“Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”
Pastors are not called to be change agents. They are not called to be visionary leaders. They are not ultimately called to inspire, motivate or entertain. Servants in the church are not there to bring new people into the church or lead the members out into the community. They are not subject matter experts, servant leaders or ministry catalysts. You may be wondering what are professional church workers called to do?
Servants in the church are called to point God’s people to Jesus. Whether it is a youth retreat or a shut-in call, the congregation says, “Show us Jesus.” In your preaching, teaching and leading, set the focus on Jesus. What the people of God need is not change or leadership, but Jesus. That is not to say that things don’t change or that church workers will not lead. But for the father, whose marriage is hanging on by a thread – what he needs is Jesus. The caregiver who is overwhelmed by the pressure of caring for everyone else – what she needs is Jesus. For everyone who has ever heard the word malignant – what they need is Jesus.
The Suffering Servant, who is able to sympathize with our weakness, gives us mercy and grace in our terms of need. There is something to be said for strategic plans and capital campaigns. But for those who are hurting, those who are weary and heavy laden – they need to know that they are loved by Christ. They need to know that they are forgiven for His sake. They need to know that there is hope for this life and hope for the life to come and that hope does not disappoint us. Called servants of God are placed by Him to help people see Jesus!
But know this! The same pressures of life and pain from living in a fallen world will weigh down on church workers. There will be days when you are the one who needs to see Jesus, to hear His word of absolution, to know that His mercy and grace are also for you. We are sinners and saints, Pharisees and Publicans, those who are called to show others Jesus, but also the desperate need to see Jesus is for us as well. When you are overwhelmed by life, my hope and prayer is that God will bless you with someone who will help you to fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith. In the Order of Compline, one of the seldom used services in the hymnal, after the congregation members confess their sin and the pastor pronounces God’s forgiveness, the pastor then confesses his own sin and the congregation responds by pronouncing God’s forgiveness to him. You, too, need to see Jesus.
No matter area of ministry you are part of on a daily basis, may you always help the people to see Jesus. When you prepare for each task, ask yourself “How can I help those whom I serve to see Jesus?” And for the times when you fail, may you see that Jesus is for you also.
Prayer – Merciful Lord, for the benefit of Your people You call faithful men and women to serve in a variety of offices in Your Church. Grant that Your Holy Spirit may lead and guide all who serve among us according to Your gracious will; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan