Training Lay Pastors - Lesson 1
The Heart of a Pastor
The transcript discusses the heart of a pastor, defining the term and emphasizing its importance. The lesson identifies key ingredients of a pastor's heart, focusing on love for God and His Word, as well as love for God's people. The first section examines examples from Scripture of those who love God and His Word. The second section looks at Jesus' example of loving God's people and explores the characteristics of love. The lesson concludes with a summary and encouragement.
The Heart of a Pastor
PC303-01: The Heart of a Pastor
A. Definition of a Pastor
B. Importance of Heart
C. Key Ingredients of a Pastor's Heart
II. Love for God and His Word
A. Examples from Scripture
B. Love for God's Word
III. Love for God's People
A. Jesus' Example
B. Characteristics of Love
- You will gain insight into the key ingredients of a pastor's heart, specifically love for God and His Word, and love for God's people. The lesson examines biblical examples of these characteristics and concludes with a summary and encouragement.
- By taking this lesson on "Casting a Vision That Inspires," you will learn the importance of having a clear and compelling vision for effective leadership, including understanding the definition of vision, the connection between vision and leadership, and the essentials of effective vision casting.
- You will learn about Leadership Multiplication, its biblical foundation, principles and methods of effective apprenticeship, challenges and opportunities in leadership multiplication, and various methods of apprenticeship such as one-on-one mentoring, small group discipleship, ministry apprenticeships, and developing a culture of apprenticeship.
Greg Rohlinger teaches the values that leaders must possess, how to communicate a ministry vision, and how to effectively multiply leaders through an apprenticeship program. In this series, you will discover how these principles can help your church develop lay leaders as well.
Training Lay Pastors
The Heart of a Pastor
[00:00:03] Nehemiah is without a doubt one of the greatest leadership books because of the things that Nehemiah felt, the things that Nehemiah said, things Nehemiah did, and things that he accomplished in the end. Our course, if you go by us, we're going to run through Nehemiah the verse through on your notes. But I encourage you sometime to go back and do a more thorough study of this book. It's incredible how it goes for a session about what it means to be a leader, what it means to be a Palm Valley Church leader. And we put it in our context of PCC. But the three characteristics of leader has to have if they're going to if they're going to lead effectively and lead for the long haul. And, you know, leadership is essential. We believe everything rises and falls on leadership. God uses leaders to to start and to continue movements. Leaders are the ones that challenge and develop people. I believe everything rises and falls on leadership. And so we believe that leadership is where we want to invest our time, we to invest our resources because you guys lead the church, not when where people want to go, but where God wants us to go. And those are often quite different because we like comfort, we like ease, we like being served. And God challenged us to be a church that that is uncomfortable with the gospel, that that's selfless and it is full of servants. And so we want to lead people in that. So I won't challenge on your leadership about what it means to be a leader, and I just want to put it in the context of people you're looking for, because one thing we challenge you is always looking for the people that you're going to develop.
[00:01:21] You know, you should always be following some leaders who are sharpening you and you should always be having some people follow you that you're sharpening. And that's what this is all about. So first thing about a PBC leader is that if people see a leader actually with passion, this leader has to passion. Passion makes a world difference in any endeavor. If you see somebody who's excited about what they do, they make a difference. They see somebody who who's just kind of lackluster, kind of, you know, whatever they'll never accomplished. And great, you want to accomplish something great, You've got to be a leader with passion. In the context of Nehemiah, I heard reports that that is his way to begin. Got to go back to Jerusalem, that the walls were torn down, the temple was destroyed, and the people were camped out around the walls. You know, there's a multitude of people camped out around the walls who see that the walls are torn down, who are affected by that, by it, but they don't have any passion for do anything. Nehemiah As compared to the king in Babylon. Here's the report. And the first thing he does is it hits him in the heart and he realizes something needs to change or something that needs to be different about this. And in my one for he says, when I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourn, fasted and prayed to the God of heaven. You know, when we hear a new sometimes you hear as you well, that's a shame or that's too bad, or something ought to be done to, to, to be moved to weeping, to be moved to fasting, committed to praying. You have to really care.
