To The Man of Steel

My Dad

Preaching His Heart Out

A couple of days ago, I read a blog from Dr. Joe McKeever who was writing a letter of a new pastor, his friend. There were several interesting things he pointed out as he mentored his once disciple, current friend, and present colleague on the art of mastering ministry as a pastor. He himself is a pastor. I translated the key points into Spanish and read it to my dad since this was his second Sunday preaching in Newman, California at a small home-church that our local church, Oasis Community Center, is birthing. The blog sparked an interesting conversation between my dad and I on the difficulty that the men of God face as they take up this kind role; for it is not a authoritative position, but a job of service. McKeever titled his blog “Letter to a New Pastor”. I am dedicating these following blogs to the man in my life which I know as “the Man of Steel”. I am excited because this past Sunday evening, this word was confirmed. (I will soon share). So we both agreed that the following points as one accepts the call of pastor hood or ANY other position in the Kingdom were worth to mention:
-You are leaving the comfortable nest and trying your wings.
REALITY check: Sure as leaders, one will be the one who gets the credit but also takes the blame.

1) Remember to say ‘we’ and ‘our,’ not ‘I’ and ‘my.’ Our words impacts a person’s ministry and encourages faithfulness when we speak of and to them with the greatest respect. Let’s not forget the golden rule.

2) Never claim any authority. I could now put it in better words than Joe himself as he states, “Any time you tell someone you have authority, it lessens it. Serving the Lord and leading His church are servant jobs, not positions of authority. Slaves have no authority other than to help and bless and give and suffer. They take orders from the Master or the Master’s representative. So, if someone in the church gives you authority over them–and that’s the only kind you and I have in leading a church–it is their gift to us. We should wear it lightly, use it sparingly, and try not to let the recipient know they just saw it on display.”

3) Learn to listen. This is a universal skill much needed from both men and women.

4) Try not to overtalk. Ick! I have this problem. One of Pastor Susan’s classes for women included a book On the “Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” by Dr. Laura Schlessinger, reminded us that over-talking is not the best way to get your point across.

5) Conduct yourself with quietness and strength. Raising your voice to someone is not a sign of strength but of weakness. It says that you have lost control. So keep your cool.

6) Never put anything negative in a letter(even e-mails); deal with it personally. McKeever says that letters can develop a life of their own long after an issue has been resolved. (You know those emails or letters we stumble into from time to time, that all of the sudden brings a whole new revelation after re-reading them, what!? So, that’s why she told me that!). Problem and critic issues should be dealt personally or via phone. Positive remarks and recognition may be done in writing. Remember that literature revives every time a reader gives it an opportunity by reading exploring its interpretation.

7) Lower your expectations about the people that surrounds you. It does not mean you should distrust people. Rather it reminds us to remember what the Word says in Romans 3:23 “ALL have sinned” [including you]. Even God remembers that we will fall short of His own expectations (Psalm 103:13 “He is mindful that we are but dust.”) Moses gave his best to God’s people, yet they treated him harshly. So ugliness and unfairness is bound to come.

8.) Nothing is more important than staying close to the Lord. It’s not enough to satisfy the minimal requirements such as opening your Bible to study for Sunday’s sermon. You are not a chef who prepares food for others, but need to nourish yourself too (spiritually, mentally, and physically). So, FEED your SOUL.

9) Balance. In a culture where compulsive behavior is rewarded, balance lives is an endangered species. We overspend, under-exercise, and read less everyday. As Kingdom-minded people, we are called to live balanced lives spiritually, mentally, financially, and physically. So, yes, too much church work and no other part of your life being edified is NOT ok. Manage your time , set priorities, and keep your goals aligned with God;s will that will always result as the best choice for your life, family, and ministry.

10) Protect your Development. This includes three activities: 1) study time 2) prayer time 3) reflecting time to operate at your optimal level as a pastor or kingdom servant.

Dr. Joe ended his letter with a powerful phrase that I will share tomorrow with you.

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