Friday, July 20, 2007

A Wanna-be Preacher (Also known as a lay pastor)

Inside of two weeks, at two different social functions, I was introduced by former classmates as a “wanna-be-preacher.” They could have said I was a businessman as I also run a business. I wondered, “why this obvious shot at my faith and my ministry?” In both cases I said nothing (most of you will find that surprising!).

My friend, Lee, a lay pastor said “Think about it, that is what we are. I wannabe like Jesus. I wannabe a peacemaker, I wannabe one who hungers and thirsts after righteousness. I wannabe pure in heart. I wannabe meek. And as that ol’ spiritual put it... “I wannabe a Christian inna my heart, inna my heart. But the joy of it all is that one day I’M GONNA BE JUST LIKE JESUS WHEN I SEE HIM FACE TO FACE!!!!” A good point.

I was not called to be a pastor of a church with all its trappings, benefits and status the position affords. I have nothing against seminary education or traditional pastors but I’m called to be a guerrilla fighter for Jesus. I wear no uniform (no frock or collar on backwards) that sets me apart from the common man. I do not work out of a fort (AKA a church); forts with walls to protect us from the enemy but those same walls also act as a hindrance for the common people to “come in.” I do not have to battle artificial barriers. I am not asked to do the perfunctory grace before the meal at the athletic banquet because I am a pastor and that’s ok with me. I go where I’m called. I’ve never asked once to preach anywhere; I never preached because I had to. God has called me to the front lines; I’m a plain front lines sergeant in God’s guerrilla force. I preach in campgrounds, garages, excavator shops, churches of eight different denominations; I preach at funerals, weddings, graduations and Memorial Day services. Not impressive but that’s where I’m called.

Theologian John Piper wrote a book to pastors entitled “Brothers We are Not Professionals” with the subtitle “A Plea for Pastors for Radical Ministry” says:

“We pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry. The Mentality of the professional is not the mentality of the prophet. It is not the mentality of the slave of Christ. Professionalism has nothing to do with the essence and heart of the Christian ministry. The more professional we long to be, the more spiritual death we will leave in our wake. For there is no professional childlikeness, there is no professional tenderheartedness, there is no professional panting after God.”

“Brothers, we are not professionals. We are outcasts. We are aliens and exiles in the world. Our citizenship is in Heaven, and we wait with eager expectation for the Lord (Phil. 3:20). You cannot professionalize the love for His appearing without killing it. And it is being killed."

“The world sets the agenda of professional man; God sets the agenda of the spiritual man. The strong wine of Jesus Christ explodes the wineskins of professionalism.”

In the preface of the book, Piper said this:
Insulated Western Christianity is waking from the dreamworld that being a Christian is normal or safe. More and more, true Christianity is becoming what it was at the beginning: foolish and dangerous. “We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (1 Cor. 1:23). “The hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.” (John 16:2).”

I must admit, at first I was hurt by the comments. But after some thought, my passion to reach my family and friends has only been increased. Jesus told us not to worry about what men say. We should worry about what God says and He is the one who can throw us into Hell. (Mark 9:47 “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell”.) (Notice-“thrown into hell”, no Swing Low, Sweet Chariots here.)

We live in a world where for many people the only reward they will get will be a respectable lifestyle with all the benefits and a mushy, pointless life. How sad. We are to model our life after Christ. I have not done that as I should but it is good to be reminded that He alone is our example. I am not what I should be but praise God I’m not what I once was.

In our world today, we need foot soldiers on attack for Christ, sold out, uncompromising, with the truth; meek but fully armed with the Spirit and the Word willing to march into Hell… It’s time to pull our boats on shore and abandon them (Luke 5:1-10). God will go with us and protect us.

I am a wanna be! I want to be more Christ-like in character; I want to touch people that are down and out and without the hope of Christ. I want to be “light” in a dark, dark world. -- O Lord, make me worthy to be called your child. Forgive me for my past of being a coward and not standing up for the faith. Use me wherever. Grant me Lord, a humble and willing spirit to persevere to the end. Bring me Home Sweet Jesus; bring me home. Amen.


Anonymous said...

Wow! How can words that sting seem so sweet? Brother, in and of ourselves we can do nothing. Our only hope is Jesus Christ and His righteousness.

I am ready to stand with you as a lay-pastor, "a guerrilla fighter for Jesus... wearing no uniform (no frock or collar on backwards) that sets me apart from the common man."

As a lay-pastor for the last 28 years I have rested on these verses: "Now when they [the Sadducees] saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus." (Acts 4:13 ESV emphasis added)

That is where we have to be and where we have to stay - with Jesus. Without Him we can do nothing and we are nothing. With Him we can be bold as lions and charge Hell with a thimble full of water.

Let's Roll!!!

Your friend,
Lee Shelton

Andrew D. Seehusen said...

That's good stuff!