[00:02:37] And that's passion. Nehemiah The passion and the passion transcended the gap of miles that they had the culture, cultural difference. He was living in Nehemiah. His passion was giving propel him to do something great for God. Where to begin With that passion? He prayed about his passion. He began to ask God, What should I do with this? And you're praying through your passion. Printed things that God puts on your heart out is courage to the family. What does God want to do with this? A lot of times we'll hear, you know, we'll get passion about something. We'll just run off and go do it. And then we get going in 20 different directions. We always want to run it back to the funnel of what God's called us, to the vision that we have and how we accomplish that as a team together. Nehemiah began to pray it through and appropriate it through. His passion propelled him to go for the big ask, to go to the king and ask for a huge, huge favor. During Nehemiah for the King, the King said, What's wrong? What's on your heart? And he knows he has passion because it's visible on him. People could see their say, something's not right with you right now. You know, you're not your usual happy go lucky. Nehemiah, what's going on? You know, they saw the difference. They saw the burden on his heart. And he says, you begin to ask him. It tells him about the situation in Jerusalem. And he says, I replied, If it please Your Majesty, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried. Now, basically, Nehemiah was asking me, he said, Would you send me back from the people that you you've held captive? Would you send me back so that we can rebuild the walls and then we're going to rebuild the temple, begin to worship again, and we want to get really strong so that we can become your natural enemy again.
[00:04:04] CHANCE Someday we're going to come back and rebuild, defeat you. Nehemiah is going for a huge honking task. But, you know, he's putting his neck out on this one, literally. But he's so passionate about it, nothing's going to stop him from accomplishing what he's called to do. I think it's one of the things that as you look back over ten years of Holme Valley, one of the things that I think has compelled us to to continue going forward is our passion. We have a huge passion for the gospel. We have a huge passion for people, and that compels us to be uncomfortable. We shot videos for the history of Pine Valley Church, and one of things we talked about was going to the gym and we moved from a movie theater with nice big plush seats, with cup holders, with, you know, the screens right there. You could stay and watch free movies after if you just sat in your seat. You know, it was an incredibly comfortable situation. But we packed it out to services. We couldn't expand any more there. So we made a decision as a two and a half year old church that we were going to leave the comfort and leave the movie theater. We were going to move to a gym and move to the gym. You know, first of all, it smelled not like popcorn. It smelled like sweat socks, right? And we had to we had to buy those big old chairs that you're sitting on. We had to lug them across the parking lot. When is 110 degrees? We had a set up and, you know, put the mats out, put up all the stage. It added another 2 hours to set up and tear down.
[00:05:13] It was it was less comfortable. It was not as appealing in any way. But we did it for one reason, because we were passionate about reaching lost people with love and hope. Along comes Jesus Christ. And that's what I can tell you. I used to be amazed to watch the set up and tear down to my price should help. But I just watched as some of the guys would be walking cross party and you could see their feet sticking on the ass boxes so hot in the summer, you know. But you're just doing it and bringing all the children's equipment in and setting up children's classes in the hallway and doing everything we can. So if you can develop passion for what works, what you're called to. If you have that passion will cause you to do anything to make it happen. You know, when you're passionate, you think about the first time you met your current wife. You know, you were passionate about meeting her. You did anything you could, you know, you empty the bank account to buy roses. You know, you you would or you put on cologne. You even took showers. You know, you did everything because you're passionate. Passion will compel you to keep busting through, even even when there's barriers, even when there's walls, even when there's obstacles in your way, passion will compel you forward. I challenge you. I think obviously we have to be passion about our relationship with Christ. And as leaders, I would challenge you be feeding that, you know, whatever you feed grows. And so that that that burning inside you know Christ that that desire to know him to grow in that relationship, feed that daily, feed your relationship, feed the passion that he has to reach the world through you and I.
[00:06:30] And that's his that's his desire. That's a great commission that we would go to the world and we reached him with love and help of Jesus Christ. But most churches don't accomplish that because they're not passionate about it. They're passionate about comfort, their passion about worship and worships great. We're called to worship. They're passionate about fellowship, they're passionate about children, and all those things are good things. But they're slight, slight, you know, a distraction from the focus we're to have, which is reaching lost people, as we did. I believe we have incredible worship because every weekend people are coming to Christ and what better way to honor God and worship them by seeing people's hearts and lives change through Christ? You know, we are incredible children's ministry because we have a lot more resources because of our passion for our children's ministry. You know, we have incredible fellowship, we have incredible discipleship. But it begins with that passion. We have to reach lost people, which is it was it has to be white hot for what we're called to do. So Nehemiah replies, If it please Your Majesty, your send, your servant sent me to do that, to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried. And he goes to the big ask. And incredible enough, the king says Yes, night is king. Say yes. The king says, Let me send you with a letter of protection. Let me say with the resources you're going to need to rebuild. And let me let me get you there safely. Unbelievable. And that's what God does. I think when we step forward of faith because of our passion and we go for something that God has called us to, I believe God loves to respond and honor our faith and bless our faith with resources that we could never imagine a dream of some very that's in the form of people.
