Pastor, the good things that are ahead of you and your congregation in 2022 are more about who you are than what you can accomplish. Character before capacity. Integrity before action. Be before do. Whatever your new direction or big plans, focus on these 5 daily pastoral rhythms in the new year.
I still believe the best days of Southern Baptist Great Commission cooperation are ahead of us, not behind us. For this to be reality, at some point the competition must stop, even to the crowd’s disappointment. We must return to fighting with and for one another instead of against one another. If we are to rise to the Great Commission opportunities God has placed before us in the next generation, we’ll have to walk away from the ring shoulder to shoulder, not knowing or caring who won some of these fights. We were cooperators before we were competitors. Let’s resolve today to be cooperators now, too.
Pastor, there are many things in ministry beyond your control that often necessitate the exertion of more strength than normal. But if you are not regularly sharpening your axe, you may be exerting more strength than is necessary. I’m as guilty as you are, often swinging away with painful dutifulness when a quick trip to the shed would promise both a more fluid rhythm and a better cut. Sometimes you need to stop and create space to sharpen your axe. If it is success in your calling you desire, capture the advantage of wisdom by sharpening your axe. Here are 5 axes for the pastor to regularly sharpen.
The trendy argument that healthy relationships are necessary for effective evangelism is more ad populum than ad veritatum. It’s what we want to hear, not what we need to hear. I am thankful for those who put so much effort into statistical Christian research with an eye on strengthening churches toward effective evangelistic growth. But as the Bible teaches and history demonstrates, as important as healthy relationships are to the human experience, relational equity is not a prerequisite to effective gospel witness. Gospel power transcends relational equity.
Southern Baptist cooperation, especially through seasons of crisis, is evidence of that “spiritual harmony” by which the churches endeavor to secure “the great objects of the Kingdom of God.” Perhaps one thing we need, through the refinement of our day, is a resurgence of Great Commission cooperation: hearts and minds attuned anew to God’s world-wide will, arms locked together for the advancement of the gospel, and feet in rhythmic union marching forward to advance upon on the gates of hell.