Here is a fantastic article focused on a glaring deficiency among pastors, and really all believers. We can get so fixed on running “my race” for God in the day to day grind that we forget there is a biblical mandate to guide the next generation into maturity. If we don’t do it who will?
Writing for DesiringGod.org, Mike Bullmore posts “Brothers, Train Up the Next Generation” as a reminder to this very fact. Check out the article to get a great perspective of the need and solution.
Here are his main points, but go read the full article:
- Disciple Faithful Men: Paul is used as a rubric here. Do you have a Timothy?
- Beware the Hezekiah Syndrome: After God grants 15 years of “added” life to the sick king, he goes off and parades Israel’s riches before Babylon, Isaiah prophecies coming captivity, but Hezekiah is content that there will be peace in his lifetime. (aka, sorry next gen, but at least I’m ok.)
- Avoid Temporal Shortsightedness: it is easy to think only about the here and now, but the coming glory is always a key element in biblical living.
- Cultivate a Far-seeing Vision: Contrast Hezekiah with Paul. It take intentionality and devotion, but it is our responsibility.
- Invest in the Next Gospel Generation: 1) be personally devoted to Gospel ministry, 2) Notice those who rise to the top, 3) create context for youth to “practice” handling the Word, 4) Pray intentionally for God to raise up passionate hearts, pray for your replacement.
In ministry it is easy to get hung up on the wrong things. As humans we are bent in our nature to
misunderstand the things of God and chase after lesser things. Pastors are tempted to rate success by the criteria of this world rather than from our God. When applied to student ministry this reminds me of my article, True Success in Student Ministry
. Here are 6 myths that can creep into a pastor’s mind according to Scott Thomas of the Acts 29 Network
- “Success is a result of my great faith.” God makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:45). He is sovereign.
- “Success comes after hard work.” Paul warned to put no confidence in the flesh, and whatever redeeming merit Paul experienced, he counted it as trash (Phil. 3:2–11).
- “Success brings me love.” Success, or the lack of success, is a false indicator of God’s love for me (Job 10:12–13).
- “Success proves my level of spirituality.” Your spirituality is not validated by your success or evident because of it. Our spiritual life is only because of Jesus Christ’s completed work (Rom. 3:21–28).
- “Success makes me happy.” Success can never be satisfied; it always craves more (Eccles. 5:10).
- “Success is achieved through strength.” God intentionally chooses the unlikely so that all success can be ascribed to God. (1 Cor. 1:26–31). God’s grace is illuminated in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).
Your fellow worker in the field, Adam