The trials associated with pastoral ministry are not new and you’re not alone.
The words peace, grace, faith, and love permeate this book and are all purposely planted in the Ephesian benediction to remind his readers of the beauty and power of the gospel. In this, Paul keeps the proclamation of the gospel primary. Faithful pastors must do the same in every facet of their ministries, whether preaching and teaching, casting vision, or providing pastoral care and counsel, the gospel must be the primary language the pastor speaks to those whom he shepherds.
Should a pastor conduct the wedding of two non-Christians? What about a Christian marrying a non-Christian? Are there any circumstances in which a pastor should not marry two Christians?
These are questions I hear all the time from other pastors. What makes it permissible to conduct a wedding in this or that situation, and when should a pastor say no?
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.