WINDSOR, ONTARIO – Over a decade ago Thom Rainer asked several hundred church people to write down what they desired most in a pastor. “What kind of pastor do you want?”
Among other things, people said they want a pastor who:
loves the congregation
teaches from the Bible
has a good work ethic
casts a contagious vision
demonstrates healthy leadership
As you can see, serving as a pastor today demands much of us. Yet, God has called us! He has called us to be shepherds of the flock. He has called us to be pastors and teachers of his people. He has called us and anointed us to be leaders in the church of Jesus Christ, and that is what we are!
So, what kind of shepherd; what kind of pastor; what kind of leader should we be?
We need a sensitive heart
2 Timothy 1:4 – "As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy."
Apparently, the last time Paul and Timothy were together, there were tears. Maybe it was just before Paul was taken to prison by the Roman authorities. We’re not sure, but Timothy exhibits a sympathetic, supportive, and sensitive spirit. A young leader who was not ashamed of his tears….
He loved Paul and Paul loved him. That’s an indispensable ingredient for making disciples and leading a church. You must love your people. Paul said he had no one like Timothy, “who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.”
We need more pastors with a vulnerable heart.
We need a sincere faith
2 Timothy 1:5 – "I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well."
Timothy is the real deal. He may be a young leader. He may not be the strongest man on the block, physically or emotionally, but his faith oozes sincerity, honesty, and authenticity. All of that was first modeled for him by his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice.
I often think about the family God used to draw me to the gospel.
Andy and Ethel were ordinary people who loved Jesus. Andy was a firefighter, and Ethel was a nurse. They were genuinely concerned for my welfare and my salvation, and I saw something in their lives, in their home, and in their family that I had never seen before. As a result, when Ethel shared the gospel with me months after we first met, I listened carefully to what she said. She had earned my trust, and I knew that her faith was the real deal.
And soon I put my faith in the Lord Jesus. The faith that first dwelt in Andy and Ethel Storfield now dwells in me!
We are only one generation away from losing the gospel. If we take the gospel for granted in this generation, it will be neglected, ignored or abandoned in the next.
The young men and women in your community and in your church are watching you! So, pastors, let's model a sincere faith for them and for their parents and grandparents. We need church leaders of all shapes and sizes who will trust God for the impossible and take the next step to accelerate Gospel movement.
We need a divine calling
1 Timothy 1:6 – "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands…."
Let’s do ministry out of a sense of calling rather than a sense of duty.
Judging from the surrounding context of 1 and 2 Timothy, we might say that Timothy was not a spiritual giant. He appears to be physically weak, personally timid, and relatively young (1 Tim 5:23, 2 Tim 1:7, 1 Tim 4:12). However, God delights in using the weak and ordinary to demonstrate his mighty power! He specializes in putting broken pieces back together!
We all need to embrace our weakness. We don’t have what it takes. We are neither sovereign nor omniscient, nor invincible. We are not in control, and we don’t know everything. Weakness means that we desperately need God. And the plea for my own soul, and for yours, is that we embrace weakness, not despise it.
God has called you by his Spirit to love him and serve him in our Send Michigan family! I’d like to remind you today to fan into flame the gift of God. Be sure of your calling by God.
We need to be full of the Spirit
1 Timothy 1:7 – "…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
There is some debate about the word “spirit” and whether it should be capitalized. Does it mean that God gave us a human spirit not of fear, or does it mean that God has given us his Holy Spirit who is not a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control?
For several reasons I believe Paul is referring here to the Holy Spirit. God has given us the Holy Spirit so that we do not have to be afraid. We don’t have to be afraid of the fact that only a small percentage of Michigan’s population affirms the gospel of God to one degree or another.
God has given us the Holy Spirit so that we do not have to cower in fear every time we have a Board meeting at the church. God has given us the Holy Spirit so that we can leave a mark on our community and on the next generation.
That is how we will make disciples who live and lead like Timothy and push back the darkness in the state – in the power of the Spirit of God.
Spirit of God fall in this place,
Lord have Your way with us.
Fill us anew we pray.
Let your glory fall.
In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Garth Leno is the Pastor/Planter Care Specialist with the BSCM. He serves in a similar role with the Canadian National Baptist Convention, and he is the founding pastor of The Gathering Church in Windsor, Ontario, a church he planted with his wife, Patty, and a few of their friends.