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Recognize why church-related ministry is dangerous territory and the pastoral ministry realities. (Sect. 14 & 16)
- Church-related ministry is dangerous territory
- 14.1 Truth be known, people who are moving into church-related ministry are venturing
- into dangerous territory.
- 14.2 New York Times article, August 1, 2010, entitled,
- Taking a Break from the Lord’s
- , reported:
- 14.2.1 The findings have surfaced with ominous regularity over the last few years, and with
- little notice: Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at
- rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen,
- while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could.
- 14.2.2 But while research continues, a growing number of health care experts and religious
- leaders have settled on one simple remedy that has long been a touchy subject with many
- clerics: taking more time off.
- 14.2.3 The Lilly Endowment, a philanthropic foundation based in Indiana, has awarded grants of
- up to $45,000 each to hundreds of Christian congregations in the past few years, under a
- project called the National Clergy Renewal Program, for the purpose of giving pastors
- extended sabbaticals.
- 14.2.4 Clergy health studies say that many clerics have "boundary issues" — defined as being
- too easily overtaken by the urgency of other people’s needs.
- 14.2.5 In May, the Clergy Health Initiative, a seven-year study that Duke University began in
- 2007, published the first results of a continuing survey of 1,726 Methodist ministers in North
- Carolina. Compared with neighbors in their census tracts, the ministers reported significantly
- higher rates of arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma. Obesity was 10 percent
- more prevalent in the clergy group.
- 14.2.6 The results echoed recent internal surveys by the
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in
- America, which found that 69 percent of its ministers reported being overweight, 64 percent
- having high blood pressure and 13 percent taking antidepressants
- 14.2.7 A 2005 survey of clergy by the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church also took
- special note of a quadrupling in the number of people leaving the profession during the first
- five years of ministry, compared with the 1970s.
- A survey of pastors reveals the negative effects of being in pastoral ministry.
- These stats are collected from a number of websites, a few of which are… Scot McKnight
- www.jesuscreed.org, Burnout for Pastors, posted on August 13, 2007, accessed August 13, 2007
- 16.1.1 90% of pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week.
- 16.1.2 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. Many pastors’
- children do not attend church now because of what the church has done to their parents.
- 16.1.3 33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
- 16.1.4 90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands and 50% feel
- unable to meet the demands of the job.
- 16.1.5 70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started.
- 16.1.6 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
- 16.1.7 33% confess to having been involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in
- the church.
- 16.1.8 94% of clergy families feel the pressures of the pastor’s ministry.
- 16.1.9 56% of pastors’ wives say they have no close friends.
- 16.1.10 40% of pastors considered leaving the pastorate in the past three months.
- 16.1.11 1,500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or
- contention in their churches.
- 16.1.12 50% of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.
- 16.1.13 50%of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but
- have no other way of making a living.
- 16.1.14 80%of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the
- ministry within the first five years.
- 16.1.15 70% said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their
- 16.1.16 51% of pastors say that Internet pornography is a possible temptation for them; 37%
- admit that it is a current struggle
- 16.2 This is depressing!
- 16.2.1 You need to know what you are up against.
- 16.2.2 Realize that
- IT IS UP TO YOU to guard and deepen your relationship with God.
- 188.8.131.52 In general, the culture and church are not going to be all that helpful in this regard.
Explain (in 4 paragraphs) the six aspects of our assuming responsibility for soul care in our relationship with God; two of
the paragraphs should explain the concept of "doing" vs. "being." (Sect. 15)
Our responsibility for soul care in our relationship with God
1. The reality is that one can be involved in vocational ministry and not be experiencing close communion with God.
2. When we are called into ministry, we are called to carry it out with a sense of priority
. But when we get involved in ministry, we can sometimes lose our sense of priority.
3. The priorities of Jesus
 "Afterward Jesus went up on a mountain and called the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him.  Then he selected twelve of them to be his regular companions, calling them apostles. He sent them out to preach,  and he gave them authority to cast out demons ." (Emphasis mine.) Mark 3:13-15 15.3.2 Before the Twelve were sent out to "do" ministry, they were called to "be with" Jesus.
4. The primary call and responsibility in a leader’s life is to develop a relationship of intimacy with God. 15.4.1 It is out of the foundation of companionship with Christ that we as leaders are to carry out our ministry responsibilities.
5. "Doing" vs. "being"
15.5.1 The difficulty is that we live in a culture that is thoroughly committed to a priority of "doing"… this is true in lots of churches as well. 15.5.2 When "doing" becomes the priority over "being" in a leader’s life, the essence of what ministry is begins to be constricted in the leader’s life. 15.5.3 One can become a " professional" instead of a personal apprentice of Christ. 184.108.40.206 "The outward success of our church came with a steep price tag. We had grown the church, but we were not more like Jesus. Growing the church did not require that we be like Jesus." Renovation of the Church, Kent Carlson & Mike Lueken 220.127.116.11 C.S. Lewis said, "Put first things first and we get second things thrown in: put second things first and we lose both first things and second things" (God in the Dock) 18.104.22.168 True ministry is entering into and participating in what God is ALREADY DOING!
