I’ll come back to NT Wright, how can I not? But I wanted to highlight something—briefly again—I want to highlight the important impact pastors have. I grew up as the son of a Baptist pastor man (which I have recounted more than once), and so I was always present to the ministry of the church, and part of pastoral life at an intimate level. But just out of high school (in 1992), I went through a lukewarm lull in my walk with Christ; suffice it to say the Lord radically turned my lights back on while I was with some friends in Las Vegas. This brought about a long prolonged season of life where I began to experience crisis, theologically, in my life and Christian spirituality; but crisis in the kind of way of the Apostle Paul, where he had the sentence of death written upon him so that he wouldn’t trust himself, but in the one who raises the dead (II Cor. 1.7ff). And it was in this period, in this season of crisis (by the way I continue on in a theology of crises, but in a different mode than in these initial stages) that the importance and significance of pastors became prominent for me. I needed them; I needed them to point me to Christ in an informed, biblical, and theological way.
By God’s grace I had the opportunity to be directed to Christ through the ministries and pastors of various Calvary Chapels in Southern California (my home church became Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa at this point in life). The Lord providentially used these ministries and pastors to provide an anchor for me which gave me a counter-voice to the pagan voices and ethos I was surrounded by, day to day, in day to day life. At a point, though, these pastors weren’t enough; they weren’t going deep enough, they weren’t providing me with the intellectual and devotional/theological resource my soul was really crying out for. And so I had to enroll in a Bible College and Seminary with trained theologians and pastors at its helm.
And now, though, as I reflect on other people out there, so many of them in crisis in the way that I was, I am concerned! And once again I realize how important and serious it is for pastors to take their jobs very seriously. They need to be men who are drinking deeply from theological pools that become an overflowing fount out of which they might minister to these thirsty souls. They need to remember how lonely and desperate many Christians are ‘out there’ in the world, and how they represent the only tangible point of contact and resource that many and most Christians have available to them. Being a pastor is serious business; it is exceedingly overwhelming, of the kind that the pastor must ever anew, everyday be pushed into and rest upon the breast of God in Jesus Christ—by so doing, they can genuinely provide rest for their parishioners upon that same breast.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. ~John 15:5
1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judgedmore strictly. ~James 3:1