A word from Jim
Welcome back to A Pastor’s View!
It’s been at least a month since our last email, but we were waiting to share good news about a new addition to our staff—which also means a revival of this weekly resource.
Thank you for opening this edition and for the privilege of partnering with you in this way. As a pastor myself, I am deeply grateful for those who labor in this work and honored to offer resources that might be helpful to us in our shared calling.
The good news is that Dr. Mark Turman has joined our Denison Forum team full time.
Mark was the founding pastor of CrossPoint Church in McKinney, where he served for twenty-five years. He is a DMin graduate of Truett Seminary and one of the most gifted leaders and communicators I know. He will now be leading our pastor resource ministry as one of his major responsibilities; I will continue to provide content for pastors through writing and speaking.
As a result, we are planning a major relaunch of this ministry in January with digital resources, teleconferences, retreats, and annual events.
In the meantime, you’ll receive weekly encouragement and information specifically for pastors.
- “Notes on the News” will keep you informed about the world and help you speak God’s truth to our culture.
- “A word from the Word” is a brief sermon video and downloadable transcript by me specifically for pastors like you.
Our goal is to edify you as you build up the body of Christ.
Mark and I look forward to seeking your suggestions this fall as we build this ministry.
Much more to come.
Notes on the news
Earlier this year, the leader of a firm specializing in finding pastors and staff for churches predicted that “2021 is going to be the year of turnover.” Thom Rainer, former president and CEO of Lifeway and founder of Church Answers, an online community of thousands of pastors, agreed with his observation: “The vast majority of pastors with whom our team communicates are saying they are considering quitting their churches. It’s a trend I have not seen in my lifetime.” The article cites nine reasons why this might be the case.
Whether this trend describes you or not, know that you have a Good Shepherd who is holding you in his hand no matter where you are today (John 10:29). He redeems all he allows. Pray for him to show you how he is redeeming this season of your life for his glory and your greater good. And know that all you are facing will be used by his Spirit in some way to grow you and those you serve.
Henri Nouwen spoke of “wounded healers.” In the final analysis, that’s the only kind of true healers there are.
This Forbes article cites and expounds on these characteristics:
- They cultivate an inclusive culture where everyone is valued.
- They listen with the intent to understand and learn.
- They welcome criticism as an opportunity to improve.
Of course, followers of Jesus would add a fourth: they emulate their Servant Savior.
In a fallen world where the “will to power” dominates human nature (Nietzsche), those who wash feet stand out by virtue of our humble compassion. Those who value their towel over their title honor the Lord they serve and draw others to him. The more counterculturally we serve, the more we impact the culture to the glory of God.
This article, also in Forbes, encourages us to bond with people, find your fit, and consider your investments. The writer offers practical, commonsense ways to do each and thus to find happiness in our work.
God’s word, by contrast, offers us not happiness but joy. Happiness is based on happenings, while joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). When we are filled with God’s Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and obedient to his word (John 14:15), we will be able to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4). When we sing hymns in jail at midnight, the other “prisoners” will hear us (Acts 16:25). And God will be glorified.
In light of the new James Bond movie that has finally opened, the article offers management and leadership takeaways from the Bond movies:
- Prepare for an uncertain environment with Plan B and resilient risk management.
- Capitalize on complementary skillsets (M and Q in Bond’s case).
- Focus on style and accessories, routines and rituals essential to sustainable success.
Even James Bond cannot succeed by himself. Nor can we.
Every image of the church in the New Testament is collective: a body with many members, a vine with many branches, and so on. We must resist the Western existentialism that makes us the center of our world and learn to share our ministry with those called alongside us.
A word from the Word
The “Bread of Life” and the search for significance
John 6:35 // Dr. James C. Denison
Someone asked one of the Rockefellers how much money is enough. “Just a little more” was the reply.
Tom Brady wants to win another Super Bowl. The Los Angeles Dodgers want to win another World Series. The Milwaukee Bucks want to win another NBA title. Nick Sabin and Alabama want to win the NCAA national championship every year until the Lord returns, or so it seems.
There is something in us that wants to be more than we are and do more than we do. No matter what we achieve, we want to achieve more. No matter what we own, we want to own more.
This quest for enduring significance is what sociologist Peter Berger would have called a “signal of transcendence,” something built into us by God to lead us beyond ourselves to him.
Here’s the good news: there is a path to true significance, to soul-satisfying purpose and joy, that is available to every one of us today.
Today we’re starting a study of Jesus’ “I Am” statements, seven times he made a shocking claim about himself. Each of them helps us experience our Lord in a truly transforming way.
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