Written by: Jim Kilgore, Missionary Evangelist and Church-Planter
We have looked at eight Principles of Pastoring God’s People which I had used over the years. Our desire is to place you in the best possible position to genuinely love your people and meet the myriad of needs pastoring a Church requires. In this article we will discuss my final two thoughts. May you strive to apply them in your ministry.
Ninth Principle of Pastoring
Of course, as we previously said, we are to serve. But why do we serve? We serve
because of our love and devotion to Jesus Christ.
· We must preach much more about the Doctrine of Grace, which is the unmerited and the un-meritable favor of God. God’s grace gives to us that which we DO NOT deserve. God’s grace is demonstrated towards those of US that deserve the exact opposite! Grace is the heart of the Gospel. It is grace we must teach, and grace we must live in the ministry. Romans 5:8expresses God’s love and Grace perfectly: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Tenth Principle of Pastoring
A truly compassionate pastor grieves deeply over people who sin. They do not ever rejoice in disciplining someone. If your heart is not broken for the sinner, you have no right disciplining the sin. Remind your people that you will preach hard against the dangers of sin, but if they fail to listen, you will still love them, and that you will be there to help in the restoration process.
· I hate sin! Psalm 97:10: “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” I have seen what sin has done in the lives of so many “good people.” And while we, as loving Pastors MUST preach against sin, and set Biblical Walls of Protection, we must understand that sometimes, even the best of Christians, are going to climb over that Biblical fence and thus fall into sin. We hate it; it breaks our hearts; we are disappointed that they did not listen, but what You do at this point? How will You respond to the Fallen One?
· This is where a “Pastor’s heart” will manifest itself to those who are sin. Do not misunderstand me, I will not compromise sin, but once the sin(s) has occurred, the Fallen Believer needs a Pastor to love them and help bring them back to fellowship with the Lord .
· Galatians 6:1 says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Restore means to “set a broken bone.” If your child breaks her arm, will you amputate it from the rest of the body? Of course not. You will have a Doctor set the bone so that it may one day be useful once again.
· Yet what does the Church often do when a Child of God falls and becomes broken? Critical, Condescending, Cast them away. How does any of these harsh attitudes help to restore a person to usefulness? Is this how you would want YOUR Child treated? Of course not. Neither is it the way God wants HIS Child treated. I am not Glamorizing sin; I am merely Glorifying the Grace of God to us all.
· My personal philosophy is simple: “I do not believe that we have ANY that we can afford to lose! And while being far from Critical and Condescending, we must Confront the fallen one with a spirit of love. Yes, we must speak of the Consequences of sin, and there most certainly will be many, yet our focus as a Pastor must be to Repair, rather than Reject the one that NEEDS our help.
· A Biblical Pastor will Call out sin; Condemn sin; Confront sin, but with a loving, Christ-like heart to Restore the Fallen one to a position of usefulness.
· Did you know that once restored, it is entirely possible to have even a GREATER ministry after being restored than one ever had before the sin? This is called Grace, God’s marvelous grace.
As a Pastor, I am called upon to Help, rather than to Hurt the people God has entrusted to my care. I must preach hard against sin; warn of the dangers of sin; yet I must also be there to restore them to a place of usefulness to the cause of Jesus Christ as well.
You will either Reject or Restore. What will you do?
What do you find the hardest part in trying to restore a fallen Believer?