[00:07:57] Sometimes it's buildings, sometimes it's in the form of tools we need, but it's always in the form of God showing up on our behalf in a way that we could have never expected beyond what we could ask. Dream more. Imagine that's kind of God we serve. And so I encourage you, keep that passion hot. If you ever begin to notice that passion dying out, focus on your passion is more important than the ministry. It's more it's more important to the people you minister to. Because if you if you lose your passion, you're no good to anybody. You're no good to you, to your wife, you're no good to your children. You're no good to You've got to have passion for life in life. The crisis caused you to stand guard. You keep feeding that passion. Now, I put analogy of if you were out in the cold camping and you begin to notice the campfire going out and it's midnight, you're going to feed that fire. That's no big deal. I'll wait till I'll wait a couple of hours and see what happens. Right. You're going to feed that fire because you know that fire. You want that fire's life. The fire you have Christ's passion. You for Christ has to be right. Hot has to be continually fed. And here's the ministry will suck you dry If you haven't realized that you probably have been doing it right because you know God loves you and everyone else has a wonderful plan for your life. Right. And there's always there's always a midnight call. There's always a wedding to do. There's always a funeral to attend. There's always people, you know, you run into the store at the mall. And I love that. I love that about ministry.
[00:09:10] You know, people sometimes like I hate in community and when it can't be in store, like this is why we started a church so that we would know people we could have influence in their life so they know Christ, you know. But here's the deal. I've got to have those times like Jesus did, where he retreated and got alone with the Father to be fed and to be nourished and to have that passion develop. You've got to be sure you make that your priority, whether it's getting up early, whether it's taking your lunch break, whatever it is, you've got to feed your passion for Christ and have that growing relationship because ultimately that's the best you have to offer other people's what God's doing. And you know, when you're growing your relationship, you know, somehow that always spills out. It always overflows like, like an offering in the lives of other people around you because you have something to give to them. When you're running dry in ministry, it can be tough. And that's why, you know, 5000 pastors a month quit ministry because they've lost their passion for, you know, the last passion for Christ, and they let ministry wear them out. I believe passion will. Your ministry. You can keep going for the long haul. You can work long hours, you can deal with difficult people. You can do anything. You know that passion for Christ, because he'll keep developing you, he'll keep correcting you, he'll keep strengthening you. But if you lose that passion for Christ, also the ministry becomes a job. It becomes a chore. You know, for a lot of people, you know, in volunteer capacity becomes your second job. It's like a second job. You know, it can suck you dry.
[00:10:25] But if you have a passion for Christ fuels you and you see life change around you and you see purpose in what you're doing. So I encourage you, keep feeding that passion that you have within you. The second thing about PV, you see leader that we look for, we don't look for people who lead with passion. We look for people that gather with passion. Vision is one of the toughest things in leadership learning how to develop and cast vision. We're going to talk about more in second session. But vision is essential. You know, Bible says without vision, the people perish. I like to turn upside down. I like to go positive on that. With vision, people live and that's what we want. We want people experience life, wants people experience life abundantly in life, eternity. But they need to make vision. And I look at this way we've got to have vision for people who don't have any vision for themself. Most people are just existing in our culture today. They're just trying to pay the next bills, you know, just trying to keep the job for another couple weeks, waiting for that that magic score, the lottery ticket to come through or, you know, someone to pass on and leave them. A lot of money here. And that's why marriage they're dying is why families are dying. That's why our culture around us, you know, is struggling because there's no vision. And where there's vision, people live where there's no vision, people pass. But where this vision people live. Nehemiah went back to to to go to Jerusalem. He got protection from the king. He got the resource. He goes back, By the way, I love what he did. We're talking about Morning Edition session.
[00:11:41] He didn't go right back and say, Nehemiah, I am here. Right. You know, everybody follow me. Nehemiah walked around quietly. He let people know he's there and then what he'd do at night. He got on a horse and he rode around the city wall surveying what's left. What do we have to start with? What's what? Where's the worst place? Where's the best place to start? What resource we have? Are there any rocks laying around we can begin with? You know, and he took a he took a survey and he understood the vision before he cast people. But I love it because he goes to the people and he begins to gather his vision. And we think about this no Internet, no Twitter, no Facebook, no email, no sound system. Nehemiah rallies the Nation of Israel back to a great work to rebuild the walls simply with vision. And this is how strong vision is. When you have vision, it changes light, it changes cultures. It changed the world, he said to them. But now I said to them, you know, for well, the tragedy of our city, it lies in ruins and its gates are burned. Let us rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and rid ourselves of this disgrace. Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me and about my conversation with the King. I love that because Nehemiah runs. Listen, look around. You guys are living at the feet of the walls. Put are the walls and they're destroyed. You have no protection. You're it's a disgrace as a nation to ourselves, and it's a disgrace to our God. Something needs to change. And that's his passion. Something needs to change. The vision is how are we going to do it? And he challenges them personally.
