Confessions Of A Pastor: Words Of Wisdom For The Pastor

I received this from Pastor Erick Sorensen.  What a wonderful blessing.  He states,
A few years ago my buddy Jeff Proctor sent me this little article from his Pastor, Rev. David Petersen.  David Petersen had sent this to some seminarians.  I still look at this note often as it has been a source of constant encouragement.  I hope it will bring the same to you.
 1) Two Rampant Lies: Growth Without "Church Growth" and "Confessional Success."
Embrace the Theology of the Cross.  Resist the temptation to count the people.  Take your hits. You can't win.  You can't make it work.  No matter how gentle and kind, articulate and patient, you will lose.  The Gospel always loses.  That is how it wins.  Be wary of seeming success.  Let no one judge your practice or your wisdom.  Preach the Truth.  Confess your sins for they are many.  Eat the Body.  Pray for the end.  Do no be dismayed by your failure.  Be deaf also to the praise of men.
2) General Advice For Preaching 
Always preach Law and Gospel.  There is nothing else.  It is always what God's people need.  
Always tell the Truth.  Don't water something down to avoid giving offense or to make it more palatable.   
Always preach for conversion, as a dying man to dying men.  Preach as though this is the only and last sermon your hearers will hear.  Always preach against yourself.  You are the only one you really know.  Your sins and weaknesses are the same as the hearers.  Yours is the common lot of man.  It is the same with the comfort you need and for which you thirst.  Preach, also, for yourself.  Don't preach about yourself.  Don't say: "When I was asked to preach I thought..." or "When I heard what the text for today was I considered..."  That only draws attention to yourself.  It is not about you.  Get to the point.  Preach with the authority you have been given.  Be confident in the Word of God.  Lose yourself in the pulpit.
3) General Advice for the Ministry
You are a servant of the Word.  Follow Him.  The Way of the Cross is a lonely, narrow path but it leads to heaven.  Be more afraid of God than you are of the people.  It is not the one who signs the check who provides daily bread.  Do the right thing.  Tell the Truth.  Suffer the consequences.  That is what a servant of Christ does.  
It is the Preaching Office.  Don't forget that.  Your relationship to the congregation is the same as the prophets to Israel.  Work on teaching and converting your own people-- which includes scores of folks not on the books.  Preach the Gospel to them -- from the pulpit, the podium, the bedside, and behind the desk.  They come looking for marital advice?  Tell them about Jesus dying for them.  They come looking for sympathy and a listening ear?  Tell them about Jesus dying for them.  They have a new baby, lost their jobs, are afraid of retirement?  Tell them about Jesus dying for them.  No matter what the circumstances, what the situation, you preach Christ crucified.  Never compromise the simple Truth that has saved you.
Believe your own preaching.  Jesus died also for you.  He called you to this Ministry.  He knows what he is doing.  As good or as bad as it gets, it will not last forever.  He is coming back to claim His own.


David Veum said…
Can one paraphrase the words of our Lord to Peter? "Take up the Theology of the Cross and follow me."

Sometimes that cross is so uncomfortable to carry when one's ego is feeling weak (or strong!) But it is so comforting to turn and look as a sinner at that Blessed Cross.