Watch The Gauges In Your Life And Ministry

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Watch The Gauges In Your Life And Ministry

Post  fennywest on Thu 18 Oct 2012, 2:32 pm

By Rich Carmicheal
This past May three of us from the Herald office were blessed to attend The 6:4 Fellowship National Conference. The 6:4 Fellowship is a multi-denominational, pastor-to-pastor community, calling pastors and ministry leaders back to the Acts 6:4 priorities of ministry: Prayer and the Ministry of the Word. On pages 3-5 in this issue of the Herald, we have the privilege of sharing with you one of the messages from that conference Ė "The Supernatural Power Of Prayer AND The Word" by Mark Vroegop. We hope to share another message or two with you in upcoming issues.

I was reminded by the conference how important it is to provide continual encouragement to spiritual leaders as they carry burdens of ministry and are often stretched well beyond their own resources. Those of us in the Herald office are very thankful for the privilege the Lord grants this ministry to provide encouragement month after month to thousands of pastors and other leaders who receive Herald of His Coming. We thank the Lord for the testimonies from pastors who are personally edified through Herald messages, and who are also equipped in their own preaching and teaching. We are blessed to devote some special attention in this issue toward pastors, hoping to provide even more encouragement to those serving in this vital role.

If you are not a pastor, we believe the messages will nevertheless be of much benefit to you, especially since they focus primarily on the importance of prayer and the ministry of the Word. Along with your own personal edification, however, we hope this issue will stir you up to become more faithful in encouraging and praying for pastors. Their calling is vital as the Lord gave some "as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ" (Eph. 4:11-12). As spiritual leaders they have the crucial task of watching over our souls, as those who will give account. We need to honor them so their work over our lives can be done effectively and "with joy and not with grief" (Heb. 13:17).

With all of this in mind, I offer some truths I gleaned from one of the breakout sessions I attended at the conference. The session was led by H.B. London Jr. who served for twenty years with the ministry Focus on the Family as a pastor to pastors. The theme of the workshop was balancing the demands of ministry, and the main text was drawn from Paulís words to Timothy concerning his life and ministry:

"Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed upon you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you" (1 Tim. 4:12-16).
"Watch the Gauges"

Pastor London told the story of a time he was ministering to chaplains on a military base and had the opportunity to fly a helicopter simulator (a simulator imitates flight for training purposes, but does not actually leave the ground). As they prepared for the simulated flight, the instructor told him to not forget to watch the gauges. Pastor London sat in the left seat, and the instructor in the right, and they began flying. The instructor then put them into some turbulence and they began bouncing around as they flew over hills and valleys. He then put them into clouds, and Pastor London did not know if he was right side up or upside down, and he crashed the helicopter. As he stumbled out, nauseated somewhat from the vertigo, the instructor said to him, "Pastor, you forgot to watch the gauges."

Gauges are important because they help us keep our bearing. They are also important because they help us know how well an engine is running and if there are any problems. Pastor London suggested that just as there are gauges in helicopters or on the dashboards of cars to help with safe operation, so there are gauges that pastors can use to help them monitor the health of their lives and ministries.

As the text in First Timothy reveals, pastors have tremendous responsibility. They are to set an example for believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. They are to conduct themselves in light of the people who are watching their lives. They are to be men devoted to the Word of God, to preaching and teaching. They are to be diligent in spiritual matters, giving themselves wholly to them so that everyone may see their progress. Pastors need to be continually growing, developing and maturing in ministry.

And key to this is verse 16: "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teachingÖ." Or, another way to say this might be, "Watch the gauges of your life and ministry very carefully." Pastor London suggested that there are at least four gauges to which pastors should pay close attention:

"It Is Well With My Soul"

One of those gauges is the spiritual gauge. In his work with thousands of Christian leaders, Pastor London has discovered that so often the work of the church interferes with pastorsí relationships with God, and as a result they find themselves depleted, washed out, and subsequently with very little to give.

He recalled that in a discussion about the struggles of pastors, Jerry Bridges had shared with him how good it would be if before pastors preached or conducted other ministry, they could say to the congregation, "It is well with my soul." In other words, how good it would be if each pastor had the spiritual health and fullness to be able to say in effect, "As best I know, my hands are clean, and my heart is pure. And as I stand before you, I want you to know that I have been alone with the Lord, and I feel the anointing of God."