[00:13:02] He says this needs to change and then he gives them hope. He says, Listen, the king is even meeting with me. This is going to happen. And when you're leading this, you you want to lead with your passion. You only cast vision and you want to remind people of the successes along the way. Too many times we forget how much those little successes mean in people's lives, you know, because they're following your leadership. And if you're truly a leader, it's a lonely walk. I was just feeling for the leaders around us. Look for the people arrows in their back right now because they've been shot a few times. That's what leadership is. It's a lonely walk. You've got to get ahead of people. You've got to get with the Lord and then you've got to come back and lead the people not where they want to go, but where God wants to take them. And that's tough. t's not an easy task. But when you take on that task, if you cast vision, people will follow along the way, celebrate the success. It was a huge success that the King had given them by all the resources and a letter of protection, because that bolstered the people's hearts in a bolstered character thought that we can do this. And when things really started to appreciate is find ways to celebrate. People find ways to celebrate some success. You and your team, the people around you, celebrate whatever success you can. You know, this week, whatever five people came to Christ, celebrate that, you know, celebrate whoever came to Christ this week in your ministry. You know, I got a great text couple weeks ago, Saturday night after service, our children's director Adam, sent me a text and it was just a picture of seven kids in the circle.
[00:14:23] And he said, These kids all accepted Christ and we're beginning fresh. Start with them. Unbelievable. Yeah. Both tomorrow and homecoming. I can't wait to get back in the morning. I got to get more budget for Adam. I got to help out of my, you know, you know, celebrate successes, celebrate the wins and and distribute the victory as a leader. Don't hold on to yourself. All liquid I've done, you know, push it off on other people. Give it away. Because if you did anything great, it was through a team. Obviously, God put his hand out, but you did it to a team. Nothing great happens. Just buy on your own. You know you need a team, so celebrate the team and give them credit and then give them that hope. They might get some hope. And it's true. It's as a for 918 where there is no vision. The people perish. The amazing part to me, the whole story. Nehemiah. Multitudes had been camped and living at the foot of the wall. They woke up every day. They woke up and they looked down to the wall. Floors burned down. Well, we've got no temple where to worship God, but we have no temple. And then they did their daily life. They were too concerned with what their day life was. Let's watch some clothes with educate our kids. Let's go to work. Let's sell some stuff. But nobody had a passion or burden to develop the vision that something should change. They all knew something should change. But no one had really takes one guy with passion and vision to come into town and say, this ought to change. It has to change and we're going to do it. And he has a plan, and that's always why he's the leader.
[00:15:42] If you're gonna cast vision, have a plan for how you're going to fulfill it, you may not have all the details worked out. God may take some detours, but you have a plan. This is where we're going. And this is this is right now the best God has given me. And this is what we're going to do. A lot of times on a Friday, I'll call our creative arts team. Hey, we're changing something up this weekend and this is not that long. I can hear their eyes roll through the phone. You know, I can just see they're thinking, okay, Friday's my day off. I just got more work. And by a couple of years ago, one time, one of the guys said, Why didn't you tell me about the sooner? I said, God just told me. So I'm telling you to take it up with him next to me. Ask him to give it to me sooner. Right. So, you know, it is what it is. Things. Things change. But your passion and your vision will continue to carry you through the toughest of stuff. I love the way Nehemiah ends his challenge. It says, but in my to verse 20. But I replied, The God of heaven will help us succeed. We got allows me, the God of Heaven will help us succeed. We are assert we as servants will start rebuilding a wall. But you have no stake or claim in Jerusalem. I love it because Nehemiah his vision helps see beyond what the here and now is. He helps to see you right now. This wall slowing down and you're all camped out in a seems impossible situation. Seems like there's no hope. We got enemies all around us, Piers. Joe, we've got the protection of the king.
[00:16:55] We've got all the resources of the king. We've got all the labor we need right here. We're going to do this. We're going to rebuild it and challenge everyone to step up. But there are some people who decide they're not going to show up. And I love it because Nehemiah says point blank to them, But you have no stake or claim in Jerusalem, we're going to do this. And when it's done, don't come back. Say, hey, look what we did right. Don't come back. And looking for an apartment loft inside of the city walls. The this work belongs to the people who did the labor as leader. I tell you, sometimes we're afraid. We're afraid to celebrate people who did the work because we're afraid of offending people who didn't. I challenge you, offend the people who did because they need to be offended. They need to be offended that they're focused on their own personal lives, that they're so focused on just living for themselves that they can't see beyond themselves to help and care for other people. That's why we celebrate serving. We celebrate people who give we celebrate people who are doing the work right, because we believe that if you do the work, you have a stake in the work and you ought to be celebrated here. Seeing a lot of churches are afraid to offend. A lot of leaders are afraid to offend the people who don't do anything. So they never celebrate people who do everything and people and everything start to wonder, is it even noticed or does it make a difference? You know, did anybody see what I did? I once had played golf with a God in a church. He and his family all came to Christ early on.
