When you become the pastor at Burning Hearts, some people will refer to Burning Hearts as "your" church; you may even call Burning Hearts "my" church. But understand that the church belongs to Christ – it is His church – and that you AND THE ELDERS are the under-shepherd overseers of the church. So thank God you will not be serving alone. Thank God that others will be serving with you.
This is important for a number of reasons:
1. This means that you will not need to try and carry the load of the church all alone. You may, at this time, not see it as a load, or a burden, but it is. When you learn of a marriage that is failing, or of someone in the body spiritually falling, or of someone suffering, or of someone dying. In all these cases, there is a burden, a heaviness that comes with it. Some people are exceedingly strong and they will be just fine, with you or without you. But others will be looking for help. And the more people there are, the more potential times of trial there will be. It is SO GOOD to know at such times that there are others – other elders in particular – who are there to help carry the burden.
2. There is wisdom, the Bible says, "in a multitude of counselors." Granted, the elders will be looking to you for your wisdom, your guidance, your input and leadership. But it is hardly as though these men have nothing to offer. Indeed, quite the opposite. More than once, through the years, -have I been impressed – amazed really – at the wisdom of some elder and his input. Without that input I likely would have led the congregation in a different and wrong direction. But because of that elder's input, coupled with a willingness on my part and the other elders' part to listen to that input, some trouble was averted. So learn from these others and lean on them.
3. This also will mean that you do not need to bear the brunt of any attack alone. Attack? In the church? Could it be? Yes, Justin, it can be. Would to God that you make it through the next 35 or so years (until YOU, like me now, are at the point of retirement) never facing any conflict within the church. But only the Lord knows what will be coming your way. The apostle Paul's warning to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20) about those that would arise from within the church (see Jude 4 and Matthew 7:15-20) so as to cause harm and grief is warning enough. But if you have a good, solid group of men standing with you, you will be able to weather such a storm much better than if you are all alone.
4. Appreciate these other leaders. Let them know that you appreciate them and let the congregation know it as well. You will be getting paid. The pastorate will be not only your calling but also your means of survival. But for these other leaders, they will be receiving no monetary reward, no salary. So it is all the more important that you express to them the praise that is due them.
By His Grace,