Three out of the last four weeks I have been to the church I was Pastor of for just under two years. It had been the best part of a year since I had been there before that.
It is amazing how once you have Pastored a church how much love you retain for the church and the people who call the church home. You really do hold the people in your heart.
I can remember when I started at the church how much I prayed, “God help me to love and care for the people who call this church home. I pray that You will love them through me too”. It was on my heart and on my lips every day.
Looking back that was a big prayer to pray and I probably didn’t fully understand it when I prayed, but it was one that I feel God was very happy to answer. And He didn’t hold back!
This week I am preaching at the church. I am really looking forward to it. Although I am not Pastor, I want God’s best for the church that stills holds a big place in my heart. I am hoping to bless them all this week.
Early next week I will share the text, audio and PowerPoint on here.
One group of Pastors I really respect are Bivocational Pastors. Over the years I have known quite a few Pastors who work in a secular job during the week and Pastor their churches for little or no financial reward.
One of my heroes was a Pastor who worked four days a week for a furniture company for many years, so his church could purchase a building for them to hold services in. The money which would have paid him, paid for the church.
This example has always stayed with me. It has always inspired me. In my last role for my church I was paid a few days a week by the church. But over time this became tight for the church and very tight for us as a family.
As I said in a recent post about Elder based church leadership, country churches in our region have ageing populations and declining incomes. I think this will lead to more churches being led by Elders and/or Bivocational Pastors.
This is something I have been thinking a lot about lately. Now that I have a part-time job at our local hospital, being a Bivocational Pastor might be an option for us as a family. It would be a way for us to use our gifts and bless a church, and require little or no finances from the church.
It is something that will require a lot of prayer and discussion. And as with all things with God and His Kingdom, time will tell if this is something God wants for us!
Easter is a great time to stop and think about life – where we are at and where we are going.
Thirty years ago at Easter I explored the true meaning of Easter. I went to church with some friends and heard about Christ.
Over the coming months I explored the claims of the Bible and learned what the Easter message was all about.
I learned that at Easter Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for my sin on Good Friday and on Easter Sunday He rose to life.
Jesus conquered sin and death and He offered me a new life in Him as a result. In July of 1989 I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Saviour.
I found true and lasting peace with God. That day changed my life forever.
If you would like to find peace with God, you can visit this page on my website – Peace with God.
Since moving from the city to the country 12 years ago I have noticed a big change in our churches. Many are moving from having a Pastor to Elders based church leadership. When we moved to the WA Wheatbelt most of the four larger churches in our region had Pastors. Over time this has gone from full time Pastors, to part-time Pastors, to no Pastor at all.
Some of this has been because of declining finances and ageing church population. At other times it has been because some Pastors do not want to work in country towns. On the surface not having a Pastor on staff can be seen as a bad thing. But I have seen having a group of mature Elders as the church leaders work really well.
Generally most of the churches in our region have people in the church who have had some Bible training, have attended church for a long time, have a deep relationship with the Lord and are considered by all to have good character. These people are great as Elders. They pray, seek and discern God’s will and lead the church well.
The church that I was Pastor for two years has gone back to an Elders based leadership team. Some preach, some lead service, and they all do pastoral care. It works well. The church I attend at the moment will not have a Pastor soon and they will have to decide which direction they go in. I am happy if they chose a new Pastor or lead with Elders.
If we think about Elders based church leadership for a moment, the first thing we see is it is Biblical. The Apostle Paul set Elders in place of the churches he planted. That way when he moved on to another area he has people in place to look after the church.
In my last church I looked at the role of Elders right throughout the Bible. Right throughout the Bible the Elders have led the people, made decisions for the direction of the group, sought God in prayer and overseen their flock. This is true in both the Old Testament and the New.
So from my perspective Elders based church leadership makes sense in our regional context. With declining finances and ageing populations and Pastors not wanting to work in smaller regional towns it might just be the way forward.
I read this quote today and thought I would share it…
When we pray, remember:
- The love of God that wants the best for us.
- The wisdom of God that knows what is best for us.
- The power of God that can accomplish it.
William Barclay, Prodigals and Those Who Love.
Hebrews 13:16 NLT – And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God
I like how this verse says, “Don’t forget to do good and share with those in need” .
By saying “don’t forget” it implies we can forget. It is easy to get caught up in our own lives and lose sight of those around us.
Let us purpose in our hearts to not forget today!
Colossians 2:13-15 NLT – You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.  He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.  In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
In this passage there are seven truths about our relationship to God in Christ…
- We were dead in our sin
- We still had he sin nature we were born with
- We are now alive in Christ
- Jesus took our sins on the cross
- We are forgiven and set free
- We have no further charges for sin against us
- The spiritual rulers and authorities of this world have no power over us.
In the lead up to Easter, I am so thankful for what Jesus did for us on the cross. We are free from sin, set free and alive in Christ.