[00:18:08] About year one, I think is right around here, first year anniversary of having a huge life change. And this guy was a high capacity guy. He was he was high up in a major Fortune 500 company and they made a radical life change in their family and sacrifice for four for our church and serving and giving. And we're playing golf one day. And he said, Do you not know what I give? I said, I. I don't know what you give or don't give. I said, you know, I know that you're givers, but I don't know. He said, You know what, Pastor? He said, Sometimes I wish you knew. He said, Sometimes I wish you knew. Just just how much our family has changed and sacrifice we made because we believe in the vision that you have. And sometimes I just wish you knew so that you could be encouraged by that. And I probably would be encouraged to see, you know, I'd be discouraged to see what a lot of people give or don't give, but I'd be encouraged by life change like that. And it made me realize, you know, in that guy's life, you know, he deserves somebody, his pastor, to come alongside. So, you know, I see life change and, you know, the hours you guys give, the resources you guys get financially, I think. And I appreciate it. And, you know, again, we all do it for the Lord and it's all, you know, don't let the White House here, the left hand is doing that. But still, it always feels good to be encouraged when you're doing right thing. And it will it will encourage people in so many areas, but will feel like, you know, I don't want to offend people who aren't doing the work Near my point blank says, Man, we as servants will start rebuilding the wall.
[00:19:29] I'm gonna see like group and group B, right? We will serve in all but you all. You have no stake in this. And for my cousin, by the way, I think that's a challenge to for them to say, you know what? Wait, I want to stake out. I want to do. I want to jump in. Let me jump in. If not, feel free. Don't be a part but don't come back at the end and think you're going to have an acre lot inside the walls. You're not. You have no stake in this work. And so I love the division and who my class, by the way, I think for the people who are going to do the work, I encourage them, you know, we're not carrying a bunch of dead weight. We're not carrying a bunch of people who don't want to do anything. They're not going to get a stake in it. I'm going to be rewarded for the work that I do. You know, obviously we do our work because we love the Lord. We do our work because we love people. We do our work because it's what Christ called us to. But isn't it good to know that the Lord sees everything we do? A cup of cold water, given his name, is saying that one day we're going to be rewarded for it. Obviously, we're gonna stand for Christ and we're going to give everything back to Him when we realize what he's actually done for us. But still to to know that people know this and how much should better. But isn't it great when somebody comes along and says, you know what? I saw what you did for that person. Thank you. Thank you for doing that. It means the world we've seen courage.
[00:20:34] You be a cheerleader. I think one of the greatest things of being a leader and being a visionary leader is just cheering people on. You know, you cast a vision to them and people are buying into it. They're going for it. Step back and see where you can take the right notes to encourage people. This week, my daughter took my five year old daughter. I keep saying she's six in the sermon last week and not good. My five year old daughter decided to serve in a class of stack chairs. Not, not, not a huge job. Probably could have gotten done without her in church. Would have continued on forward. Right. But for a five year old checking church labor. Right. Instead of playing game scissors that her leader wrote her a card. She got the card on Wednesday. She has not stop showing that card to people. And it's Saturday. Why I got a card? Because I help. I served. You know she's going to do this. We go to his church. I guarantee you she's going to serve. She's nice. Clipper card. Sell your American bride cards right now. I encourage you, look for ways to cheer people on because the celebration will give them the opportunity to do the work and then celebrate what they do when they get involved and then watch it bolster them and develop a greater team that's leading with vision. So we want people to lead with passion. Why people even fish in the third do you want We want people we want to be leaders who last with character. We want to be leaders who last through character. We've all seen great leaders and self celebrities and superstars in all genres of life who have skyrocketed to the top but have come down like a bomb.
