Tag Archives: Pastors

VBS Reflections

11147251_495793450585362_77443092035838136_n[1]VBS ended tonight.  It was a great week.

In fact, as I write, it’s 11 p.m. on Thursday night, and I only just now remembered that I needed to write a blog for Friday morning. That’s not happened all year. So, it was a busy day.

I served all four nights of Camp Kilimanjaro, which is more nights than all the previous times that I had served at a VBS in my entire lifetime. In fact, keep this a secret, but I think I’ve only served at a VBS once before (head hung in shame). But I did again this week. I wonder if it had something to do with the fact that my sweet wife is in charge of children’s ministry now at Edgewood?

For my labors, I have been presented a carabineer, for future expeditions up the real African mountain, I’m sure. But I have a bit of vertigo, so I’m guessing the only time I actually will get to Mount K will be when it is the renewed Mount Kilimanjaro in the New Heavens and the New Earth. And who knows, maybe that will be sooner than we think.

Teaching the lessonBut I digress.

I was reading Ephesians 4 and thinking about Diane’s role as the VBS leader. Paul writes about her, and others like her in verses 11 – 13…

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, Ephesians 4:11-13 (ESV)

You didn’t see VBS leader or Children’s Ministry Director next to the esteemed list of biblical offices like apostles and prophets and shepherds. But it is there, at least in principle.

And the principle is this: Diane’s role is not to do the ministry; it is to train and equip others to do the ministry. Same thing for a pastor like me.

It wasn’t always this way. During the Middle Ages, the idea was that the priest did everything. Everything. You know, marry and bury, of course, but also evangelism and administration and anything else that needed to be done to make the Kingdom go forward. I guess all the people just cheered him on. Or not.

But God never meant it to be this way, and the pastor(shepherd)’s job is not actually to do the ministry, but to help others do the ministry. Get this backward and you have the grave situation of the Middle Ages. But make it biblical, turn it around, and you get(with the Holy Spirit!)…the most remarkable revival in the history of Christendom, a.k.a., the Reformation.

So VBS – Diane might have done the bulk of organizing this terrific week, but it was not her actual work to do. Her job was to recruit and train others. And the others? They do the work of building up the body of Christ…until we all look like Jesus.

A volunteer named Keith who had been at every night said to me after the curtain came down tonight: “I’ve had more fun this week than I’ve had in years.” Glory to God.

I’m just glad that Diane didn’t keep all the fun to herself.

For Monday, June 29th: Ephesians 5

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Posted by on June 26, 2015 in Uncategorized


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The Pastoral Payday

It’s a rather gauche topic, I’ll admit, but since the Bible broaches the subject of pastoral paydays, I don’t think it wrong that I do the same. Today is payday at Edgewood.

It actually comes every two weeks on Friday (though direct deposit actually gets it to me a day early) and I think I speak for all the staff when I say it’s a rather important day. Payday keeps things running pretty smoothly around our household, and it would be a bummer should it one day stop. So…color me thankful for the 9th chapter of 1 Corinthians, where Paul states clearly that…

“…the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 9:14 (ESV)

Now, Paul says that he himself does not partake of a “pastoral payday”, and his teaching here is part of a larger argument about demanding rights. As Paul has rejected the right to make a living by the gospel, in the same manner, he asks the Corinthians to be willing to give up their right to eat meat sacrificed to idols as they look out for their weaker brothers.

But in the process, he establishes very clearly that gospel work is worthy of a wage:

Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk? Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 1 Corinthians 9:7-11 (ESV)

It leads me to consider what effect this teaching has had on the world.  To be sure, many gospel ministers all over the globe are bi-vocational or completely volunteering their time, and for these pastors and gospel workers I am extremely thankful. Their sacrificial labor is a great blessing to the Kingdom of God. But in the plan of God, Paul’s inspired teaching here and elsewhere has empowered the unhindered spread of the gospel all over the world. And through this instruction, missionaries and pastors like me and millions of others have been given the gift of time, so that in response, they might give themselves fully to their work in the harvest fields of the world. Glory to God!

So I’m thankful that 2,000 years ago the Spirit led Paul to explain that God wasn’t really that concerned about muzzling oxen, but muzzling ministers. And I for one, am not muzzled as I seek to preach the gospel and equip the saints for works of service.

And because of this, in the words of the Apostle, I am a plowman…who has plowed in hope. (1 Corinthians 9:10)

Monday, May 18th: 1 Corinthians 10


Posted by on May 15, 2015 in Uncategorized


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