The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Managing the Flock

Why You Must Come Before the Flock: Guidance for Pastors & Priests

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When you’re zealous for God and eager to please Him in this great calling He has placed on your life, that’s a wonderful thing. God delights in souls who sincerely care about pleasing Him. But while you’re learning how to juggle the many aspects of shepherding God’s flock, there’s one very important principle which you need to keep a hold of: you matter, too. It’s not just about the little lambs under your care. God didn’t call you into this role just to perpetually give and never receive. Within the context of His personal relationship with you, God says your personal spiritual development is the top priority. This means that He is always going to be teaching you personally, even as He uses you as a conduit to minister to others. As far as God is concerned, what’s going on between you and Him is far more important than what’s going on between you and anyone else. God didn’t call you into this role just to use you to benefit others. God’s primary reason for calling you to serve as one of His shepherds is to draw you closer to Him. This is an easy thing to forget, because we’re told on all sides that pleasing God means being outwardly focused. Well, as much as God wants us to love others, He wants us to love Him first. This means our focus must be inward before it is outward. We must be allowing God to nurture our own souls before we try to go nurture others on His behalf. Read more of this post

Pastors & the End Times: Guiding a Flock in Crisis

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In this post, we are specifically speaking to shepherds in the Church who are actually authorized to function as shepherds by God. We’re not talking to all of you defiant rebels who are using the pulpit to exalt yourself and put words in God’s mouth that He never said. To grasp hold of the shepherding staff without God’s permission is to try and manipulate the flock for your own selfish gain. God is extremely protective over His flock. Those of you who are currently abusing the shepherding role are already in big trouble with Him and nothing we say in this post applies to you, because God does not consider you to be a legitimate leader in His flock. To you, all we have to say is this: repent and go home. Perhaps if you actually start submitting to the Holy Spirit, He’ll find some use for you. In the meantime, you’re just deadweight. Read more of this post

Praying for Your Flock in a Way that Honors God (Guidance for Pastors & Priests)

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You’re one of God’s shepherds and you pray for the sheep He has put under your care.

But why? What exactly is it that you’re hoping to accomplish by praying for your parishioners?

Certainly you’ve been taught to believe this is oh so important to do. But if you’re going to keep progressing in your own walk with God, it’s time to stop and think critically about what role prayer should have in your life.

Let’s sit you down at a table with God. He asks, “Why do you keep praying to Me about the souls I’ve brought into your congregation?”

What is your answer going to be? “Because I think You _________.”

How do you complete this sentence in a way that doesn’t insult God? You can’t. The real reason you pray to God about your parishioners is because you think He needs your guidance. And the reason you think He needs your guidance is because you don’t believe He’s doing the best He could do with all of His God powers. If you did, why would you advise Him? Why would you try to stick your oar into the water and give Him some helpful instruction? Read more of this post

Boundaries in Counseling: Avoiding Counselor Burnout

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Whether you counsel professionally or you’re the kind of person everyone likes to use for their sounding board in life, you’re going to end up drained and bitter if you don’t maintain some personal boundaries.

GOD COMES FIRST

While it’s commonly taught in the Church that we are supposed to run ourselves ragged trying to patch up everyone around us, this is not at all what God wants us to do. Each soul is on its own individual journey with God, and your relationship with Him needs to come before everything else. When you spend all your emotional resources trying to help others, God is the One you’re ripping off. God is the One you don’t have anything left for, God is the One you stop talking to, and God is the One you totally forget about. This is no good. God is first, people are second. Read more of this post

Renegade Ministries: Is it always wrong to defy the authority of the Church?

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Suppose the Holy Spirit starts calling you to serve Him in some very specific way. Of course there are other people on the planet who have already launched similar ministries, but none of them are doing things quite like you feel He wants them to be done. So you strike out on your own, and the next thing you know your pastor is coming down hard on you for trying to set up a ministry without the approval of the church.

Or suppose you do find some ministry organization that is doing what you feel strongly called to do. You eagerly sign up, but the problem is that you’re a renegade Christian who isn’t currently attending any church. So when they require that your pastor write them a letter of recommendation before they will consider allowing you to join their staff, it’s another stonewall.

Or suppose God leads you to some independent ministry that He is really speaking to you through. This group is cranking out material that is changing your life and the lives of your friends, and causing you all to feel super on fire for God. You’re dying to share what you’ve found with people at your church, but when your pastor finds out this ministry is not affiliated with any church organization, he condemns it as invalid and shuts you down anytime you try to talk about it.

Or suppose you are a pastor and one of your parishioners has become infatuated with some self-titled preacher or prophet on the internet. Now in every bible study and small group, this stranger’s opinions are being quoted like some Gospel authority and you feel like they are gaining too much influence over your flock. Read more of this post

Praying for the Sick

Praying for the Sick

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In the Church today we spend a lot of time praying for the sick to get well. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. When they do, we rejoice in the power of prayer. When they don’t, we feel confused, frustrated and sad. We wonder where we went wrong. If you’re tired of riding this roller coaster, or if you’re wondering how to respond to a sick friend who is asking for your prayerful intervention, then this post is for you. Read more of this post

Christian Posers

Christian Posers

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The next time you’re at church, look around at the congregation and ask yourself, “I wonder how many of these people really care about pleasing God?” If you knew the actual numbers, it would no doubt be very depressing. But why is this? Why do people show up to hear a sermon if they’re not really interested in what’s being taught? Because it’s entertaining. Many people whose hearts are closed towards God don’t feel the slightest twinge of conviction, even when they are confronted with bold truth. Going to church is just another form of entertainment, and the more dynamic the speaker is, the better the show. Read more of this post

Overcoming Carnality With Guilt

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Carnality is a major problem in the Church today. Our congregations are dragging under the weight of too many Christians who simply don’t care about serving God. The popular solution to this problem is to heap on the guilt. By breaking out condemning language and choice quotations from Jesus, we try to make souls feel so terrible that they’ll get up off their duffs and sign up to do something. Yet is this really an effective method? Can we shame people into loving God more? Clearly the Holy Spirit knows how to convict someone effectively, yet when we try to do His job for Him, both our methods and motivations are flawed. We often want people to act in ways that we consider spiritual so that we can feel more effective as leaders in the church. We want a harvest of results, and we feel justified in harassing people to serve because of verses we dig out of the Bible. Read more of this post