Looks like an interesting development from UK Evangelicals …
I’m a little late on this but thanks Scot for a great series. Great questions: “If you knew then what you know now, what would you have focused on? Or, in light of what you now know, what would you advise young pastors to focus on? ”
Hindsight is 20/20 but it often comes at less than productive moments but sometimes it does make a difference. I have served churches in Iowa, Michigan and Illinois; in rural, small town and suburban environs. I have dealt with everything from murder to suicide to sexual abuse to goofy boards to cranky members to bats in the church to you name it. Knowing this – the one thing I would make sure of if I was starting over again is this – read the Bible.
Why do this? In every other element of my position I know that there are people in the church who know more about leadership and vision casting, finances, building construction and maintenance, pedagogy and the care and feeding of copiers. But I need to know the Bible. I need to know it intimately, its themes (large and small) the people who populate it and its flow. I need to know it personally to be able to carefully use it professionally. The more I read it the more I am drawn to it. And I discover more about myself in reading the Bible. I love Leviticus and its lessons. Judges is the most contemporary book for our land. David is always in trouble in Psalms. The personalities of the gospels are amazing, and Revelation can be breathtaking.
Another one … good for the soul.
When I reflect on that time, the one thing that I would have focused on more has nothing to do with the art of pastoral ministry – and everything to do with it! I would have more diligently protected my times set aside to sit quietly before God, scriptures in hand, and to listen, to think long, slow thoughts and to let him inform my mind, soften my heart, and open the doors of my spirit to be filled again with the Holy Spirit .
This would be handy for the forum I’m involved in on Saturday!
I think that the role of government is not simply the negative task of restraining evil (which is true because of the Fall), but also the positive task of working for the common good (which would have been the case with or without the Fall).
I can relate to this. Interesting comments.
my understanding of what counts as ‘prophecy’ has changed somewhat. I would understand particularly socio-political theological engagement (e.g. aspects of liberation theology, and books like Colossians Remixed) to be sometimes profoundly prophetic, for me more so than the ‘I had a picture but don’t know what it means’ variety. But through whatever manner God chooses to speak I want to be ready to hear (1 Thess. 5:20 ‘don’t despise prophecies’; 1 Cor. 14:1 ‘Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy’).