Had a great couple of days Gospel Coaching some incredible Church Planters. If you are not familiar with Gospel Coaching you can find out more by clicking here.
This week, meetings focused on character issues. So often in pastoral ministry we are most oblivious to our own sin. I believe this is one of the greatest battles for the pastor. I do not think pastors think they are sinless or without flaws, but for many, justification and narcissism has prevented individual responsibility in dealing with real character issues. Here is one of two questions that were discussed this week as we dealt with character issues.
Question 1. How do you become self aware of character issues? (The answers generally fell into three categories; I will include my challenge to the planters)
1. Spouse (oh how true!!:)
Challenge: We all know that we learn the greatest amount about ourselves from our spouse. However, you must not neglect the discipline, invitation, and cultivation that must happen for this to be fruitful in a marriage. I am constantly amazed at the lack of hard and authentic conversations between couples. Your spouse will never help you become aware of character issues if there has not been a foundation of freedom and trust built in the relationship.
2. The Word of God and the Holy Spirit
Challenge: I believe one of the hardest disciplines in the world for a pastor, is to have a devotional life. To read the Word of God for the sole purpose of allowing God’s Word to read us! Unless there is a disciplined focus on allowing God’s Word to reveal our own sinful habits, lifestyle, pride, arrogance, etc…there will be the natural drift to turn your devotional life into an exercise of hermeneutical ability in preparation for the next great sermon. We must read the Word of God for the purpose of personal sanctification, without this devotional discipline, we quench the power of the Holy Spirit’s purifying work.
Challenge: I don’t know if I was the first to say it, but here it is: “You cannot have accountability with someone if they cannot see your eyes and hear your heart.” I talked to a minister one time, and he told me his accountability partner was his friend that was several states away, whom he had not seen in years. He may have been his pen pal, but he wasn’t his accountability partner. We must have someone who knows us well enough and loves us deeply enough to tell us hard things about our life. The longer I meet with pastors and the more tragedy I see from wrecked ministries, the more I realize, many people NEVER experience this excruciatingly wonderful privilege. That’s right excruciatingly wonderful! Real accountably is excruciatingly painful when a trusted man of grace helps us measure our life to the standard of Jesus and the truth of His word. However, it is also wonderful after the painful experience of crucifying our lives we realize we are more like Christ, and it was all for His glory! What a blessing it is to have someone who loves us enough to help us see character issues in our life.