[00:21:54] Right? Because their talent. Took them somewhere. Their character couldn't keep them. How much more tragic is that in the kingdom of God? You know, in the church world? Because every time, every time a pastor or a church leader fails, there's always repercussions in the community. And the bigger the name, you know, the bigger the bigger the celebrity. I say, you know, the bigger the highlight or spotlight on a person, the worse the damage is to name of Christ. And we've all seen it. I've had friends, I've watched, you know, skyrocket up and come down like a missile. It hurts. It hurts us, it hurts them, it hurts their families, it hurts the church. But ultimately it hurts the name of Christ and testimony of the church in the community, the work they're trying to do. You know, one thing that I keep telling people is I'm going to keep showing up. You know, critics hate that, too, by the way, if you just keep showing up. Right, if you can last if you can avoid the moral failures that are trappings for so many leaders, there's such a great reward for just lasting because you gain more leadership credit. I was with the pastor last night who's been leading his church for 19 years now. I know him personally and he's facing a major challenge in this church. And I said, you know what? You're going to do it. He's like, I'm nervous about casting vision. I said, Your church has followed you for 19 years. They know you're the real deal. You've got the quarters in your pocket. Go spend them, you know, go spend them. And and so you want to be we are be leaders who last with character.
[00:23:11] What was going on in Jerusalem. You know, as usual there are some people who look situation say, well, how can I benefit personally? And there were some wealthy people who decided they were going to lend money to some of the people who didn't have any money to buy homes, to buy land, to start businesses, whatever. But they are doing exuberant rates, their use rates. They're taking advantage of the situation to profit. Really? And nothing wrong with loaning people money at a fair rate. You know, that would be fine. But they were going over and above and taking protecting people's money and then they were taking their children, you know, as payment for it. Nehemia I love it because when you have character, when you're standing on strong ground, you can call out the sitting around you, you can call out the weaknesses in organization. If you as a leader know that person, know something about me and that person knows about me and that person saw me where I shouldn't have been last week. You can't call anybody to the carpet. And we're honestly, that's why our nation is one of the biggest problems in our nation. Our leadership has no moral footing to stand and say, listen, everybody stop. We're all going to stop. You know, we're all going to stop padding accounts for our states. We're all going to stop patting everything that's wrong and stop taking these trips that we're not supposed to take, you know, and nobody know because everybody's point four years later, who are you? Are. You are. And they all got video and pictures of each other. You know where they should be if you're a leader on strong moral footing and no one's perfect in this room, none of us will be perfect going meet Christ.
[00:24:24] Here's the thing. If you're on strong moral footing where people know that you'll as best you can, do the right thing and avoid doing the wrong thing and you'll keep showing up and you're going to last. I've been in ministry now for 19 years. Pombo for 11. I'm just starting to get that credibility with people. There are still people like Mike. Is he going to make it? He can make it, you know, because they're waiting because people have been disappointed and let down so many times. And really, I heard a story recently that a great leader in our nation who went to a pastor and I can't say the names, but he went to the pastors, a well-known pastor on TV in the nation, and he said to my watch, you, you're my pastor and the pastor. I really. You watch me, You said. Yeah, you're my past. You said I'm starting to believe that Christian is real. He said, But I beg you, please don't fail. He said, I've been you know, every time I start to believe, as I watch people fail, I need you to make it. Our people need us to make it. They need to again, not perfect, not the we'll never mess up, but we're authentic and real in our leadership that will keep going and we'll keep showing up the people and we'll keep doing the right thing on their behalf. Nehemiah, because of his more funding, has the ability, by the way, to go to the leaders in this way. He says in New my five verse 12. Then he said, You're going to stop lending at the first rate. You're going to stop doing that. You're going to pay back everything you take from the people.
[00:25:37] You're going to give them back your children. You're going to give back their land. I mean, he calls them out. How cool would it be? Know, I did a series on this couple years ago during the election. HUCKABEE If a president or senators on Capitol Hill got everybody in the room, all the congressmen, all senators and all of our leadership said, listen, we're all going to pay back everything we've taken. We're all going to stop patting these pork accounts. We're all going to stop doing what's best so that we can get reelected. We're going to do what's best for the nation. We're going to be fiscally sound. We're going to be morally right, and we're going to do what's best for the people from this point forward. Our nation could turn on a dime. I love our country. I love our nation. But we need leadership like this. Nehemiah Turn, turn the history of a nation right here. They were a nation in shambles, a nation without folks or vision. And he goes to leaders and says, You've got to stop doing what you're doing. You've got to stop. This isn't right. So they replied, We will give back everything and demand nothing more from the people. We will do as you say. Now, how hard is it to get wealthy people to do that right on the spot? I mean, right on the spot. That's moral footing. That's more that's leadership that lasts through character. There is something in the moment they're going to disguise, right? This guy's right. We're going to follow him. You can challenge people in great ways if they know you are living what you believe and you believe what you're telling them. You know, I mean, loss is great.
