I left a wide open field, when I asked for help preparing for a pastors' conference (May 8). No pastor replied, but four lay people took (great) trouble to let me know. They represent four very different needs:
1) Cultural communication - "I think pastors need to hear a Holy Spirit perspective on the massive cultural shifts...in this...'post-Christian' world. How can we keep the Gospel relevant?
2) Personal refreshment - "If my pastor asked me what he should hear - (it's) about relaxing, refreshing and recharging is what I would say." Set aside one day a week. Stop over-scheduling, and spend time with the Lord.
3) Prophetic challenge - too many pastors are stuck in a role, running a church as efficiently as possible, cheerleading a dynamic organization, recruiting members, etc. "There are two prevalent philosophies in church pastors today; 1. enhancing what "I" want; 2. a commitment of myself to become what God wants." Pastors need to be brave and make the second choice ..."the focus should not be on comfort, applause, security but on the living God...,What would I tell a pastor? I want to keep company with the men and women who expand and deepen our capacity to live our true, God-created, Jesus-saved, Spirit-filled lives."
4) Encouragement - "I think many pastors look at themselves as being just average. In their minds, they're no Bill Hybels. This attitude affects their ability to preach and to lead....If I were a pastor I would love to hear that every pastor can be great in the place where God has put them. God will equip them to do his work." Why not be like a coach at half-time in a football game, when you're down two touchdowns... "but you know you can win. You just need to get your team to believe they can win."
What a choice - cultural analysis, personal lifestyle, prophetic challenge, and encouragement! I know all four have a place....maybe I shall be able to mention them all. If you want to see these full comments go back to the May 8th posting.