Monday, January 28, 2008

Die, Pastor, Die

Atheist Denis Diderot said, "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."

He wanted to bring about the end of Christianity. But the future of Christianity depends upon something that sounds surprisingly similar.

Andrew Purves has written an excellent book, The Crucifixion of Ministry. Here are a few quotations from the preface:

There is little, maybe nothing, we who are ministers of the gospel can do that really changes things. If anything worthwhile is to happen, Jesus has to show up.

Ministers can't forgive sinners, raise the dead or bring in the kingdom of God. Neither can we grow congregations, convert sinners or heal the dying.

Our strategies, action plans, pastoral resources and entrepreneurial church revitalization techniques have become not the solution but the problem. Our ministries need to be crucified. They need to be killed off.

On the back cover, Stephen Seamands writes, "Every pastor and Christian leader needs to read this book—about once a year."

Put down all your church growth, leadership, strategic planning, vision casting, management, and evangelism books. Click here and buy this book from Amazon. It's only $10.20.

Purves writes in the "benediction":

Friends, I know ministry is hard. The pressures are heavy to bear. Often we feel trapped by our limits, and with respect to the things of God we are indeed limited in understanding and faithfulness. That's why we need a Savior. Many of us have worked diligently to become professionally competent. However, in spite of our good intentions, efforts and hopes for ministry, we are perhaps aware of a deep weariness, of sadness even, and joy in ministry is remembered as a log-ago, wistful anticipation that has never been quite fulfilled.

It has taken me into my sixtieth year to begin to internalize some of the implications of Paul's injunction that I have been crucified with Christ and that it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me (Galatians 2:19-20).

I always felt embarrassed because I was nearly fifty before I started to understand this. I guess I'm just about on schedule.

Pastor Rod

"Helping You Become the Person God Created You to Be."

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