[00:26:51] We had to help you here last year. Now we a tough, tough service last week. We hit the nail on the head. And here's the thing. We're all challenged people directly about what it means to follow Christ because they know we're serious about following up. Then we know we're serious about that's what we're about as a church. And Nehemiah calls them the carpet and people turn our faces. Then I called the priest and made the nobles, and officials formally vow to do what they had promised. Isn't the idea to ask the priest to formally vow to do what they'd promised already? Right. So that's character. I shook out the fold of my robe and said, If you fail to keep your promise, may God shake you from your homes and from your property that I love, I play the God card on him, right? And the whole assembly responded, Man. And they praise the Lord and the people did as they had promised. Nehemiah had a strong moral footing. He challenges the people to do what's right. They respond right away. And there's a great celebration. Why people should focus back. If you've ever been in a church this time, this loss of vision or focus, you begin to see a third. There's usually not a leader who can say the tough thing. You can't say a strong thing, and then the people can do their own thing. And then gossip comes up and people kind of stop focus on this. You know, the baptism runs orange, dry, you know, nobody's getting saved. Nobody, nobody's life. That change happening and they're just kind of come here. We can just become a Kiwanis or a Rotary Club. And it stopped being a vital life giving church.
[00:28:12] And the community that's living out the mission of Christ gave us. And and so it takes a leader to stand up, say, listen, now's a day and if you're anything like this, go. But you don't have a stake in this work. You're welcome back anytime. But until you know, I was taking this work because you come with me, this is where we're going. This is what we're going to do. I tell you, when we started church, I always talk about eight people that lots church believe was in the room, you know, is our family. But there's actually about 16 in the core in our house when we were before we started church. But we started looking at people talking, going, are you tithing? Are you giving everything you can? What do you mean? Do you have time to serve with this what we're all about right now, some people begin to float away. Well, you know, I got it. You know, I got a bone in my leg. Can't be too sweet. You know, all kinds of excuses came up, but we whittled it down like Gideon to the right. Eight people that could like to church. Eight people is not the strongest way to launch a church, I'll tell you that. But we had the right people in the room, and they were sold out to everything we had to give, everything they had and to do everything they could. And that's why it worked. But leaders, you have to be willing to lead first and then people will follow that example. Nehemiah went the extra mile. Nehemiah was leader. He could have taken salary, he could have been set up. He could have kind of detracted from his, you know, his own spot minimizes this.
[00:29:23] But because of my fear of God. Nehemiah, 15 and 16 verse struck five Because of my fear of God, because of my fear of God, because of my fear of God. I love that because Nehemiah I could do this. But in his prayer life before the Lord, Lord, I told them, This isn't right for you. It's fine by humanize nobody with nobody, it argued. Nehemiah takes a salary. Nobody would argue with me. And I had the nicest tent, you know, nobody argues. Nehemiah had the nicest horse, whatever it is, you know. But but Nehemiah says, because of my fear of God, I did not act that way. I devoted myself to working on the wall and refused to acquire any land. And I required all my Fisher officials to spend time working on the wall. Now as new my leadership, new myself. I'm going to ask them to do it. I'm going to live it and I would challenge you. We'll talk more in Session three. You can't ask people to do what you're not willing to do. You know, we've been through five giving campaigns a church to to buy land, to build buildings, to move forward. Sometimes we know what we're doing with this cast and vision going in that. But, you know, every time Laura and I have led ourselves in giving, every time we've emptied everything we had to to give it to to what God has called us to. And I don't think I don't think I hope I couldn't I hope I can never stand for a church and challenge people to give sacrificially if we weren't doing it first in our home. And I think that's why we got to success, because God has blessed that and honored that our leadership.
[00:30:37] We make sure our leadership is all on board, that they're doing their best. And best is all relative. You know, best for you. Different and best for me is different than best for somebody in our church, it's all different best. But if the leaders are giving their best, they have no problem challenging people to give their best. And then when everybody decides that those who are in will accomplish great work, whether it's the best of our time and talents, whether it's the best of our resources or our finances, whatever it is, when we give our best to God, he's honored and he blesses and life change. It happens and the church grows. Jesus said, I will build my church. He wants to grow the church, I have no doubt. But he's looking for leaders who will lead authentically if everything rises and falls on leadership. I believe the growth of the church comes upon leaders who will live authentically, who live with passion, who will lead with vision, and who will last through character. And I tell you, don't underestimate the last one. I know some guys who are far better preachers and others who you never hear of because they don't have character. I know some guys who can't preach your way out of a paper bag, but they have great churches because they lead with passion. They gather patient and they last through character and the people trust them. And I think, you know, in Christendom, in the in our in our kingdom on Earth, we love to celebrate celebrity. We love to find the hottest, greatest preacher or author, you know, the latest musician, whatever. But I think really the the unsung heroes that Christ applauds from heaven are the faithful servants.
