Life is full of chapters and seasons. For the past several weeks, God has opened some phenomenal opportunities. When I review them and think through them, I am overwhelmed. God has been so good to me.
I am not sure what all God is doing in my life, but I am blessed by the doors He is opening. Many of these doors are providing opportunities for me to minister in some unique and special places. I want to share a couple of them with you today.
Lenexa Baptist Church, Lenexa, Kansas & Pastor Steve Dighton
This church is one of the great works of God in America. From the state of Kansas, God has raised up a phenomenal church committed to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. What a story God has created over these past twenty-three years using Pastor Steve Dighton. In recent years, Steve and Mary have become friends to Jeana and me. We love them dearly and have great respect for them. The Lord has a mighty church in the greater Kansas City region!
Last night, I was with Pastor Steve, bringing the message in their Global Missions Conference. My friend, Aaron Coe, from the North American Mission Board preceded me in speaking. Aaron and I rejoice with Kevin Ezell, that Pastor Steve and Lenexa Baptist Church are Lead Partners in our SEND North America strategy of planting gospel churches in one of the 32 SEND cities in North America. What a joy to be here and invest in this phenomenal work of God.
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Jason Allen, President
Located in Kansas City, the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is one of the six seminaries entrusted to the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention. One year ago, God called Dr. Jason K. Allen to be the President of Midwestern Seminary. While I do not know Jason well, I’m hearing outstanding reports of God’s work through him in his first year. He and his wife, Karen, are the parents of five children. Pray for this man of God and his family.
I will have the privilege to speak to the Students, Faculty, and Board of Trustees of Midwestern Seminary on Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for us. If you live in the greater Kansas City region, join us on the campus of Midwestern Seminary. Most of us may not be aware, but through our six Southern Baptist Seminaries, we are equipping 15,000 future pastors, theologians, missionaries, and church leaders right now! What a vision! I get fired up just to think I get to invest in this one seminary by preaching their Chapel message on Tuesday. I am in great need of prayer.
No place like home
While I have enjoyed this season of investing, involving some unique travel, I am blessed that on Tuesday afternoon when I return to the office of Cross Church, I am pretty well finished with ministry travel for the year. For me, there is no place like home.
In fact, much is before us as we look toward next week, hosting the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. I am so blessed by this opportunity and know the privilege this is for Cross Church. Investing in others affects today, but also generations to come.
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. Floyd
As I surf the web, receive emails from ministries, and scan Twitter, I am absolutely amazed at the negativity and insinuations about Pastors today. Many writers and ministries take the view that Pastors are egotists, toxic, immoral, liars, or you name it. Well, I don’t buy it!
I believe in Pastors. To the skeptic, give Pastors a break. To the critic, Pastors are but men. To the cynic, Pastors are not what you think.
I have never met a perfect Pastor.
I have never met a Pastor who claims to be perfect. Yes, Pastors are but men, just like the Apostle Paul claimed before everyone. Therefore, as Pastors, we disappoint others at times and do not live up to their expectations. Pastors do not claim to be, and are not supposed to be perfect. I have had the privilege to preach in all kinds of places around this country, from churches, to conferences, to major conventions where Pastors are the major audience. I say it again: I have never met one Pastor who claims to be perfect. Not one!
WHY DO I BELIEVE IN PASTORS?
There are three reasons I believe in Pastors. Perhaps this will encourage you in some way.
1. Pastors are called by God to serve the church.
A Pastor’s calling begins when a man believes God is calling him into the ministry of the gospel. Then, there is a time where that man believes God is calling him to be a Pastor of a local church. In God’s timing, he is called to serve a particular local church.
When a man is called of God, he is set apart by God to do a specific service to God in a local church. His high calling as Pastor-Teacher of a local fellowship calls him to high scriptural qualifications. But he must always remember he is there to serve God’s people by enlisting, equipping, and empowering them to serve the Lord through His church.
I believe Pastors must give themselves to the three major priorities of:
- Feeding God’s people through the preaching of the Word of God.
- Leading God’s people to advance the gospel globally.
- Interceding for God’s people continually.
Yes, without any doubt at all, Pastors are called by God to serve the church of Jesus Christ. This is one of the reasons I believe in Pastors.
2. The office of the Pastor is a holy office.
The Scripture sets apart the office of the Pastor-Teacher. Specific qualifications are laid out in the Scriptures relating to this office. While men come and go, the office of the Pastor remains. Regardless of the man who serves presently or the men who will follow him, it is the office that deserves our commitment.
God has ordained the office of the Pastor-Teacher to have a spiritual leader who leads God’s people into the likeness of Jesus Christ. From his role as servant and leader, he is to lead with humility, grace, and dignity. He is both responsible and accountable for the spiritual development of the church, the people of God.
Some believe that Pastors should not be honored at all, and when you honor them, it is bad for the church. I have a great Arkansas word for that: Hogwash! It is not about honoring the men, but the office. Yet, at the same time, let’s not forget what the Bible teaches: Honor those where honor is due. One also cannot deny what Hebrews 13:17-18 says,
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
We love and honor Pastors because they are called by God to serve the church, and do so from an office that is set apart by God in the Scripture. This is another reason I believe in Pastors.
3. Pastors are giving their lives to make a difference.
Whether a Pastor is bi-vocational or able to serve a church full-time; whether a Pastor leads a small membership church or a large membership church, I have never, and I mean never, met a Pastor who did not want his life to count greatly for God. Oh yes, a few may have lost their spark due to the trials of life or the torrential waters of local church ministry, but the vast, vast majority are men who want to make a difference with their lives.
Many could do high and great things in the world, but they could not get away from the powerful call of God. In fact, even though they honor the office of the President of the United States, most believe that it would be a step down from their God-ordained calling, serving as a local church Pastor, for them to serve as President.
I love and believe in Pastors because they are giving their lives to make a difference for the gospel of Jesus Christ. The vast majority of these men of God are highly committed to advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I believe in Pastors. Will you?
Yes, I have been clear: I believe in Pastors. The question now is: Will you?
If you are a Pastor: Believe in other Pastors. Encourage them. Love them. Accept them. Refuse to criticize them. Humble yourself to learn from them. Learn to rejoice with them. Weep with them. Pastors need other Pastors as friends – personal friends, not just colleagues.
If you are a church member: Love your Pastor. Accept your Pastor. Pray for your Pastor. Encourage your Pastor. Honor your Pastor. Stand with your Pastor.
My prayer is that we will all take a breath. Give each other a break. Refuse to get in the skeptic/critic/cynic lane of traffic relating to leaders today, even Pastors.
A final word of counsel: Always take the high road in your relationships in life: There is never a traffic jam there.
I Believe in Pastors,
Ronnie W. Floyd