In the wake of recent events, I’ve penned this letter out of grave concern for your well-being.
It seems lately that some of your kind have fallen away.
It’s been said that where there is smoke, you can expect fire. For those of us watching, it was obvious in those circumstances what was going to happen.
Some of us have scattered, while others have stayed. Some of us are exiles, hoping that one day amends can be made for the injustice we found within the walls of the churches we once knew as home.
You see pastor, you can never underestimate power of observation. Every Sunday, every time you step into the pulpit, or step out of it, we’re watching.
We’re not watching because we want to see you fall. We’re watching because we admire you. We’re watching because we look you up to you and we need you. As you might remember, the call upon your life is serious and sobering. Its demands are firmly outlined in the playbook. Our brothers Timothy and Titus laid out the full structure for your qualifications to serve us.
Have you met these qualifications, pastor?
Check again. And make sure in this commitment that you’ve pledged your head to heaven. Calling others to repent has never been terribly popular and it’s not likely to become mainstream anytime soon.
Please take a moment to consider or re-consider your motivation.
We’ve seen the results of those who were only in this for the income or were merely taking things for a test drive. We’ve even seen those who were in this just because they were related. Did it ever cross your mind that they may not even want to be in ministry? Is there any evidence in their life or your life to suggest you were even called in the first place?
We just want to know that you’re for real.
We want to know that what you say on the Sabbath isn’t just a feel-good, morally-therapeutic, self-help, pep talk. If that were the case, you’d be nothing more than a trivialized, motivational speaker. We need you to live and breathe the true gospel, pastor.
We hope it’s the latter, and not the former. We hope it’s still in your heart to build God’s Kingdom and not your own. If it isn’t, please move on.
If business is where your heart is, then why are you still here? If you wanted to construct your own empire, then you’re better off selling insurance, instead of using the pulpit to promote your own agenda.
Pastor, this is not your church. It never has been.
We have a Pastor whose glory far supersedes your own and His name is Jesus. He doesn’t need you, but He has graciously invited you to serve us on His behalf. And this is what we expect; to be served. Not as a waiter in a restaurant, but as a leader, teacher, and instructor in the spiritual well-being of our souls. We need you to guide us.
We need your heart to feel heaven’s passion, to preach it with conviction, and to illustrate the way for us, as God has for you. We need you to be accountable, to guard your heart from the perils of moral failure, excess, and apathy.
Teach us to serve as you have and we’ll be sure to follow. Learn to love us as God has loved you, and we’ll be sure to love others the same. We’re here to help you. There’s not a single one of us who can do this alone, but the initiation all starts with you.
We need you to study to show yourself approved. We need you write your own sermons. And when you do, use the words that move your heart because these are words that will move ours. We need God’s word.
More than food, we need our spirits to learn to live and shine in a dark world.
Some of us, like sheep, will have to be rescued from our own stupidity. We will need discipline shrouded in the arms of God’s love. We don’t need you to skirt the matter, choosing to address it in a Sunday sermon, instead of face-to-face. We need the Truth, straight up, even if it stings. Only then will we grow.
We don’t need you to be cynical or compromising in character for the sole sake of numbers and growth. We need you to get over those who have left, choosing instead, to go after those who are still in this and soon will be.
We need you to live your life based on what you're about (Jesus), not what you're against.
We need you to live holy (above reproach).
We need your wisdom and experience.
We need you to fear the Lord.
We need you to pray…often.
Sometimes, we just need Jesus with skin on. You don’t always have to speak. In fact, we’d love it if sometimes you just chose to listen.
I hope you hear these words, pastor. I'm sure this all sounds like a lot of work, because it is. But there are those of us who look to walk in your shoes. Like you, we’re preparing to lead the local body of Christ.
We want to help. So, please help us either to serve or to be sent.
It’s a sobering call, but we’re serious about it and the legacy you're leaving is the one we’re most likely to follow.
Graciously and Sincerely,
The Local Church
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