[00:31:56] Our passion for him and his church, who have such great base in their life that they gather people around and follow it and they got character and they last just keep showing up, showing up, showing up, showing up, showing up. I go back to my home church that I grew up in, even though I wasn't really Christian and didn't really do the act like a Christian back then. If you're not Christian, you really should not Christian. Anyway, so I'll take you. I guarantee you, we went to Sunday, pretty much 99% guarantee Randy Nelson will be in high school room. He's probably 55 now and his car will be out front and it'll have a lot of Coke cans in it because kids left in there last night who we love and our kids. And tonight, our Sunday night after service, he'll be taking some kids out for tacos or burgers and he'll be Lebanon them important in their life and he's he had a great impact on my life and I gave my life going back to him and said all those years of me ruining your car and taking your resources and, you know, making fun of you because you are older and you dress goofy, you know, and all that. Thank you. Thank you. Because you in Back to my life in God used him to bring back Christ. And it wasn't a superstar. Wasn't because he had great talent. He was just he's got a great passion for Christ and for students. He had credible vision to just keep showing up, showing up, showing up. And he'll always be there in our life. And he lasted through character. When people will do that, man, you'll see great things at the end of the project.
[00:33:10] 52 days of greatest rebuilding project I believe ever accomplished. 50 days to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He says. When they saw him open the book, they all rose to their feet. Then, as a praise the Lord, the great God, the people chanted, Amen, Amen. As they lifted their hands toward heaven. Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. One thing I love about worship at Pine Valley is it's not about the quality of worship. I think they're incredible quality musician in town. But when when I'm worshiping and looking at the crowd, it's a celebration of what God's doing. It isn't a celebration of a musical style. It's not because we all like the same songs or because we all like the same leader. And one thing I just look on every week I see lives are being changed all across this room and everybody instantly that their life has been changed. They're they're being a part of someone else's life change right now, or their lives about to be changed because you can't come in and witness the power of the Holy Spirit at work and the Holy Spirit of worship and not have your life changed. And so I love it because it begins with leadership. And I thank you all for your leadership because you have such passion, vision and character. I challenge your privacy leader, somebody who has all three of those things, and you can't address me, by the way. You can go, Oh, he's got to. He has passionate. His vision will work on the character. He will be very devout character first. You know, you can have vision and character, but not out of passion, because so many vision and character, but not passion.
[00:34:29] We'll never show up right then. I'll always have a reason why we can't make it on Saturday morning or, you know, whatever. Can't live without vision. All three are essential passion, vision, character. So in your life you ask, How am I doing in my living with passion? Do a good have a great passion for Christ. My feeling that passion because we all know in our life, our spirit life, you track your spiritual growth, you know, there's ups and downs and what you wanna do is you've got to be you've got to be your own monitor. You know, nobody else is really going to monitor you. You've got to look and the mirror saying this week, I've not fed myself, I'm not good myself spiritually, I'm not growing spiritually. I've lost some passion. I've got to. Find a way to do it. And maybe it's, you know, a couple of hours and scripture, maybe it's time way, you know, a weekend off where you can focus. Maybe it's just getting rest or whatever it is. You kind of know, how's my personal, how's my vision level, my limitations? Have I settled a couple of years ago? We're in a staff meeting. It was about three years ago now, and we were talking about plans. And one of our pastors, Ryan Munisteri, is actually a pastor, so we have an attempt to think big in a while. Like I said, really, it's true. We haven't. We haven't we haven't done anything God sized the way we had bought land. We just made a decision we weren't going to build, you know, because of the economy and we were going to wait and we were kind of settled in the mode. Okay, well, how do we, you know, finding children's ministry, how do we fine tune youth ministry? How do we fine tune our greeting ministry? How do we fine tune worship? But God doesn't call us to fine tune our ministry.
[00:35:45] He's called us to reach the world with the hope and love this family, the gospel family in Christ. And so that led us to to buy this building that we're in now. And then, you know, explosive growth we've experienced. But it was one question. Somebody said we haven't we haven't done anything great lately. Our challenge is we're called we're called on attempt great things for God. I was recently somebody who's in his late eighties and he was saying, Greg said, the greatest regrets I have in life. He said, I've started people and I think it's true of everybody. The greatest regrets I have are not stupid things I did, he said, You know, I wish I knew, but my greatest regrets are the chances I never took. And that's true. That's true. You know, we're all called something great. We've got a great God who loves to bless his children when they go for it. So I challenged like Nehemiah, you know, we're not going to rebuild walls in 52 days, but God has called us for something great. He's called us to reach our community, our culture and our world with hope and love with Jesus Christ. I challenge you to lead with passion, lead the station and lead with character and watch what God will do through that.