Archive for the ministry Category

Is a Pastor a Theologian?

Posted in ministry, Theology with tags , , , , on July 3, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Todays pastors are often pulled in many directions simultaneously. The theological role of the pastor is often lost amidst the pressing concerns of ministry life that has been turned into something other than what God originally intended as revealed in the New Testament.

Todays pastor, it seems, is very focused on management more than theology and this emphasis across the church leaves the pastor feeling more like an administrator dealing with matters of “organizational theory” than someone who understands the truths of God’s Word and helps people apply them in everyday life.

The rising influence of “Therapy” in our culture has caused many people to believe that the pastoral office is a helping profession and theology is often seen as being more of a problem than a solution to the practical issues people face in their lives.

The fact is anytime a pastor counsels someone, visits the sick and prays for them, builds a leadership team or preaches a sermon, they are engaging in the theological process because everything a pastor does has its source in theology.

Biblically, every pastor is called to be a theologian. Sadly, many pastors perceive theologians to be only those who lecture in bible colleges and seminaries but some of the greatest theologians the world has ever seen were pastors of local churches – Augustine, Calvin and Luther amongst others.

I meet with many pastors who see theology as an obstacle to the real business of their pragmatic church growth focus. The idea that the pastoral office is non-theological is inconceivable in light of the New Testament.

There are 3 distinct orders of doctrine fundamental to the Christian faith that need to be concentrated upon by the pastor:

  1. 1st-order doctrines: The absolutes that define the core beliefs of the Christian faith – Such as the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ; the doctrine of the Trinity; substitutionary atonement and justification by faith, to name a few.
  2. 2nd-order doctrines: These are convictions that are essential to church life and necessary for the ordering of the local church, but in themselves, do not define the gospel. That is, you may detect error in a doctrine at this level and still acknowledge that the person in error remains a believing Christian. Examples include mode of baptism, gender roles in ministry, etc.
  3. 3rd-order doctrines: These are opinions that may be ground for good theological discussion and debate, but do not threaten the fellowship of a local congregation or denomination. Examples include the timing of the return of Christ, modes of worship, etc.

A pastor must be known for what he teaches, as well as what he knows, affirms and believes. A pastor must not only preach the great doctrines of the Bible but out of his own confession of faith. People are listening to God speak through an individual and their personal revelation of God through Scripture.

Ultimately, the pastor who is no theologian, in my opinion is no pastor. Our theology (way of thinking and talking about God) permeates everything about our pastoral call.

Lead the Change!

Advertisements

Get a Daily Journal!

Posted in ministry with tags , , on June 27, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Over the last 10 years of life and ministry I have filled up at least 15 Moleskin Journals with insights, thoughts, sermon ideas, plans, reflections and bible study.

More recently I have started to journal my reflections every night before I go to bed. I have found this a very helpful exercise to de-brief with God and myself and to remind myself of all of the amazing things that have happened during the day.

All of us have so many amazing things that happen to us and around us on any given day but most of us never take the time to reflect on them and process them as we should. When we should and want to remember certain key things from our lives, we may find it difficult to but with a journal, it makes it easier.

In Nehemiah 1:1 it reads, “The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the capital…”

Now the reason why Nehemiah could record what had happened to him is because he journalled his story. Who would have thought at the time, that Nehemiah’s journal would become a book of the Bible, completely inspired by the Holy Spirit?

Your journal can not only help you in your life and ministry and relationship with Jesus but it can become a legacy for your kids and others to read one day of the most important events of your life. Head to Borders Bookstore asap and buy a Moleskin journal and start writing each day. Why a Moleskin? They are a solid, reliable and quality product and because you’ve paid the little extra for it, you will value it more than a 99c exercise book from the supermarket.

In the first few pages of your moleskin, create a Table of Contents and from left to right across the top of the page write, “Date – Scripture – Title – Page No”. Start writing each night before bed and when you are finished a journal entry, record the details in your Table of Contents and you’ll have a documented record of the important events in your world. Alternatively, you can just type away on your MAC lap top. I do heaps on my MAC but I also enjoy that old activity you learnt at school called writing. Happy Journalling!

Lead the Change!

Healthy Pastors!

Posted in ministry, Preaching with tags , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

1 Timothy 4:16 “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

I am really concerned about the health of pastors and leaders souls. Not only have I been on a massive journey of healing in my own soul but my eyes have been opened to see the need for spiritual health in leaders everywhere I turn. By spiritual health, I am not talking about numbers, dollars and success (or as I say “Buildings, Bodies & Bucks”). I am talking about the state of one’s soul – your HEART!

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart with all vigilance for out flow the springs of life.” Your heart is the epi-centre of your life. It’s the engine room of your thoughts, feelings, words and actions. We have got to take the wisdom writers advice and guard our hearts from contamination from fleshly toxicity. The way we do this is by keeping a watch on ourselves and our teaching. Why teaching? Because out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. What comes out in our teaching is a reflection of what is in our hearts. You can only cover up for so long before what is really in your heart will be exposed. You can have your exegetical skills down pat and be able to inspire the masses and yet be void of joy, peace and life in your own soul.

Life and particularly ministry has a way of beating your soul down into an unhealthy place. The reality is you can be leading a successful ministry and yet be completely spiritually unhealthy. You can preach well and yet suffer from insecurity, gossiping, self-worship and megalomania. Pastors who are driven for success can go places their soul and character cannot sustain them in. We have got to be careful that we don’t fall prey to a performance orientation and drive ourselves and others towards goals that simply exist to feed emotional insecurities and narcissistic notions.