22.214.171.124 Understanding what God is doing is a result of communion/union with God.
" This is the paradigm that Jesus ministered from: John 5:19, 30; 6:38; 7:16; 8:28-29;8:42; 12:44-50; 14:8-10.
15.5.4 Our "doing" is to flow out from "being"
126.96.36.199 John 15: 1-11 tells us that fruitfulness is the natural outcome of learning to remain/abide in union with Christ.
188.8.131.52 Knowledge about God, without a corresponding experience of God, falls short of what God intends for us.
184.108.40.206 A life of deep communion with God requires TIME!
220.127.116.11 A deep life with God cannot be formed or sustained on the run.
6. Knowing and experiencing the love of God is essential
15.6.1 In Ephesians 3, Paul prays for the Ephesian believers and us as well. He prays that we would understand and experience God’s love at ever-deepening levels in our lives. Even though God’s love is so immense, we will never plumb its depths.
15.6.2 Ephes. 3:16-20 (NLT)
"I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit.
 And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your
hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love.
And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is.
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at
work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope."
- This passage alone is worthy of multiple months of personal interaction, reflection, and pondering.
What are we talking about here? (Recognize)
- A process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others."
-The focal point of our formation journey is to know God. One result of truly knowing God will be a life that takes on the character of Christ.
- It is extremely important that we make "fixing our eyes on Jesus" (Heb.12:2) our primary activity.
Explain (in 3 paragraphs) the seven aspects of how spiritual formation is the process of becoming like Christ. (Sect. 18)
- Spiritual formation is the process of becoming like Christ
- 18.1 Now we do not need to worry ourselves about attaining some sort of sinless state, or perfection in this life.
- Progress, not perfection, is our goal in our spiritual journeys
- 18.2 Spiritual formation is a process empowered by the Holy Spirit.
18.2.1 Spiritual formation is about BEING FORMED
18.2.2 It is NOT about forming ourselves to be like Christ
18.104.22.168 Part of our struggle with the process of BEING FORMED is recognizing that
there is little we can do to transform ourselves into persons who love and serve as Jesus
did…EXCEPT to make ourselves available for God and to respond to his initiatives in
our lives…this results in the work of transforming grace in our lives.
- 18.2.3 It is learning the dance of God
- The process changes a person’s inner and outer life.
- 18.3.1 Jesus was always more interested in what was going on in the inside of people than he was with mere outward activity. Spiritual formation is about having the inner recesses of our lives touched by God’s Spirit.
- 18.4 The result of the formation process is that the believer’s life will be progressively
- conformed to the likeness of Christ.
18.4.1 In the life of Jesus we see what true humanity was intended to be. God’s desire is that we be reshaped into his image.
18.5 Spiritual formation is a communal activity, not an individual journey.
18.5.1 We need the encouragement, strength, love, and relationship of others as we walk the pathway of formation.
18.6 Formation is a process that occurs over a lifetime.
18.6.1 We live in a "hurry up" culture and world. Spiritual formation is a gradual, life-long
experience of shaping and forming by God’s Spirit.
18.7 The key word in all of this… PROCESS!
18.7.1 Spiritual formation is a process, but it does have an end in mind. Andrew Murray
describes the intended end:
"True Christianity aims at having the character of Christ so formed in us that in our most ordinary activities His temperament and attitudes reveal themselves. The Spirit and the will of Christ should so possess us that in our relationships with people, in our leisure time, and in our
daily business it will be second nature for us to act like Him. All this is possible because
(Daily Experience with God )
- Christ himself, as the Living One, lives in us."
Recognize the explanation of Dallas Willard’s VIM acronym for moving into the spiritual formation process. (Sect. 21.1)
- VIM acronym (Dallas Willard,
- Renovation of the Heart, 85-91)
- Vision… Intention…Means
- The VISION of life in the Kingdom
- The INTENTION to be a Kingdom Person"Perhaps the hardest thing for sincere Christians to come to grips with is the level of real
- unbelief in their own life: the unformulated skepticism about Jesus that permeates all
- dimensions of their being and undermines what efforts they do make toward Christlikeness." (Dallas Willard)
- M… MEANs
- There are steps and practices can we engage that will advance us in a life of
- formation and transformation… spiritual disciplines/practicesThey are methods by which we obey the command to "put off" the old person and to "put on" the new person who is in the likeness of Christ. (Col. 3:9-10; Eph. 4:22-
What are some things to remember about spiritual formation?
1. We are all being formed spiritually whether we recognize it or not.
- 2. Classic and contemporary understandings of Christian spiritual formation contain the element of intentionality on the part of the Christian in the formation process.
- 3. Although the Spirit of God is the initiator and sustainer of the formation process in our lives, we are called to recognize and respond to the Spirit’s activity
- 4. This is to be ongoing and ever deepening, and we play a part in the process.