June 24, 2008

The Gift of Pastors

The Gift of Pastors

Welcome, Pastor!

God has gifted every member of the church to serve all the others. Each Christian has a specific role to play. When we use our gifts for the common good, the church is built up and strengthened. Unfortunately, Christians who do not know their spiritual gifts cannot use them.

That is one way pastors strengthen the church. Pastors help Christians discover talents that have been hidden and therefore unused. This is similar to truffle hunting. In southern France, truffles are cultivated. They are not chocolate; they are hard, plum-sized balls of black fungus that grow underground. Truffles are extremely valuable because they are rare. Chefs worldwide prize the shavings for the intoxicating earthy aroma they add to gourmet dishes.

Some French truffle hunters with well-trained noses can detect a truffle hidden up to a foot under ground. (Dogs with this ability fetch prices in the tens of thousands of dollars.) Good pastors perform a similar function. They discover hidden treasures -- the gifts of God’s people -- that can then be lifted up, celebrated, and used for the benefit of others to the glory of God.

When we realize that everyone in the church has been called to service by virtue of their baptism, we recognize immediately the value of pastors. Pastors are the people God has chosen to train Christians in the discovery and use of their gifts. When this training is effective, God’s people mature spiritually and the whole church becomes stronger, because the whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love (Ephesians 4:16). In this way a pastor’s service builds up the church, the body of Christ, and brings people closer to maturity in Christ, who is the head.

Excerpt from "Welcome, Pastor!: Building a Productive Pastor-Congregation Partnership in 40 Days" Fred Oaks (Grand Haven, Michigan: FaithWalk, 2005)

From a CSS Publishing email