I’m convinced that a lot of pastors who are counseling people need counseling themselves. A lot of ministers praying with people need prayer ministry themselves. As you are dishing out spiritual medicine to your congregation make sure you are taking a swig of it your self because only a foolish man teaches others what they aren’t willing to embrace themselves.

I respect pastors and honour them for their work. I am the son of pastors and I have been a pastor for 10 years, most recently planting a Church 4 years ago. Pastors can get a raw deal at times and more congregations need to do more to bless, encourage and honour their pastors. Pastors have a God-given responsibility to watch the spiritual health of their own souls because so much is at stake, including the salvation of both themselves and their hearers.

Lead the Change!

Activosophy Video!

Posted in activate church, ministry with tags , , , , , on May 15, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Here is a short synopsis of my sermon on Activosophy @ Activate Church May 16, 2010. Activosophy is our philosophy as a church – why we do what we do!

Build According to Pattern!

Posted in activate church, Leadership, ministry with tags , on February 15, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Hebrews 8:5 “When Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.”

Recently I had the privilege of spending some time with Ps Danny Gugg… from Edge Church in Adelaide. It was a wonderful time of listening and imbibing of the Spirit inside this great man. One of the insights he shared with me and my mate was the principle of pattern. God had told him to “Build according to the pattern that I show you.”

For the last 15 years Ps Danny has been building Edge Church on the patterns God has shown him. His words resounded in my heart as I have been a massive proponent of patterns. Patterns are powerful because they shape the culture of the church or group we belong to. Every church has patterns that distinguish it from other churches. Patterns are informed by 3 elements: 1) Bible; 2) Leaders call; 3) Community surrounding the church.

Throughout Scripture there is a constant emphasis on patterns because pattern brings alignment and clarity to many things in our walk with God. A church’s culture is informed by the patterns of what is visible, what we are convicted about and what assumptions we hold.

What patterns are you building into your life, family and church? Are you building according to the pattern God has shown you in his word or are you copying the patterns of someone else?

Towards the end of last year I asked my ministry team to discard some of the stated values that we supposedly held as a church and go on a journey of observing what patterns come to the surface over a period of time. Whatever comes to the surface tells us what we hold most important. Since I’ve said this I have observed clear patterns already emerging in the life of the church. These are:

  1. Connection – Relationships
  2. Charisma – Holy Spirit
  3. Compassion – People in need
  4. Character – Integrity
  5. Commitment – God’s House (giving, praying & serving)
  6. Cause – Christ followers

Lead the Change!

Motivation for Ministry!

Posted in Leadership, ministry with tags on February 8, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Luke 22:26 “But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the one who serves.”

One of the fundamental differences between leadership God’s way and leadership the world’s way is MOTIVATION! What motivates someone to lead in God’s kingdom should be very different to ‘Gentile’ leadership. Jesus was directional in his leadership, he commanded obedience and he challenged his enemies BUT Jesus never used his authority for his personal benefit. He used it to SERVE others.

A biblical philosophy of leadership must begin with leadership as servant-hood! Most of us in the western world are uncomfortable with the idea of being a servant because we often have a wrong paradigm of what a servant leader is – Passive! If we look at Jesus leadership style I wouldn’t call it passive, it was very active. Servant-hood is not defined by our actions alone but by the motive & goal that generates our actions.

 Servant Leadership is:

  • Self-sacrificing rather than self-seeking
  • Leading by example and through relationship not by position and pressure
  • Active rather than passive
  • Gives direction rather than allows drifting
  • Exercises authority for the advancement of the cause rather than for personal gain
  • Functions best by equipping & empowering team rather than functioning solo
  • Gets personally involved in caring for people and their needs
  • A matter of character & gifting rather than position and connections

Frank Warren once said, “If you wish to be a leader you will be frustrated, for very few people wish to be led. If you aim to be a servant you will never be frustrated.”

Lead the Change!

Confirming Your Calling!

Posted in ministry, Spirituality with tags on February 2, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Psalm 139:13-16 reveals to us that each of us have been created with a unique and specific calling and purpose. God has given you unique wiring, gifts and passions to compliment the purpose he’s created you for. Because of this reality, I firmly believe, your calling is not your decision but it’s your discovery.

On your journey of discovery you must distinguish between what is your vocation and what is your transcendent calling. The Apostle Paul worked as a tentmaker, church-planter, etc but his calling was to be an Apostle to the Gentiles. paul simply used his vocational skills to fulfill his higher calling. The ideal situation to be in is “Convergence”, where your past experience, vocation and gifts all converge together to enable you to fulfill your higher call.

A divine call will be accompanied by a conviction that heaven has spoken. In Isaiah 6:8 Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?” It’s so important to have a word from God but unfortunately their needs to be also an accompanying hunger and demand for the call God gives you in the world around you.

A calling is confirmed not only by a passion in your heart but a hunger & demand for it in the Body of Christ. Over the years I have counseled several people who have felt God call them to something but their has been no demand for the call upon them in the Body of Christ.

We need to pay attention to the holy discontent in our hearts but we also need to listen to people around us and discern the demand and hunger for the passion we feel. Paul said, “Think of yourself with sober judgement, not more highly than you ought but according to the measure of faith God has given you.”

A divine call will commission you with a voice to your generation and their will be a demand for your voice if God has called you to. Don’t stick your head up until you are called and in the meantime keep being faithful with what God has entrusted to you and commit your hearts desire to God and let him open the doors that need opening and close the doors that need to be closed.

Lead the Change!