Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the SBC of Virginia’s Young Pastors Summit (for pastors under the age of 35, but they let me attend anyway). It was a time for encouraging one another and for networking with current and future ministry leaders. We had the opportunity to hear from Executive Director Brian Autry (@brianautry) on the Battlefield of Ministry and from IMB president Tom Elliff on Prayer and Leadership. I don’t usually attend these events due to ministry constraints and, honestly, a lack of desire on my part. But I went… and I’m glad I did. Here are a few gleanings from what I heard and experienced.
1. There are some great young men leading churches in Virginia. I am encouraged by the heart of servanthood that I witnessed and the real love for the people in their churches.
2. Pastors need encouragement… This is not a plea from me… I am blessed beyond measure by our church family at OPBC. But burnout doesn’t come because pastors are work weary… burnout comes because the negative vocal few always seem to outweigh the encouraging, praying many. Be vocal TO your pastor about your support… AND be vocal to your negative friends.
3. I was especially encouraged and challenged by the words of Tom Elliff on prayer and leadership. Here are a few snippets…
PERSONAL PRAYER: Dr. Elliff encouraged us from his own prayer life with 7 prayers that he prays every day. I will be adopting this in my own prayer life and encourage you to do the same.
- Pray for a pure heart.
- Pray for a looming sense of God’s presence and your role as His ambassador– fear of God.
- Pray for the fullness of the Holy Spirit
- Pray that you will exhibit the gifts and graces of the Spirit
- Pray that you will not do or say anything that would give the enemy opportunity to mock Jesus
- Pray for the welfare (physical, emotional, spiritual) of your children/ grandchildren BY NAME
- Pray that God would keep you faithful to the vision.
RISK IN LEADERSHIP: Dr. Elliff told a story of playing golf at Augusta National. His caddie for the day had caddied for all the greats at various times. As they came around “Amen Corner” at hole 13, Dr. Elliff asked the caddie for a short iron to lay up short of the water so he could chip on to the green. The caddie told him… “You didn’t come all the way from Oklahoma to LAY UP… take out your 5 wood and hit it on the green… you may not make it… but then again you might. You didn’t come all this way to LAY UP.” Words of wisdom for pastors and leaders… and for all who call themselves followers of Christ. Jesus did not bring us out of darkness into light… from death to life… so that we could play it safe and LAY UP. Righteous risk will demonstrate that we trust the power of Jesus Christ more than we trust our own ability… No more LAY UP shots… We’re going for it… because there is no REAL risk when we are safe IN JESUS CHRIST.
EFFECTIVENESS vs. MERE SUCCESS: Finally, Dr. Elliff looked at the Apostle Paul’s ministry through the grid of effectiveness vs. mere success. Here are a few of the thoughts…
- Mere Success is fleeting and easily forgotten… Effectiveness changes the landscape of life
- Mere Success is about numbers… Effectiveness is about NAMES
- Mere Success is about appearance… Effectiveness is about REALITY
- Those concerned with Mere Success seem to think they affect MORE people than they actually do… those concerned with Effectiveness seem to think they affect LESS people than they actually do.
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, (Romans 1:1)
Effective Leaders will have confidence in God and will be fully surrendered as a bond-servant… bearing the marks of the master through suffering… showing the glory of the master by faith in His goodness and greatness… WE WILL HAVE SCARS… because we are no better than our Master…
No Scar – Amy Carmichael
Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star,
Hast thou no scar?
Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers, spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned:
Hast thou no wound?
No wound, no scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And, pierced are the feet that follow Me;
But thine are whole: can he have followed far
Who has no wound nor scar?