When Ripley (my daughter) was just two years old, Teresa and I wanted Ripley to see what going to the dentist is all about so she sat on my lap as Teresa had her cleaning done. The dental assistant was in awe that Ripley drinks either milk or water during the day and no pure juice (only half water; half juice and only when she needs help with pooping; sorry if this offenses anyone). The assistant was further surprised when we told her that Ripley only ate a bite or two of her birthday cake wanting a piece of celery instead. Ripley is used to eating fruit and vegetables. I know if I come in the living room eating an apple, Ripley will want some. That’s all she has even known; eating healthy. That’s our job as her parents; making sure she knows eating the right foods will make her feel better and teaching her to feed herself will equip her to live a healthy and productive life.
When it comes to the church; there are too many anemic Christians. Those who want to be spoon fed on Sundays and thinking they are healthy/productive followers of Christ. When a pastor spoon feeds his people milk each week and never equips them to feed on streak there is an issue. Milk is great for babies and is good when added to a balance diet but for adults are only drinking milk there is a lack of getting needed vitamins in their bodies. It’s partly on the pastors to get the church members to desire streak and it’s the pastor’s job to equip them to be able to feed themselves. To help me stay focused on the true role of a pastor, I’ve come up with a pastor’s mandate.
The mandate is based on two Bible passages; Ephesians 4:11-12 (And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;) and 2 Timothy 3:16 (All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.). As a pastor, I see part of my job is to teach the church member to be able to grow in their walk with Christ by giving them the tools to read and understand the Bible. I’m to teach them to be able to read the Bible and apply it in their daily lives. The old adage will fit here; give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; but if you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.
When a Christian is rooted in the Word of God, he/she will be able to stand on the assurance of what is in the scripture when the storms come (Jesus said when storms come; not if they come). When a Christian is rooted in the Word of God, when books like “The De Vinci Code” is published they know it’s only a work of fiction and not based on anything other than a philosophy and that a 6 week sermon series is not needed. When a Christian is rooted in the Word of God, he/she will have a better understanding where they fit in this thing we called life and what their true purpose is and how they can fulfill that purpose.
I know that not all church members want to read the Bible or want to make it part of their lives. That is the difference between a Christian and a disciple (or learner) of Christ. The word Christian means to be “Like Christ.” I like the term Christ- Follower instead of Christian. When a person is a Christ-Follower, they want to be “Like Christ” in every way. As a pastor, I want to lead like Christ led His Disciples so I read the gospels to see how He led and how He lived His life on Earth and by God’s grace I try to do the same. I fail more than I success, but I’m trying.
If a church member has no desire to grow in their walk with Christ; they could be just that, a church member. Being a church member doesn’t mean you are a Christian or a Christ-Follower. It just means you name is on the role books of a local church. A Christ-Follower’s name is in a church’s role books and in the Book of Life.