More rough notes from Stuart Olyott on aspects of life in the Pastorate...
The Acts 6 ‘Crisis’ - a divided church, due to hungry widows.
- Why were the widows going hungry? Because of Apostolic Priorities! 1. Pray, 2. Minister the Word, 3. Everything else. B/c 1 and 2 were so consuming they couldn’t do the everything else.
So, lead yourself first.
1. Pray. Early, outdoors. You don't want to preach to anyone on Sun that you haven't prayed for during the week. 5 sections for the days of the week, not 6. Use prompts for prayer – eg EM Bounds; SO recites 15-20 shorter Catechism questions each day. Don’t prepare a sermon and pray down a storm – pray as you prepare. Be accurate in your exegesis, but enter the atmosphere of a text through prayer.
2. Preaching. Most change in the church occurs through preaching. Our preaching may be sound, but is it connecting with the people? NB preaching is relational: does the preacher really want to know these people; does he want to be known by them, as he gives himself, so that just by listening to the preaching you get to know this man better? That generates the feeling that this man belongs to the congregation. The Bible insists that preaching is incarnational – if they won’t receive the preacher, they aren’t receiving the message, and vice versa. Preaching is the postman climbing through the letterbox. Preaching must involve a ‘Word-serving charm offensive.’
Illiteracy. 59 % of all men in prisons have a reading age of less than 11. 50% of all Brits are document blind. We can’t take literacy for granted. Powerpoint disenfranchises the illiterate. The NT church is patterned on an orality model. If we assume high levels of illiteracy, we will become more narrational, and less propositional.
4. Shepherding. Acts 20.28 – ‘shepherd the flock.’ 1 Peter 5.2 – ‘shepherd the flock of God.’ Sometimes our most regular people are the most neglected. The Parson is the ‘Person’ of the place. Let pastoral visits decide what you preach.
Love is all about little gestures.
5. Training leadership in the local church. 2 Tim. 2.2 – have a 4 generation mindset. The Gk word of ‘handing over’ suggests entrusting an item to someone else while your hands are already on it. One to one, intensive, careful, etc.