Friday, October 8, 2010

A Pastor Must Have a Great Heart if He Would Have a Great Congregation

A congregation has not been entrusted to a pastor that he may become its accuser before God and man. -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

In my preparation for preaching on 1 Thessalonians 1:4-6 in one of my Lead breakouts, I was blessed tremendously by this commentary on the chapter from Ray Ortlund in The Gospel Coalition's Themelios Journal. Here is an excerpt from his conclusion, half of which belongs to Charles Spurgeon:
When the risen Lord of the church sends you to a people as their pastor, he is not sending you to them as their critic but as their friend. They may be immature. They may be bogged down in tradition or dazzled by neomania. But they are yours by the gracious appointment of Christ, and you will know them forever. If you hope for the gospel to work in their hearts with power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction, as of course you do, then don’t just preach to them; desire them. Desire not what they can do for you but what you can do for them. Love them, enjoy them, delight in them, honor them. When other pastors gripe about their churches, you set another tone. Lift your people up. Be their champion and defender. They are your glory and joy at the Second Coming. I close with Spurgeon:
A man who is to do much with men must love them and feel at home with them. An individual who has no geniality about him had better be an undertaker and bury the dead, for he will never succeed in influencing the living. . . . A man must have a great heart, if he would have a great congregation. His heart should be as capacious as those noble harbors along our coast, which contain sea-room for a fleet. When a man has a large, loving heart, men go to him as ships to a haven and feel at peace when they have anchored under the lee of his friendship. Such a man is hearty in private as well as in public; his blood is not cold and fishy but he is warm as your own fireside. No pride and selfishness chill you when you approach him; he has his doors all open to receive you, and you are home with him at once. Such men I would persuade you to be, every one of you.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the edification. Spurgeon's quote is awesome.

Matt Kleinhans said...

Brutally convicting and inspiring simultaneously, Jared. Thanks for this. May the Lord increase my heart for His people.