Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pastoral Goals... Convictions... Values

As I prepare to begin my pastorate at Memorial Baptist Church I've tried to write out and articulate some of my personal goals. These aren't in any particular order but it is helpful to me to continue fleshing them out in some form so that I can more clearly communicate the Biblical convictions the Lord has laid on my heart. I also publish them here so that it will spur on thought and conversation in your minds as well. This isn't a mission statement or a strategy so I'm not interested in how I can make them more simple, memorable, or catchy. These are simply things that I pray and aim for as the Word does it's work in and through my life.

Ten Pastoral Goals:

1. To model Biblical headship as the priest, prophet, protector, and provider of my home (Ephesians 5:25-33; Genesis 2; Job 29)

2. To equip the body and proclaim the gospel through systematic Biblical expository preaching (1 Timothy 4:13-16; Ezekiel 37)

3. To lead the church in the development of a Biblical worldview and a Kingdom perspective in all things (Colossians 1:15-20; Daniel 1)

4. To make clear a Biblical understanding of the gospel and of conversion (Ephesians 2:1-10; Ezekiel 36)

5. To oversee the teaching and application of Biblical theology throughout the church (2 Timothy 2:14-26; 2 Kings 22-23)

6. To shepherd an authentic Biblical community which includes both formative and corrective church discipline (Galatians 6:1-6; Joshua 2, 7)

7. To guide a congregationally governed church led by Biblically qualified pastors and deacons (1 Timothy 3; Proverbs 3)

8. To cast and implement a vision for Biblical world mission to spread the gospel and the glory of God to all peoples (Acts 1:1-8; Psalm 67)

9. To develop a culture of sacrifice and service through a Biblical lifestyle (Acts 2:36-47; Micah 6)

10. To restore the Biblical model of marriage and family (Ephesians 5:22-25; 6:1-4; Deuteronomy 6)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pursuing a Culture of Sacrifice

Romans 12:1-2 teaches us how we are to follow God. After presenting eleven chapters of theology (which bursts into doxology in 11:33-36) Paul gives us five chapters of how to live that theology out.

Martin Luther once said,
“It is through living, indeed through dying... that one becomes a theologian, not through understanding, reading, or speculation.”

So Romans 12:1-2 say to us- ‘this is what it looks like to live out a God-centered life’. Essentially Paul says that we are to build our lives on the mercies of God (“therefore… by the mercies of God”), give our lives completely to God (“present your bodies a… sacrifice”), and shape our lives by the Word of God (“be transformed by the renewing of your mind”). When the people of a church begin to follow God this way nobody will be arguing over what songs to sing or who gets to be in charge of something or who what kind of people will be welcomed on the pew. The church will be defined by a culture of sacrifice and that will point people outside the church to the ultimate sacrifice by our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 12:3-21 fleshes out what a culture of sacrifice looks like. It is my aim that as the pastor of Memorial Baptist my preaching, my lifestyle, my behavior, my marriage, and even my little ‘ole blog would demonstrate what it means to follow God this way. It is my hope that as this mindset and lifestyle becomes contagious our church would be marked as having a culture of sacrifice and would passionately point people to the saving sacrifice.

Following the Call

As many of you who read this blog (which is a few) already know, God has graciously opened a door for me to serve as the pastor of Memorial Baptist in Port Arthur, TX. Last weekend I went to preach in view of a call and the congregation unanimously called me to be their pastor. Blair and I are excited about what God is doing through us to minister in our community and with Memorial Baptist. You can understand there is also an overwhelming sense of the responsibility and challenges ahead. I believe in a very simple ministry philosophy- preach the Word, live the Word, and shepherd others to follow the Word. Isaiah 55:10-11 is clear that God's Word will accomplish its purposes and the Lord has laid on my heart that if Blair and I will simply trust in Him and be faithful to His Word, He will accomplish great things for the Kingdom.Naturally there is sadness for me because I am bringing to a close a chapter in my life that is youth ministry and particularly the rewarding ministry at First Baptist Groves. For Blair, she will be leaving the only church she has ever known or been a member of so you can imagine how difficult that is. We covet your prayers and I promise to use this blog to keep everyone informed on what's going on. This blog will also serve as a posting site of the regular newsletter articles I'll be writing to my new congregation in the church newsletter. Keep checking back to read prayer requests and praise reports!