The story of the Exodus helps us greatly in understanding the impossible task of leading, shaping, strengthening, and pastoring a church. Throughout the book of Exodus, Moses records in great detail the condition of the people. They are most assuredly a broken and exhausted people. He is the prophet who holds this great promise for them, a promise given to them by the Word of the Lord, but a promise in the face of such massive trial by a short sighted people will prove to be Moses' greatest joy and greatest place for frustration as well. In steps Jethro, the father-in-law to Moses, and he has something to offer.
Humility, not humiliation, is essential. Growing downward was a practice in preaching the gospel to himself that many in ministry, especially those in a revitalization setting, should strive for. It was the seed that blossomed patience. But not merely patience in isolation, it also led to perseverance in his ministry, something all pastors, but especially those revitalization must possess.
Paul instinctively recognized that an entropic principle was at work in the church from the very beginning. Church revitalization was an integral and prominent strategy in all three of his recorded missionary journeys. Without the constant work of reformation and revitalization, local churches will disintegrate into gospel lethargy and ineffectiveness. When this impulse for church revitalization is coupled with his constant agony for the wellbeing of the early churches evidenced in his epistles, Paul’s stature as a church revitalizer is profoundly evident.
Why are we so anxious? Because we aren’t just thinking people. We are feeling people. We don’t simply navigate life with our intellect. We experience life with our hearts, which is why Jesus spoke so often about our hearts. We are not simply motivated by truths that we comprehend, but also by what we feel and experience… which means we are often driven by a wide variety of fears, pains, and feelings of shame.
As a church leader, revitalizer, or church-planter the desire to be faithful at shepherding Christ’s flock must include that no group ever feels overlooked or rejected because they’re different. Unfortunately, too many pastors have not yet seen the need to be intentional at reaching out to the oft-slighted disabled people among them as part of their church growth strategy.