Anyone who has ever pastored (served as spiritual leader and “shepherd”) of a congregation of people for any length of time knows that sometimes fulfilling God’s call faithfully can give you grey hair, a few sleepless nights, drive you to your knees in prayer, and an occasional bout of mounting frustration. The issue? People problems… helping redeemed and recovering sinners become “the body of Christ!” (Check out 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4:1-16 and Romans 12:3-8)
All you have to do is read through 1 and 2 Corinthians to know what I am talking about… Corinth, a congregation that gave Apostle Paul absolute fits and heartbreak!
So, during my time of “Coffee with the Lord” this week, I was very impressed with Apostle Paul’s response to this congregation (dysfunctional, frustrating and just a “bit carnal”) at the beginning of his letter to them! In my opinion he set a wonderful example for Spiritual leaders who sometimes face the frustration of leading people who are sometimes less than authentically “spiritual!”
He started out by reminding them of their “high calling”…
They were, in his words… “The church of God in Corinth, sanctified [set apart] in Christ Jesus, called to be saints [“holy ones”]! (From 1 Corinthians 1:2 ESV)
Then, believe it or not, he says that he “always gave thanks to God for them!” because he saw “the grace of God in Christ Jesus” at work in their lives (Grace – not only God’s undeserved favor, but His boundless provision that would enable them to be and become all that God envisioned for them!)
Then he got really specific about how he saw this “grace” expressed among them…
- “They were “enriched in Him in every way”
- The “testimony about Christ was confirmed” in their lives
- They “did not lack any Spiritual gift” as they living expectantly for the Lord’s coming
- And finally, He believed they would be “sustained to the very end” and be “guiltless” when the Lord returned.
Then Paul declared… “God is faithful!” who called them into fellowship with Jesus Christ!
(Check out 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 and see if I’m right)
What a way to start of difficult letter as a church leader – a letter in which you have to deal with a lot of church problems – people problems if you please. Oh, listen to me, I want to always follow the example of Apostle Paul in dealing with the “stuff” of pastoral ministry!