Most of our SBC churches average about 65 or less in attendance. My experience has been that the pastors who lead these churches are the epitome of faithfulness.
Bivocational pastors lead many of these churches.
For more than 30 years I have been saying bivocational pastors are my spiritual heroes. I have a special place in my heart for pastors who basically are working two full-time jobs.
These men have a passionate commitment to serve a local church that cannot pay them a full-time salary.
Lots to balance
They work in the marketplace, provide for the physical and spiritual needs of their families and fulfill their calling as a pastor. They prepare messages, make hospital visits, counsel people, preach at funerals, officiate weddings, work on budgets, train volunteers, problem solve and work to fulfill the Great Commission by making disciples.
They are often criticized about the style of the church’s music, the temperature in the church, the passage they are preaching from or an announcement a member thought should have been made.
The Bible tells us to give honor where honor is due. I honor these men today for their faithfulness. I also honor their wives who serve with them and make sacrifices and experience many heartbreaks. These are modern-day heroes serving on the frontline of ministry.
Georgia Baptist Mission Board via Facebook
God’s Word is transformative. It does me no good to simply listen to or read that Word on autopilot without really taking anything in. Instead, I’m now praying to let it consume, work in and transform my life each day.
Living on autopilot
“It is a command. It’s not a suggestion,” said Caitlyn Robnett, a member of Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, on the Great Commission, parenting and discipleship. “I just feel very passionate about it. I don’t want to just raise a good Christian kid. I want to raise a disciple who makes disciples.”
“In its simplest form, evangelism is just living out the golden rule,” said Daniel Wilson, director of evangelism for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. “If I were still lost in the guilt of my sin and hopeless without Christ, I’d want someone to tell me about God’s wonderful love for me.”
“God loves everyone and wants them to be saved … [This is] about eternal death or eternal life. It’s very serious,” said Eugene Zhang, who is leading a house church movement in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“When a woman changes her mind about abortion and chooses life, every generation to follow that baby is saved as well,” said Chris Veteto, who serves as clinic director for Birth Choice, a pregnancy resource center in Jackson, Tennessee. “We have gotten to see it play out now because we’ve been here so long.”
“In Bible reading, we’re not trying to master the Bible. … We’re trying to be mastered by the Bible — by the Master of the Bible. It’s about a heart relationship with God,” said George Guthrie, professor of New Testament at Regent College.
“Part of a conversation is talking, but a big part is listening and asking good questions and being attentive,” said Daniel Blackaby, founder of thecollision.org.
“There is some sort of magic in hanging out with people that are nothing like you, and these people just focused on celebrating what they agreed on, which was Jesus,” said Jon Erwin, co-director/producer for the film “Jesus Revolution.”
“Our vision must be based in reality, which includes difficult times, and difficult times require perseverance,” said Willie McLaurin, interim president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, speaking during national Woman’s Missionary Union’s annual January board meeting.
“It’s impossible for a Christian to ever encounter any situation where God’s grace will not be sufficient.” Hershael York, pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort, Kentucky
From the Twitterverse
Just a quick reminder from Henri Nouwen: “A minister’s task is not to keep people busy but to help keep them from being so busy that they miss the active but hidden presence of God.”
Without faith it is impossible to please God. Does your life accurately reflect what you say about who God is?
A man may make mistakes, but he isn’t a failure until he starts blaming someone else. —Coach John Wooden
“We want to be relevant … However, the more relevant we become to a sin-dominated world, the more irrelevant we actually are to God.”
Lord, help us to focus on what’s valuable by living for what’s eternal and for those aspects of this life that will endure into the next, becoming truly everlasting.
“Keep the walls of separation as low as possible, and shake hands over them as often as you can.”
—J.C. Ryle on Christian unity as quoted by @mike_reeves in Gospel People
One thing we all have in common … our need for Jesus.
Herein lies the difference between me-centered Christianity and biblical Christianity:
Me-centered Christianity rejects not the cross where Jesus died, but the cross where you too must die — just as He died. The way of Jesus requires that we take up our cross daily and follow Him.
All of us have been hurt, and all of us will be hurt in the future so we can validate our dislike, or even hatred of others.
But I’ve always admired people who are consistently kind, forgiving and who extend the benefit of the doubt. I hope my life is marked by those responses.