that Christ is supreme and enough to empower us to persevere (the central message of Hebrews), here were the four additional exhortations that can be a means of God’s grace to motivate us to persevere in our faith and specifically, our ministries.
Looking back involves…
1) Remembering those who led and spoke God’s Word to you (Heb. 13:7). This exhortation should cause every pastor to consider those who taught, invested, and discipled each of them that has brought us to the place of faith and ministry of which we find ourselves.
2) Remembering you are now one entrusted to lead and speak God’s Word (Heb. 13:7). As pastors, we are now those who are to be remembered in this way. We will be remembered in this way only by our faithfulness to lead and speak God’s Word, as well as live lives that should be imitated by our flock.
Looking forward involves…
1) Considering what it means to follow Jesus (Heb. 13:10-14). The call to follow Jesus means we are to “suffer outside the gate bearing his reproach.” As pastors, we must not only be faithful to go outside the camp, but to lead our people there.
2) Considering we will give an account for souls (Heb. 13:17). Pastors are to keep watch over souls, “as those who will give an account.” We can be distracted by many tasks that come with the role of pastor. However, we will not give an account to the Lord Christ about how large we grew our church, how impressive our church building was, or how many programs we ran. We will give an account for souls.
These four reminders were designed to move these men to see other means of grace that can, by God’s grace, inspire perseverance to discouraged and weary pastors. I was an encouraging time. The Lord seemed to have clearly met with us. Although a very brief summary of what was taught and discussed at length, I hope it will be helpful for all the pastors who might read it today and might stir them to hold fast in the place and ministry of which they find themselves.