Item description for Reforming Pastoral Ministry: Challenges for Ministry in Postmodern Times by John H. Armstrong & Erwin W. Lutzer...
Overview How do you fill your pews? Though many pastors today utilize marketing tactics and popular psychology, the authors encourage shepherds to carefully consider the techniques they use---and challenge them to return to Christ-centered perspectives. Recapture the wonder of a holy God and depend on his irresistible grace to attract unbelievers to the gospel.
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Helpful reflections of Pastoral Ministry today Apr 23, 2005
Armstrong and his thirteen contributors endeavored to produce a book designed to enumerate the problems of modern pastoral ministry. Each of the fourteen writers dealt with a different issue in the practice of pastoral ministry which he considers broken. In so doing, they hoped to provide what each of them views as a necessary corrective to restore pastoral ministry to its biblical and historical roots. Some of the contributors provide helpful reflections. Others used their respective missives as an opportunity to ride gallantly upon their theological hobbyhorses intending to find brokenness where perhaps none exists, or at least not to the extent they believe exists.
Joel Beeke's chapter, "The Utter Necessity of a Godly Life," gives a pointed reminder to pastors that their lives must be lived above reproach. Much of the chapter seems elementary at its best and patronizing at its worst; but it does serve as a not-so-subtle rebuke to the minister whose life reflects more of this world than of the next world. Beeke reminds pastors that their congregations can never rise above the depth of their own spirituality. Pastors must always be one step ahead in the never-ending quest for godliness. It is easy for the busy pastor to substitute the duties of the job for devotion to the Savior, such as using sermon preparation as a substitute for devotional meditation. I have fallen into this trap, especially while under the time pressures common to many bi-vocational pastors. Now as a "fully supported," pastor, I realize that the giftedness of my ministry must be authenticated by the fruitfulness of my character and conduct borne out of a passionate love relationship with Jesus. My people will never see Jesus reflected in my life if I neglect spending time in the Tent of Meeting. Thomas Smith's chapter entitled, "Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing," is a wonderful polemic for the centrality of Christ in preaching. Just as the apostolic kerygma maintained the centrality of Christ and the cross, all modern preaching must strive to bring people to Christ. Without Jesus, there is no good news. Without the preaching of the cross, there is no hope for spiritual health and wholeness. All our exegesis must pass through a Christological filter to ensure sound hermeneutics. The apex of Christian preaching must remain the glory of God through the exaltation of Christ. Jerry Marcellino deals with the important issue of the glory of God in worship. One must not design a worship services for the pleasure of the people. Worship belongs to God. The object of worship is never the feelings of the worshipper, but the exaltation of the One worshipped. Worship must reflect God's grandeur, his transcendence, and his mystery. While many of Marcellion's points regarding worship are well taken, his treatment of what constitutes acceptable worship music lacks the necessary specificity to be helpful and is sufficiently vague to be harmful. While some worship music seems to transcend time and culture, every generation must be free to offer praise and adoration in the vernacular of its musical culture. Much of the denigration directed at contemporary praise and worship music reflects the aesthetic values of the detractors rather than specific biblical injunctions. Modern day Luthers and Calvins must be allowed to transform the popular music of the day into melodious praise meaningful to the contemporary worshipper. Let history sort out what works and what does not work.