Thursday, November 26, 2009

He who thinks he knows something does not know as he ought to know

Good morning my friends.

For the most part I have met some really terrific pastors and elders over my 38 years as a Christian. They have been hard workers, giving beyond their own means of strength and energy. They have been kind and loving, going out of their way to show a shy person, such as myself, that I mattered to the Lord. They have been generous, giving out of their own need to cover their neighbour. However, I have also met some pastors who did not have a clue what it meant to be a pastor, and they did more damage than good.

The fact is that not everyone who serves in the office of pastor has been chosen by the Spirit for that office; instead they were chosen by man. It is okay for us to choose the deacons but the elders must be called, chosen by the Spirit. If they are not called, they are not equipped and that is a dangerous thing. I do not know about you but I would rather not have a doctor examining me who has not been equipped in his training. That is the difference with being called by God and chosen by man. Man cannot train and equip an elder and cannot see what God sees in a man's heart. The Spirit equips supernaturally and also through the experience of life. Without this equipping a person cannot do what a pastor needs to do.

Consider Paul's attitude:

Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness. vs. 24-25

 Paul's attitude? "I have become its (the Church) servant". That is not an easy attitude to maintain when you have not been called by the Spirit because that is what elders are in the Church; servants. When we get men and women in there who were chosen by man and not called by God we end up with people who lord it over the sheep, making demands, manipulating and abusing. They will also neglect the needs of the people for their own selfish gain.

Consider Jesus' attitude, the great Shepherd. Anyone who reads through the gospels, even just a brief read, will recognize that Jesus came to serve. He spent all of his days waiting on people, preaching the good news, casting out demons and healing the sick. Jesus was in the repair business. The Creator walking among his creation and he served by making the broken whole again. He loved the lost, cared for the rejected and was compassionate toward the oppressed, whether oppressed by demons, illness or deformity. All of his days were spent going from one group of people to the next, not tending to his own needs except his need for the Father. Jesus was in every sense of the word a servant and he taught those who followed him that they must also become a servant.

We need to stop making the same mistake over and over again by choosing the elders according to man's criteria instead of by God's calling. We are causing too much damage to the Church by putting people in place who do not understand the basic premise that in the Kingdom leaders lead by serving the Church. Elders are the foot washers, they are the healers, the teachers, the casters out of demons, they are the hand holders, the comforters, the correctors, the givers, the protectors and whatever else the Church needs at the time. They are not kings whose commands must be obeyed, or dictators whose every whim must be followed, or princes who must be waited on to have their every need met. The Kingdom, the Body and the various offices of the elders is so much more than this. Let us stop messing up the thing and leave it to the Spirit to do the calling.

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