In a previous post, I had mentioned the The Gospel Coalition LA Chapter’s quarterly equipping meeting that we attended. You can get a summary of Jared Wilson’s first talk here. Jared’s second talk can be summarized here: 5 Distinguishing Marks of a Fruitful Church.
After lunch, we all had a chance to text in our ministry questions to a moderator and Jared would answer them. Here is a summary of the the questions and his answers (note: this is not verbatim or a direct quotation).
What practical things can we do to protect ourselves from burnout?
Having a leadership and elders who are sensitive to that issue. They can pickup things we don’t. They can check our spiritual temperature. They’re mindful of that. Rest: take actual rest. Do it on a weekly basis. Boundaries: show that you’re available except when you’re not. Margin: Work time that is unscheduled. Flex time: more time for sermon prep, visitation, meeting in unscheduled time. Time to read, pray, sit and think. Things you were putting off. Don’t schedule yourself to the rim.
How do you balance public repentance of our personal sin without having people feel sorry for you?
It’s an issue of discernment. The way you tell stories and illustrate has an effect. Stories about failure can show that there are some deficiencies.
What warnings do you have about disqualification from ministry?
Have accountability. Not every guy with a big church has to write books or speak at conferences. The celebrity platform has monopolized gifting with success. Public ministry can eat you up sometimes.
What place does calling for decisions have in a Gospel-centered church?
You can do it without having a pragmatic equation in the invitation time. Public invitation is nothing wrong. Every sermon where you preach the Gospel involves response. Don’t “yawn” at the message. Maybe you’re not having them come forward, but you can invite them to believe in Jesus. If you’re going to do it, you should put pressure on them and have them respond to grace and not manipulation. Don’t equate a raised hand with salvation.
How do you personally cultivate a profound experience of the Gospel in your own heart?
You cannot manufacture a response to the Gospel. The Gospel really does impact the way you think. Why wouldn’t you want water or want to breathe everyday. Not to have it be a fad or trend, but to see it as vital everyday.
How long does it take before you see fruit in a church as you preach the Gospel?
It may not take very long at all if the Spirit is at work in the Gospel. But you cannot schedule revival. You just need to rely upon the work of the Gospel to do the work of the Gospel. Maybe you are being faithful, evangelizing, discipling and the Lord may not give you the visible fruit that you want.
If we’re not pursuing numbers, what does outreach, evangelism, marketing look like?
When you tell people evangelism doesn’t mean closing the deal but it means telling them the Gospel, you see the burden lift. There’s no mind trick. You train people to evangelize in their context.
How would you train future pastors/elders with 1 Peter 5:1-4?
Start with discipleship. Not every young man will qualify as an elder. Men who are maturing and godly are not all called to elders. You don’t want to pressure someone to be an elder out of their will. You want them to aspire to it. Every 4th Monday, they had elders study sessions. Any man of the church could come and study with the elders. Pastoral community, and any man can stay for the elders meeting, sit and observe. Confidential stuff saved until the end. Sermon planning, visioning, guys needed to be there.
Take a guy under your wing. Just hang out with them. Do family dinner with them. See how they do life in general. How they are being respectable people. Take them on visitations and everything.
What books are you working on?
An apologetics book on why Christianity makes emotional sense. A discipleship book related to spriitual disciplines, idolatry, church membership, how to treat the pastor, and discipleship for people who are not go-getters.