Life has been quite stressful these days, yet the Lord has been so gracious and so have so many of you. I am thankful to be your pastor at Grace Church and hope to be here for a long time. At the risk of sounding self-serving (although I think it is Church-Serving) I would like to share with you these words from a great book on pastoral ministry by R. Kent Hughes called Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome. This is a book I read in college. Please keep the VanAckers and Patzs in mind as you read this:
Every pastor knows that the strength of the ministry rests on prayer, and that it is those faithful souls who pray regularly for him and the church who bring God's special blessing upon the ministry. This fact invites a marvelous "what if" scenario. What if not just a few but the entire leadership and congregation prayed in detail every day for the pastor and their church? What would happen to his heart, to his preaching, to worship, to evangelism, to missions? Can there be any doubt that the minister and his people would know greater enablement than ever before in their lives?
Prayer is where the congregation must begin in this whole matter of encouragement. Will you make a personal commitment to encourage your pastor by daily prayer for him and his work? If so, we leave you with this suggestive outline, from which you can draw your own prayer list.
Pray that he will be a true success: that he will be faithful, true to God's Word and hardworking; that he will be a servant, following the example of our foot-washing Lord; that he will love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength; that he will truly believe what he believes about Christ; that he will lead a holy life, and not succumb to the sensuality of our culture; that he will lead a life of deep prayer, following Jesus' example; that he will have a positive attitude free from jealousy.
Pray for his ministry--for his preaching, for time to prepare, for understanding the Word, for application, for the power of the Holy Spirit in delivery, for Sunday's services, for his leadership, for immediate problems he is facing.
Pray for his marriage--for time for each other, for communication, for a deepening love, for fidelity.
Pray for his children by name. Perhaps you might ask the pastor or his wife how they would like you to pray for their children.
As a reminder – Please join many from the church on Friday evening at the Holm home in Linwood for prayer. You are invited to eat together starting at 6:30. Prayer will begin at 7 PM. (contact Tony Cooper for more info at firstname.lastname@example.org )