20
Mar
09

I love the smell of Sheep!

As you may know we are embarking on a new journey in church planting in Ada, Oklahoma. This new ministry has given me much to pray and ponder about lately. In preparation for the journey I have been looking at the lives of other pastors in the past to help prepare my own heart to “shepherd the flock of God” in the present.

Lately I have found myself reading about the ministry of R.C. Chapman who was referred to by C.H. Spurgeon as “The saintliest man I ever knew.”

Men like Chapman and Spurgeon give me great hope and great guidance in serving as God’s undershepherd. The following thoughts from R.C. Chapman have been in my mind and heart for some months now and I have found them to be a source of joy. I love to hear fellow pastors express their joy and love in serving as undershepherds and their testimony only fuels my burning desire to honor Christ by loving His sheep. I find great delight in the pursuit of loving and leading Christ’s church as a result of testimony and advice I have discovered here in Chapman’s life and ministry. Much of the following is derived from Alexander Strauch and Robert L. Peterson’s booklet on “Agape Leadership”.

“For those who are to exercise any office in the Church – that of evangelist, pastor- it is not knowledge and utterance only which are needed; but also, and above all, grace and an unblameable [lifestyle]…

Our joy in Christ speaks a language that all hearts can understand, and is a testimony for Him, such as mere knowledge and utterance can never give…

The figure of the mote [log] in the eye [Matthew 7] shows what skill and tenderness he has need of who would be a reprover to his brother. Who would trust so precious a member as the eye to a rough, unskillful hand?…”

R.C. Chapman

Chapman was never rough or harsh with people. Describing him, a friend said that Chapman was ‘bold as a lion and gentle as a nurse.” His model of handling others was God himself…

Chapman once said:

“Do we meet with unkindness from brethren? Instead of shooting our bitter words at them, let us judge ourselves; and endeavor, in love and wisdom, to overcome evil with good.”

Chapman found no satisfaction when a problem of sin and unrepentance had to be resolved by disfellowship from the church. He continued praying for restoration. Chapman cautioned that we must remember God’s love toward us when dealing with the sin of others.

“In reproving sin in others, we should remember the ways of the Holy Spirit of God towards us. He comes as the Spirit of love; and whatever His rebukes, He wins the heart by mercy and forgiveness through Christ.”

As a good undershepherd Chapman was constantly looking out for his sheep individually. He desired to encourage and equip them to serve others in the body of Christ by the exercise of their spiritual gifts.

“The Church, the body of Christ,” he said “cannot rise above its present low estate until there be a conscience in the members of fulfilling each one his office in the body.”

Chapman believed his responsibility, as pastor was to help people individually as well as corporately develop their faith in the Lord by laboring alongside them one on one.

“The lonely, the mournful, the friendless, the tempted, the defected, the despised, the forsaken, the outcast, Christ will wait on each one of them, whatever his case, as though that one were His only charge.

By this exact and special oversight of each member of His body, how precious, how lovely, how glorious, does Christ appear!”

As wonderful as Chapman’ testimony has proved to be as a minister of Christ I find that the Apostle Paul sums up my heart and the heart of all men who desire pastoral ministry better than anyone in 1 Thessalonians.

1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 (ESV)

But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.

So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

As I ponder the responsibilities of pastoral ministry I am reminded that pastors like other Christians are ambassadors of Jesus Christ – we are called to be His representatives to the flock!

Pastors must be known by their clean hearts, clean hands, and clean conversation.

These traits are only possibly by grace alone that is why pastors must lean upon Christ in order to lead like Christ.

Pastors are called to be examples for the flock to follow as they follow Jesus.

1 Timothy 4:11-12

Prescribe and teach these things.

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

“It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.” – Robert Murray M’Cheyne

I love the smell of sheep!

Pastor Randy

Sovereign Grace Bible Church of Ada, Oklahoma

Dedicated to the doctrines of grace and expressing those doctrines with grace.

 

(A church plant in progress for the glory of God and the good of the saints!)

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