I am still hesitant to announce to people that I am indeed a pastor. I recently planted a new church in Broken Arrow. One of the main tenants of Apostles Church is that everyone is an Apostle, or someone who is sent by God to bear witness to Jesus Christ. My reluctance to claim the title of pastor is not only attributable to fear and a bunch of other unnecessary emotions, but is also a result of the stigma that is associated with the title.
A pastor is not a know-it-all theologian who has all the answers to life’s deepest questions. A pastor is not someone who is victoriously living out the Christian life and modeling the correct behavior for ‘his people’. I also believe he is not a showman, not an entertainer, not an eloquent public speaker, and not a comedian. Oh sure, I like to tell stories and hope that people like how I present the Gospel and I hope they can follow what I say and hope that at times I am funny in doing so, but that is not the point and that does not make one a pastor.
I am just a guy who loves Jesus and wants to present the Gospel to the small group of people who have joined us on the journey. I also want the people who come to the church to recognize that they too have the ability and the gifting that comes from the same God to do the same thing – preach Jesus. I aim to encourage (and be encouraged). I pray to be lead by God’s Spirit as He leads me to lead others in being restored into a right relationship with God, to be discipled and grow in Christ and to be sent to bring the good news to others.
So my reticence in shouting ‘I am a pastor’ also stems from wanting to make sure that Christians recognize their ability to share Jesus and is also wanting to make sure the focus of what goes on at our church is on the ‘correct’ thing. It shouldn’t be on me, or our programs, or our music.
If someone comes to the church and they leave marveling at what I said or the stories I told or the funny props and/or videos I showed then I have failed. My job is to shine the light on Jesus. It seems too prevalent in today’s Christianity that too many pastors are having the light shine on themselves. If you leave loving me, or loving the music, or loving the programs, or even loving the church, then I have failed and you are loving the wrong thing.
The focus is Jesus. Sure the music is important, as are the messages, and the programs, and the specific church, but they are all to be signs, they are all to be markers, that point to the Messiah.
Something to think about. The Bible calls the church the bride of Christ (Rev 19:7-9; Eph 5:25-27; 2 Cor 11:2). So if the church is the bride, that means Jesus is the groom. If we, as the bride of Christ, love something other than the groom – we are committing adultery!
If we as the church love something other than the groom we are committing adultery.
Our love, our focus, our passion, our desire, everything we have, everything we are is to desire and love Jesus, and Jesus alone.
That is the focus of our faith. Jesus loves his bride so much he died for us. He loves us unconditionally. We strive to do the same and we fail when our affections are drawn to things other than Him.
It isn’t about the celebrity pastor using clever sermon titles (sometimes tinged with innuendo) and a praise band with smoke and lights and professional musicians playing songs off their latest CD that you can buy for just $13.99. It is about us, as sinners restored by grace, loving and worshipping and following Jesus and telling others about Him. It’s about us loving Jesus with the same love He has for us.