For this paper, I interviewed the pastor of Grace Life Baptist Church in Ruby Michigan, USA. Would you say that your congregation (or the people within your particular department or area of ministry) is “Living Out the Mind of Christ” (i.e. Unity, Humility, Selflessness) as they interact, serve, and minister to/with each other? How specifically do you as a ministry leader teach, cultivate, and maintain “The Mind of Christ” in your area of ministry? “At Grace Life we strive to be like Christ in every decision that is made.” Grace Life has had its difficulties; they started Grace Life from a church that split due to differing beliefs. Since the beginning of Grace Life they have strived to be the picture of Christ. As a body of believers, they have come to recognize that humility and selflessness should be at the core of all believers. “I put a strong emphasis on unity in our church, and I believe that through teaching about the humility and selflessness of Christ we will learn to be more inclined to have a mind of Christ.” Would you consider yourself a “Wounded Healer?”
Also, would you please share an example where you have ministered to a person who is/was “wounded” in the same manner that you once were? (cf. II Corinthians 1:3-5) Being a “Wounded Healer” is something that all pastors like to believe that they are, however, being a “Wounded Healer” is much more than most pastors would admit that it is. Healing the wounded is not just showing them Christ; you have to disciple them as well. The pastor of Grace Life used to be in the Army and served with hundreds of lost people. Because of seeing so much in his time in the Army, he had lost his faith. His major wound came when his friend that he served with died in combat. It took him many years to realize that God was still in control and everything happened for a reason. He then started to witness to his friends that had gone through the same thing. How specifically does the Holy Spirit help guide you as you lead/serve in your ministry? Also, can you give a specific example of how you were able to clearly recognize that the Holy Spirit was helping/guiding you in dealing with a particular situation and/or decision while in your ministry?
What advice would you give me that, if I obeyed, would assure me that I would be able to be guided by the Holy Spirit in my life and/or ministry? The pastor at Grace Life has made it clear that he believes that the Holy Spirit guides us in every aspect in our lives; the only thing we have to do to get this guidance is to ask for it. Specifically the Holy Spirit guides his words while preaching. The pastor at Grace Life was also the pastor at the church that split leading to the start of Grace Life, the Holy Spirit led him to start a new church and that decision has proved to be one that was given to him by the Holy Spirit. The advice he gave me was simple, follow Christ’s example, always lean on Him, and look to Him when you do not know what to do.
Do you have a personal philosophy (i.e. an agreed upon plan of action/policy/understood protocol) of how/when/where you confront sin in the lives of 1) co-ministers/co-leaders in your ministry, and 2) people to whom you minister? If so, what is it? How did you come to this philosophy? If not, do you see a need for such a philosophy? Why or Why not? “I follow the example set my Christ. Go to that person, and if they won’t listen, take 2-3 witnesses with me, if they still won’t listen it becomes a matter to be decided by the church.” The Bible makes it 100% clear what we as Christians are to do in these situations. Can I perform a little ministry quiz on you? “Sure”
Can you recall for me what you specifically did (i.e. tasks performed, people you talked to, the number of hours of service) on any individual day in your ministry approximately six weeks ago? “Six weeks ago we were dealing with the sound system, it wasn’t working correctly and I remember somewhere between 6 and 8 hours spend on tracing wires back to there source.” Can you recall any time in the past that you were either so moved by hearing a sermon, reading a bible verse, hearing a testimony of a someone’s salvation that made such an impact upon your life that you still have a vivid recollection of the event today? How long ago did that spiritual event take place? “Probably around 6 months ago or so, I was reading in Psalms, and came across a verse in chapter 51 ‘Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.’ This verse became one of my favorite verses because of its powerful phrasing. It has become one of the verses that comes into my head on a daily basis, and I thank God for that!”
Could you briefly describe for me how your daily “Quiet time with God” or your “Communion time with God” or “Your Devotion time with God” usually goes? “Well, I usually start my day with prayer and my Bible reading. I take time in the morning before my family wakes up, and the distractions of life come into play. God and I time is my favorite time of the day, and when I take the proper amount of time in prayer and reading my day seems to be much smoother and I don’t feel as rushed.” As a minister, are you ever tempted to become competitive with either a fellow minister or a neighboring ministry or covet the “success” or resources of other ministers and/or ministries? How do you overcome this temptation in your life if/when it ever comes up in your heart?
What advice would you give me to make sure I remain content with what God specifically has for me in my own life and/or ministry? “Being a pastor of a church that God has blessed abundantly has always been a temptation for me to brag about how great I am doing; but it is never me that has the success. It becomes very easy to look at other pastors ministries and compare them to mine. These temptations are only overcome by realizing that God has allowed this church to be successful, it has nothing to do with my abilities. God has given me everything that I need to be a success in Him. It is far too easy to become proud of something that seems to have come from our hands, however, if we acknowledge the fact that God is the one that it came from, it is much easier to stay humble.” Provide a summary of your interview.
What stood out to you the most from this interview?
The pastor was clearly filled with the Holy Spirit. He had a clear heart for God, and the way he talked about Christ made it clear that he has a strong relationship with God. He has a distinct passion for Christ that can only be seen while talking to him. What did you learn that will help you develop your own philosophy of ministry? I learned that starting the day out with a good amount of time spent with God in prayer and reading His word is crucial to growing closer to Him, and living out my life the way that He would have me to live it. What did you learn about leadership that you feel is important when ministering to others? I learned there is a proper way to deal with sin inside the body of Christ, and that as a leader in a church this knowledge is important because it is specifically addressed in the word of God.