It is essential that pastors have an intimate relationship with God. They must have His personal presence in their lives and His anointing upon their ministries. With this in mind, Pastor London reminded us of the importance of spending time with the Lord and giving Him the first fruits of each morning. Pastors must pay attention to the spiritual condition of their lives so that it is truly well with their own soul.

Other Gauges
Another gauge that pastors should monitor is the physical gauge. As Pastor London pointed out, many pastors do not get enough rest, do not eat well, and are under a great deal of stress. As a result, they can face all sorts of physical issues. He shared that in dealing with many pastors through the years who were struggling in their ministries, the core of the problem for a good number of them was their physical condition. They felt lousy, did not have time for proper rest, and could never catch up. He therefore encourages pastors to remember that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and to give proper attention to their physical well-being. He also encourages churches to allow their pastors special seasons, such as periodic two or three day respites, to get away with their Bibles to rest, to spend time with the Lord and to refocus.

He also encourages pastors to take note of the emotional gauge. Most pastors are in congregations that have some emotionally draining situations and emotionally draining people. There is the need for pastors to learn how to deal with those situations and people who threaten their ministries. Otherwise, negativity can begin to define ministry, and pastors may become calloused or standoffish to avoid being hurt, and miss the opportunities that God puts in front of them. If you are not a pastor, you can deeply bless your pastor by expressing appreciation and by offering affirmation.

A fourth gauge is the family gauge. The encouragement here is for pastors to be able to say, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Pastor London shared that he is often asked how a pastor is to balance family and ministry. His answer is that pastors cannot balance them, but must manage them. Pastors will by necessity need to focus some days more toward ministry, and some days they will be able to focus more toward family. In order to allow more time for family, pastors should evaluate what events of the church family are really ministry-related and important. He also stressed the importance of pastors protecting their families from negative things in the church, and to be very careful of what they say in front of their children.

Warning Lights
He also reminded us of the significance of the check engine light on the dashboard of a vehicle. When this light comes on, it means that special attention is needed, and in some cases, you are to pull over and turn off the engine. He shared that in ministry there are a number of warning signs that constitute a "check engine" light, including:

ē When you begin to take shortcuts in ministry. Maybe no one knows it, but you do.
ē When you are not diligent to study and show yourself approved as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).
ē When you begin to compromise with members of the opposite sex. Pastors cannot be too careful because people can read into a comment or a touch something that was never intended.
ē When you know in your own heart that you are not giving proper time to Godís Word and to prayer.
ē When you allow any sexually explicit material into your life.
ē When you have unresolved issues at home.
ē When you have no close friend or anyone else to hold you accountable.
ē When you lose your focus and the vision for what God has in mind for you, and you begin to just go through the motions.

Pastors, if any of these warning signs are evident in your life, it is time to pull over and give proper attention to the problem(s). Too much is at stake, including the eternal well-being of souls, to ignore such serious matters. Remember the exhortation to "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you." Of course, the warning signs listed above are not just serious in a pastorís life, but in anyoneís life. If there are such problems in your life, heed the warning and address those problems now.

Pray for Pastors
Pastors are called by the Lord to tremendous responsibility regarding their lives and ministries, and one of the main ways we can bless them and their work is through our prayers on their behalf. Paulís exhortation could be spoken by all spiritual leaders: "Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me" (Rom. 15:30).

Let us, therefore, be faithful to pray for pastors. Pray that they will be filled with Godís Spirit, Godís Word, Godís wisdom, Godís anointing, Godís power, Godís love, Godís joy and Godís peace. Pray for them to be faithful in their study so that they may accurately and boldly preach the Word. Pray for their spiritual, physical and emotional well-being, and for the health of their marriages and families. Pray for the Lordís physical and spiritual protection upon their lives, their families and their ministries. Pray that you, and other people under their care, will make their work a joy instead of a burden. Pray for the abundant grace needed for them to fulfill their ministry. In this crucial hour for the church and the world, we need strong, godly, passionate, Spirit-filled and Word-centered spiritual leaders!


http://www.heraldofhiscoming.com/Past%20Issues/2012/September/watch_the_gauges_in_your_life_and_ministry.htm

Pray for you pastor
Pastors are not superstars
http://christian-talk.forumotion.com/t5904-pastors-are-not-superstars#11222



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