The Confident Pastor (Chapter 4)
“One thing pastoral ministry is very good for is stripping a man of all his confidence.” (p. 77)
At the beginning of chapter four Wilson explains how frustrating ministry can be. The married couple that refuses to embrace the gospel and the result is that their family life is in constant turmoil. Problems, issues, complaints, selfishness, a lack of missional focus. It feels like we are on a treadmill and it can be hard to see the progress at times.
As I have said previously, Wilson is not allowing pastors to have a pity party because of the challenges of ministry. I love this quote…
“Perhaps this is what pastoral ministry is supposed to look like? Maybe applying the gospel to those in the holes they keep falling into IS THE MISSION (emphasis added). Or part of it, anyway. Jesus says, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23), so we should expect that every day feels like death and be shocked if and when we experience a day that doesn’t. But Evangelicals have so effectively promoted the idol of success that it is rare to find a pastor who understands that starting over each day is ministry.” (p. 78)
The temptation is to see all the messiness as a barrier to where we want to go as a visionary leader. Instead, the mess is the mission. The broken marriage, the broken lives, the frustrations are waiting for us to apply the truths of the gospel each and every day. We won’t wake up one morning and realize we have arrived. As Eugene Peterson likes to say, pastoral ministry (discipleship for that matter) is a “long obedience in the same direction.”