This week is our annual Pastors and Spouses’ Retreat at Newport. It is so good to be with one another. One thing you can’t replace online is worshiping together (Thank you to the two Brians from New Hope for leading us in worship!) And, yes, the weather is great too.
Our guest speaker, Bill Clem, shared three dimensions for living a more fruitful life. Here are the three C’s he shared.
Too often, we confuse our calling with our role. Roles change. Our calling remains constant. Our calling is about who we are – being called to be more like Christ. Our role is what we do.
Roles change throughout our ministry. During COVID, our roles changed, but our calling didn’t. We may feel gifted and equipped to do some tasks, while others we may not even want to do. Bill shared how the prophet Ezekiel was trained to be a priest but was given the role of prophet, an assignment he didn’t particularly like. Ezekiel was faithful in sharing God’s message, even though others did not receive it (See Ezekiel 2:3-5; 3:7,14).
When I was in my 20’s I wanted to be a good communicator and for that you need an audience; when I was in my 30’s I wanted to be a leader and for that you need followers; in my 40’s I wanted to be a movement maker and I needed disciples. But those are roles that I wanted. Now I realize my calling is to image God.-Bill Clem
God’s calling transcends what we do. Too often, we let our roles define our success. Transformation is more important than accomplishments. It is God’s goal for us to know and love Him.
Our lives need to be lived intentionally and wisely. That requires commitment. The Bible says that we should “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15).
Fools don’t know they are wasting time. They are not aware of the evil around them. A wise person redeems time in the midst of evil and pursues God’s will as a way of life.
Bill said that we are to “Live at the speed of love and lead at the speed of grace. Love and grace become our governors.” We need to slow down for others. Be present. Listen. Show others that we truly love them.
But how do we live that out? It shows up in what we do daily and how we plan our lives. He encouraged all of us to create a mission statement in answer to the question, “What does it take for me to live an Ephesians 5 life?” which will enable us to make better decisions and set priorities in our lives.
A mission statement simply answers the what, how, who, and why of our lives.-Bill Clem
The majority of pastoral problems stem from relational issues. Most pastors don’t get into trouble because of doctrinal error or moral failings, they shipwreck because they lack social awareness. Peter Scazzero says, “Emotional health and spiritual maturity cannot be separated. It is impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.”
Changed lives change lives.– Bill Clem
There are a number of indicators of poor emotional health such as defensiveness, lack of empathy and an inability to resolve conflict in a healthy way. The marks of good emotional health include being approachable, seeking feedback from others, and having a non-anxious presence even in stressful circumstances.
Healthy leaders are able to differentiate themselves from others and their struggles without disengaging. We need to increase our awareness of others while at the same time learn to restrain our reactions. Take time to pause and ask God for wisdom as to what to say and not say.
BEFORE YOU GO…
We are in a process. As believers, we all follow Biblical principles, our spiritual alphabet. We also are unique and we need to learn to use our shared alphabet to create our unique signature. We’ll do that as we pursue God’s calling in our lives to image Him not serve a role, as we intentionally articulate our mission, and as we engage with a non-anxious presence in the lives of those we serve.