This past weekend I finished reading Darrin Patrick’s book Church Planter. It is an excellent summary of church in the 21st century. The book is broken into three main sections: The Man, The Message, The Mission. I particularly apreciated the first section as it deal with calling and character.
Here are my top five quotes from the book:
Regarding the pastorsal call...
In a heart-call, a deep inclination in the soul says, I must do this or I will die. The called man cannot imagine going into another vocation: he daydreams about ministry, he talks about ministry, and he cannot wait to be in ministry. There is an abiding, relentless desire for the work of ministry that the called man cannot shake off or ignore—even amidst hardship, persecution, and fear. This strong desire in the heart can sometimes result in anxiety and apprehension. Questions are forced to the surface, like Can I really do this? Can God really use me? What if I fail? Nothing provokes insecurity like signing up to follow God’s call and do God’s work. A man who is truly called may doubt and struggle with his calling at times, but ultimately he will not be able to walk away.
The Head Confirmation vs. The Heart Confirmation...
The man who is experiencing head confirmation is thoughtful about his own philosophy of ministry, his own ministry style, his own theological beliefs, his own unique gifts, abilities, and desires. In short, there is uniqueness to the way he wants to do ministry. Unlike many young men who know much about what they are against and little about what they are for, the man who is experiencing head confirmation thinks through very carefully and deliberately, What am I for with my life and ministry? What are my specific burdens for the church? How can I best serve the church in these areas?
The Mistake of Opperating Only in Personal Strengths
Pastors tend to stay in their strengths and avoid their weaknesses. “Theology guys” tend to spend a lot of time reading and discussing dead theologians. “Missional guys” tend to spend a lot of time analyzing culture and drinking lattes. “Shepherding guys” tend to spend a lot of time hanging out with people and counseling them. But rarely do we see pastors step out of their strengths into their areas of weakness. Why is this? Because it is uncomfortable. It is difficult. It is flesh-starving.
Realizing Ones Weakness Through Pastoral Shepherding
When you deal with the sin of others, you become more aware of your own sin. When you shepherd the stubborn, you see your own stubbornness. When you shepherd the selfish, you see your own selfishness. When you shepherd the broken, you inevitably see your own brokenness.
Good Rest vs. Bad Rest
Determined men take time seriously and are very intentional about how they use it. This does not mean that we never rest—far from it! But it does mean that we should be intentional about when and how we rest. For most of us, for example, redeeming the time probably does not mean spending hours each night watching television or surfing YouTube. Such activities may feel relaxing for the moment, but they are often a huge drain on our energy and ability to serve God and people well. For most of us, redeeming the time will mean that we work hard to eliminate unnecessary time suckers in our week, that we design a system for answering e-mails efficiently, that we think through our weekly schedules and priorities beforehand, and so on. You will be amazed at how much this kind of Edwardian discipline and intentionality will give you energy and refresh your ministry over the long stretch.
If you have read the book I would love to hear what gems you picked up.