Praying for a new pastor

After walking away from the Lord for a VERY long time (I was the prodigal son on steroids),THANKS I returned to Him in early 2014 and my wife and I began attending a small Southern Baptist church with a brand new pastor shortly afterwards. However, it became increasingly evident that the teaching at that church wasn’t in line with our beliefs on a couple of very important issues and we finally reached a point last June when we had to walk away.

Genuine evangelical Christians share a common belief and faith in Jesus Christ and the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone. We are all part of the Body of Christ and are brothers and sisters in the Lord. But we have our differences in regards to a long list of secondary doctrines. And that’s okay. You worship the Lord the way you believe is right and I’ll do the same. The problem is finding a pastor and church that believes as my wife and I do.

We began searching for a new church but that’s not a simple task. In our area, there’s six yellow pages (Am I showing my age?) full of church listings but I wouldn’t bother visiting 95% of them because they either don’t preach the Gospel or I don’t agree with their teaching on some of the secondary doctrines. It used to be you could pretty much tell what every particular church believed and taught by the denomination they belonged to but churches are now shedding denominational tags and adopting ambiguous names to attract the younger crowd. You either have to get a recommendation from like-minded Christian friends or you have to check each church’s web site to find out where they stand on various doctrines.

Well, with the Lord’s help, we finally found a church home on the first Sunday of November and we like it a lot. A whole lot! The contemporary worship songs are geared toward a younger crowd but I can still get choked up praising the Lord beneath the din of the amplifiers. Maybe it’s better that the folks around me don’t have to listen to me sobbing occasionally. The teaching and preaching are excellent. Some of the best I’ve ever heard. The pastor humbly instructs and admonishes us from God’s Word with amazing clarity. I’m very happy to say there’s no railing against secular society, there’s no nationalism and patriotism from the pulpit, and there’s no cooperation or compromise with apostate churches (e.g., Catholic, liberal mainline Protestant). The focus is on Jesus Christ and the Gospel. The Five Solas of the Reformation are referred to often. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t agree with our pastor 100% on all issues. If that were the requirement I’d have to hold church in my own living room every Sunday. No, we don’t agree with the pastor on everything but we’re pretty close. And that’s a blessing. My wife and I eagerly look forward to worshipping with our brothers and sisters every Sunday! The Lord is GOOD!

A couple of weeks ago our pastor announced he was resigning to join a consulting ministry that counsels pastors and churches on how to “make more and better disciples.” Everyone was surprised and a bit saddened. The church leadership is currently searching for a new lead pastor. Gulp! Just when we were REALLY enjoying church, the pastor up and resigns! But as much as we’ll miss our pastor, we’re confident the Lord will work it all out.

Too often we set up our pastors as demigods. We engage in leadership idolatry. We put them up on pedestals and they will inevitably let us down. Our pastors are sinners saved by grace just as we are. It’s a tough job and a big responsibility and Satan certainly singles them out. We should pray for them and encourage them to stay faithful to the Lord and His Word. But our focus should ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS be on our Rock, Jesus Christ, not on weak and fallible stewards.

Thank you, Lord, for our pastor. I pray you bless him and his family in their new calling. I ask that you a raise up someone with a heart for You and Your Word to lead Your people according to Your will. Amen.

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10 thoughts on “Praying for a new pastor

  1. Praise God He met the need for you. After being a pastor who has been out of ministry for 7 months, I’m still struggling to find a church that isn’t dead or won’t ostracize me because I’m divorced and remarried. I know God will guide us, but I tend to get impatient. Your prayers are appreciated. Thanks so much for what you share on your blog!

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    1. Thanks, Matthew! I pray the Lord will lead you to an accepting church home that’s faithful to His Gospel. Church can be such a blessing but it can also be very nasty business as you know. Oftentimes we Christians forget about the 2nd most important requirement from the Lord: to love each other. I’m so grateful the Lord was patient and forgiving with me after I walked away from Him for 23 years. NOBODY else would have put up with that except for maybe my mother and I have my doubts about her. Maybe the Lord is preparing you to show someone/others acceptance who really need it down the road?

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  2. Just a word of caution about the CCM in your church. It may be pleasing to the flesh of young people, but the Lord says that foolishness is bound in the heart of the young. CCM is the first foot in the door of the church towards apostasy and ecumenism. Most CCM has been written by “holy rollers” and pope lovers. Very dangerous spirit attached to it.

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    1. Thanks Sage, but your view on CCM is the kind of secondary issue I was referring to. There are Christians who don’t believe in any musical instruments in church because the New Testament doesn’t specifically mention their use in church. Are they right? Some believe only the Psalms should be sung and only acapella. Hymns were contemporary music at the time they were written and often borrowed melodies from popular secular songs. Some churches allow musical instruments but not “rock and roll” instruments. Thirty years ago you would have never seen an electric guitar or drum kit in most churches, now they’re commonplace. I agree there’s some CCM lyrics that lapse into lazy or bad doctrine but there’s potential for that in all media/communication forms. This is an example where each congregation needs to follow its own beliefs/preferences without painting everyone else with a broad brush. I realize this is a big deal for many and some churches have even split over it but for me it’s a non-issue – or, better yet, an issue that requires some discernment just like which books we read, which movies we watch, and which pastors we listen to.

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      1. I agree, some CCM is a waste of time. My mother in law calls those 7-11 songs. 7 words sung 11 times LOL. But…a good contemporary Hymn like In Christ Alone? Can’t beat it. Many I know who talk bad about CCM embrace Southern Gospel with no problem. We actually embrace anything that is scripturally appropriate. In our morning service we still do congregational songs from the Hymn Book, and sometimes the Choir or a person does that, or A good southern Gospel, or even something contemporary. Sunday evenings, the young people do the music, so they have it their way. Works pretty good and the building hasn’t exploded yet LOL.

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      2. Thanks, Wally. LOL, yes, I agree with your MIL on a lot of CCM songs, same phrase over and over and over. But as you say, some really speak to the heart. I’ve shed many a tear praising my Savior while singing a good contemporary song.

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      3. Ha, ha, ha! I’ve thought the same thing, Wally! It’s rare to find a brother or sister that you’re on the “same page” with as far as doctrine and Christianity in general.

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  3. Hi Tom

    First prayers you find a good pastor.

    Minds on the same wavelength huh? How the spirit moves people to write things that are needed.

    So true what you said. The secondaries don’t matter all of the time, but they do matter when seeking a church family to fellowship with. Some don’t see that distinction I fear. And that becomes the point where we start adopting an “anything goes” attitude.

    Bless your search

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    1. Thanks, Wally. I chuckled when I read your post. Yes, we were definitely on the same spiritual wavelength. As you wrote, nowadays right doctrine is being rapidly replaced with “just love Jesus” pablum.

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