Tag Archives: introduction

Replenishing People

May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me—may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus. (2 Timothy 1:16-18 ESV)

If we take the Apostle Paul’s life as the standard, it would be gross understatement to say that the life of a pastor is hard. We have several passages that catalogue his difficulties, beatings, shipwrecks, and imprisonments. In addition to these external oppressors, he had what he calls the daily pressure of his anxiety for all the churches (2 Cor. 11:28). And while most pastors in the Western hemisphere will not go through quite as much external persecution (though they should be ready to do so), there is much about pastoral ministry that is physically exhausting, mentally draining, and spiritually grueling. To be sure, the same could be said of the Christian life in general. How do we respond to such a burden?

In college, I took a spiritual discipline’s class in which the professor strongly recommended that we all find what he called “replenishing people” to serve us in the same way that Onesiphorus served Paul in the passage above. These are people who, for one reason or another, the Lord uses in our lives to give us grace. They are people who don’t even have to try, but simply by being around them you gain a fresh desire to serve faithfully and live obediently. They give you encouragement without effort, and they sharpen you in casual conversation. If hard conversations need to be had, they are the ones who can rebuke you and lead you to the cross in the same sentence. These are true, gospel friendships, and every pastor needs to have them.

Paul’s burden for the churches was not unhealthy. It was right. It was a consequence of his calling, and it should be shared by all God’s undershepherds. But that does not mean pastors need to bear this burden in isolation. They cannot, and they should not. Pastors, make it a priority to seek out and cultivate relationships with those replenishing people that God has placed in your life. Praise God for them. Let these people know the ways in which God is using them in your own life. Admit your need for God’s people and celebrate his good provision in replenishing people.

As for me, one of the great privileges of my time in college was meeting many of those who would serve as replenishing people in my life. Two of those guys I now share this blog with, and I am excited to continue to grow with them as we pursue Christ. I’m grateful to God for these two brothers, and I trust we will all be replenishing one another along the way.


Formula For Becoming A Pastor

Grow up in church. Attend every service. Be a leader in the “youth group”. Go to a Christian college. Graduate. Get married. Go to Seminary. And when you graduate, you, your wife, three kids and your black lab all move into the parsonage where you finally are qualified and prepared to be a Pastor. This is it right? Maybe not…

The apostle John writes in I John 3:1 “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God…and SO WE ARE”. We often classify what we are in the Lord’s hand in past or future terms. We want to verify salvation itself by an event, a moment in time, a prayer. We also tend towards leaving holiness as some futuristic blanket we’ll receive from Peter at the pearly gates.

John writes that we have hope because we know that when we see him we will be made like him. This is our only hope; that we be made like Christ, and heaven surely is the culmination of that promise. However, he is also declaring that we are children of God now, today, and have the spirit of God living in us. John’s conclusion from this is that with this knowledge we will then “purify (ourselves) as he is pure.” We have been called to Christ, to be sanctified to His holiness today. We have been completely cleansed by the blood of the Lamb (1:7). That is not merely something we look forward to happening but a reality in which we should live.

Similarly our pursuit to be pastors is not a state of calling resigned for some future expectation. We are called today. There is no formula. We’ve only been promised that all we need has been given in the word for life and godliness (I Pet. 1:3). That implies that we are to be above reproach, a godly husband, self-controlled, respectable… today, all these are to be qualities we should exhibit now (I Tim 3). This does not remove training ourselves in righteousness, in fact it implores it to be so.

Part of our desire in creating this blog is to test ourselves; to challenge one another to live in view of the call. Thus, we can cry out with John, confident in Christ alone, that, we have been called to shepherd, and indeed we are shepherds. For those who will read, we thank you ahead of time for your comments, suggestions, and encouragement.


Why This Blog With These Guys?

Over the last 26 years, the Lord has given me much grace in my life. I was born and raised in the middle of the Bible Belt to a family who never missed church. As a fourth grader, the Lord called me to himself. I believed and repented. Over the next 10 years or so, the Lord would work within my soul a deep desire to devote my life to full time ministry. Prior to graduating high school, the biggest step of faith I took in this direction was applying to Union University to major in Christian Studies.

As I pulled up to Union on that sweltering day in August of 2004 as a scared freshman, if I had known what the Lord would do over the next four years, I would have turned and headed back to ‘Bama. The Union campus was my wilderness, my belly of the whale, my exile. The Lord used that place to draw me to himself and send me out to the world (quite literally!). I’m sure, over time, this blog will speak to much of what God did in that time of my life. For the sake of this post, though, I’ll speak to two of the greatest things I gained at Union.

The truth is those things aren’t things. They’re brothers I hadn’t previously had. God, in his goodness, gave to me 2 guys who he would use to convict me, sharpen me, and encourage me. Those 2, of course, are my fellow bloggers here: Carter and Shane.

For the sake of your desire to actually read this, I’ll wrap it up. Individually, we’ve all been called to pastoral ministry. Collectively, we’ve spent hours in conversations about what that looks like. One night, laying in bed, I decided I wanted these conversations written down. I sent them an email, and they wanted the same thing. So, here we are: three guys discussing what it looks like to be pastors. We don’t claim to have all the answers. We don’t claim that our posts aren’t fallible. We’re just thinking out loud about what God has called us to do.

We’re glad you’re here reading our thoughts. Talk to us. Give us your thoughts. Help us as we seek to shepherd the flocks the Lord will one day give to our charge.