Updated: Jan 23
"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." (James 1:17 NASB1995)
Pastors, you tell your congregations this, but do you live by it yourself?
Jesus encountered religious leaders who didn't do the things that they told others to do. This was one of His main complaints with the Pharisees. His words to them and their hypocrisy are some of the harshest that we have recorded out of his mouth. See Matthew 23.
It is a simple if/then equation:
If everything good comes from Jesus, then coming to Jesus is the path to receiving everything good.
Yes, "coming to Jesus" means accepting Him and His ways in full in our hearts and lives. But "coming to Jesus" also means regularly coming to Him... or as He said it, being attached to the vine.
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." (John 15:4-5 NASB1995)
I find that most problems in the life and/or ministry of many of today's pastors are rooted in the pastor not abiding in Jesus... not regularly spending quality and quantity time in prayer and Bible reading.
To put it into sports terms, every athlete and team will lose most games when they lack a basic mastery of the fundamentals of the sport. Can't dribble the ball? Your team will not win most soccer/basketball games. Can't find the time to pray and read the Bible? You will not win at most of life nor ministry.
Pastor, every answer to every problem begins with the fundamentals of prayer and Bible reading.
And then pastor, as you get yourself abiding in the vine, begin to raise up others (usually outside of your ministry) to commit to praying for you, your family, and your ministry each day. We address this subject more in this article: Stop Fighting Alone!
Yes, it is really this simple. Fundamentals are generally simple to understand and yet difficult to master. The truths of Jesus are very much this way for anyone who has ears to hear.
But this discussion does bring up three more quick sidenotes that I will quickly address below for those pastors reading this as part of the prep work ahead of your first Grats Transformation Ministry Coaching meeting:
1. Taking Offense and/or Dismissing:
Pastor, there is a temptation right now for you to dismiss this article. In fact, even when pastors have freely admitted their delinquency in abiding through prayer and Bible reading, fixing that delinquency is easily where pastors have become the most offended during coaching... including leaving coaching. Don't harden your heart here and don't dismiss the simple truths in this article.
2. So, does that mean that something like ministry coaching isn't needed?
No. In fact, for ministry coaching to be effective AT ALL, it has to be built on this foundation of prayer and Bible reading. (And a prayer army fighting alongside you and for you in prayer is also VERY important.) Again, every answer to every problem begins with the fundamentals of prayer and Bible reading.
With this foundation of prayer and Bible reading in place, your ministry coach and you are then properly resourced as a team to partner with the Lord and tackle the challenges that are being faced.
This is why every pastor who does even one coaching meeting with us is asked to read this article first! This is why the VERY first thing we address within ministry coaching is prayer and Bible reading - no matter what a pastor's challenges are.
3. If I am properly abiding in and partnering with Jesus, then why do I also need to team up with human(s) in my partnership with Jesus?
It is a fair question, and one that I carried myself for a long time. We address a good majority of this question in this article: How Pastors/Leaders Can Stop Cultivating Problems.
Lastly, a good follow up to this blog is this one: There Are No Spiritual Batteries.