Advent Christian Pastoral Ministry: Irrelevance or Life from the Heart?

My writing space at the Mt. Flyer in Ludlow, VT

From my Writing Journal:


The following is a quote from the book Seasons of the Soul: Stages of Spiritual Development, by Bruce Demarest:

“The challenge facing young Christians is to live from the heart more intentionally, more reflectively, and more prayerfully.”

Many of us Advent Christian pastors are retiring. We long to see young leaders step forward and take the baton. Unfortunately, the very values that they need to succeed, we have not modeled well.

We need to be willing to risk. Stepping outside the box is not high on the priority list for pastors who are playing it safe and preserving ineffective (and often unbiblical) expressions of church life. And truth be known, we have all done this. We need to be more deliberate about escaping busyness, spending alone time with the Lord, being Marys not Marthas, and valuing solitude and quiet.

The values and actions of the previous paragraph are counter-cultural qualities that are absolutely necessary to effective ministry as we continue to move into the 21st century. We must fear the staus quo and traditionalism more than we fear change or we will become irrelevant and our churches will continue to close. Unless we embrace what God is trying to work into the church, we will become irrelevant after all these years of ministry. I do not want to stand before the Lord and hear: “Safely done, my fearful and faithless servant.” I’d prefer the “Well done . . . ”

We still have time.

Before we older pastors pass the baton, we need to recognize and oppose our religious enculturation. Get quiet. Get alone. Be with him much. Deaccumulate, simplify, “live from the heart more intentionally, more reflectively, and more prayerfully”. Prioritize these values and disciplines, allow younger men to see us doing it, and we will leave a Kingdom legacy.

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