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Focusing on What Really Matters as a Pastor

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Preached at the Ecclesiastical Law Center Pastors Conference in Mesick, MI.

The outline is attached below.

Focusing on What Really Matters as a Pastor

I. What really matters to me as a pastor?
1. Believing and teaching the truth (Psa 119:97; Psa 119:127-128; 2Ti 4:2).
2. Keeping God's commandments (Joh 14:15; Joh 14:21).
3. Seeing that the brethren are walking in truth (2Jo 1:4; 3Jo 1:3-4).
4. Worshipping Jesus Christ in spirit and in truth (Joh 4:23-24).
5. Seeking God after the due order (1Ch 15:13).
6. Ensuring the church is in good faith and order (Col 2:5).
7. Ensuring the church is unified in belief and purpose (1Co 1:10).
8. That the brethren are growing in the faith (Eph 4:11-16; 2Pe 3:18).
9. Protecting the church from heresy (Tit 1:9-14; Tit 3:10-11).
10. Ensuring that the church is pure and free from commonly known sinners (1Co 5:11-13).
11. Being an example to the church (1Ti 4:12).

II. "Is there not a cause" (1Sa 17:29) for what I do? What motivates me to take a stand on Biblical principles, preach on unpopular topics, and 'uproot’ the normalcy of ‘church polity?’
1. I love God more than anything or anyone else (Mat 22:37-38).
2. I love His church (Psa 27:4; Psa 84:1-2; Psa 84:10).
3. The zeal of His house hath eaten me up (Joh 2:17).

III. How do I stay focused on doing what God has called me to do?
1. I keep my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith (Heb 12:1-2).
2. I keep my eyes fixed on the prize (Php 3:13-14).
3. I keep my conversation focused on heavenly things, not earthly things (Php 3:20).

IV. How do I weed out those things that are dragging me down?
1. I try to root out pride and feelings of self-importance from my heart (Pro 26:12; Pro 6:16-17; Pro 8:13; Jam 4:10).
A. I remind myself that "it's not about me," but rather about God and His people.
B. I'd rather feel like giving up than be puffed up.
2. I try to stave off disappointment by focusing on the work that I am bidden to do, not the results or the feedback.
A. Let another man praise thee and not thine own mouth (Pro 27:2).
B. The size of the church or the number of converts is not the measure of the success of a pastor (Luk 12:32).
3. I spend my time feeding those who want to be fed, not trying to force feed those who don't.
A. As the old saying goes, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."
B. My focus is feeding those who, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word (1Pe 2:2).
C. I also endeavor to feed those who are mature in their faith with the meat that they need (Heb 5:11-14).
4. I have learned to spend a minimal amount of time answering critics who are not church members.
A. This is a waste of time (Pro 26:4).
B. I simply give them a link to a sermon or video I have done, and if they won't listen to it, then I don't respond to them (Mat 15:14).
5. I have learned to expect little from people.
A. If you expect much from people, most of them will disappoint you.
B. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick (Pro 13:12).
C. If a pastor tries to bring all of his church members to full maturity, he will burn himself out.
i. He must remember that there are 30, 60, and 100 fold Christians (Mat 13:23).
ii. To expect a 30-folder to be a 100-folder is a sure path to despondency.
iii. I have learned to adjust my expectations of people.
a. For those who have good attendance at church, I expect them to be there with rare exception; for those who don't, I try not to be surprised or disappointed when they tell me they won't be there on Sunday (though I often am, despite my effort).
b. For those who come to Bible studies, I expect them to come; for those who don't, I don't.
c. For those who are dependable, I depend on what they say they will do; for those who are not dependable, I pay no attention to what they say they will do.
d. For those who give what they should to the Lord, I expect them to do so; for those who don't, I don't.
D. I have learned to give people over to God who will not do what I preach from the word of God (1Th 4:8; 1Sa 8:7; Act 20:26-27; Eze 3:16-21).
6. I don't go looking for problems to solve in people's lives.
A. I let them come to me, and if they don't, it's on them.
B. Those that are wise will seek counsel, and I am happy to give it to them (Pro 1:5).
C. People that don't come to me for help don't want my help, and to offer my unsolicited advice will be a waste of my time, or worse (Pro 9:8; Pro 15:12; Pro 23:9; Mat 7:6).
D. "You can't fix people that don't want to be fixed; you can't change people that don't want to change." (Pastor Phil Jonker)
7. I don't waste my time getting involved in meetings with other "pastors" in the area or trying to fit in as one of them (2Co 6:14-18).
8. I try not to care about what others think of me.
A. It is a small thing to be judged of others (1Co 4:1-3).
B. God's judgment is the only thing we should be concerned with (1Co 4:4; 2Co 10:18).

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