NEW

We Wish You a Merry Saturnalia: Northern Churchman

We Wish You a Merry Saturnalia? The Northern Churchman There is a familiar feel to this time of year. The Christmas advertising on television, the darker evenings, the Carol Services – and the inevitable scoffers who call the Christmas story a myth. Not ‘Once in Royal...

Mark Pickles: The Story of Two Trampolines

Gospel-Driven Anglicanism By the Revd Dr Mark Pickles The Story of the Two Trampolines:  A passage that is frequently referred to during times of great revival is Isaiah 64:1-3:  “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your...

Ten Thousand Bibles for London’s Children

TBS Auxiliary Meets Ten Thousand Bibles For London’s Children The Greater London Auxiliary of the Trinitarian Bible Society was delighted to report at its Annual Meeting held on 15 November that over 10,000 Bibles have been distributed to London schools since the...

Good News for Egypt’s Christians

Barnabas Fund Reports Good News for Egypt’s Christians The government of Egypt licensed 125 churches and church-affiliated buildings on 14 November. It is the 24th batch of approvals made since the government committee overseeing the licensing process started work in...

Church Society’s Response to MP Ben Bradshaw

Church Society’s Response to MP Ben Bradshaw In the aftermath of Desmond Tutu’s daughter being refused permission to preside at a funeral in a Church of England parish, Labour MP Ben Bradshaw told The Guardian that the “C of E must move swiftly to welcome lesbian...

Collins: Who’s Your Righteousness?

Who’s Your Righteousness? By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins Who’s your righteousness? "The Lord our Righteousness" was the sermon preached March 20, 1757 at St. Mary's Church in Oxford. It offended nearly everyone that day and William Romaine was invited to never preach...

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Act of 1963

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Act of 1963 Persons Against Whom Proceedings May be Instituted. Proceedings under this Measure may be instituted against an archbishop, any diocesan bishop or any suffragan bishop commissioned by a diocesan bishop or any other bishop or a...

Editorial: Joy to the World Cup

Editorial Joy to the World Cup The result of the 2022 FIFA World Cup is already in. And it appears the Church of England has lost. The latest advice from the Church of England’s Support Hub is for parishes to consider the timing of Christmas Carol Services to avoid...

Symes to Step Down from Anglican Mainstream Leadership

Symes to Step Down from Anglican Mainstream Leadership By Chris Sugden Andrew Symes is to stand down as Executive Secretary of Anglican Mainstream on January 1, 2023, after nearly ten years in post. Rev Symes, 56, who had earlier served with Crosslinks in South...

Retired Bishop Given Life Suspension

Retired Bishop Given Life Suspension By George Conger The former Bishop of Ramsbury has been suspended for life from the ordained ministry after he admitted to having sexually abused two women. The Daily Mail reported the Rt Rev. Peter Hullah had been the subject of...

Gospel-Driven Anglicanism: Towards a Strategy Part Four

Gospel-Driven Anglicanism

Towards a Strategy Part Four

Knowing and Loving the Congregation

By the Revd Dr Mark Pickles

Alongside the ministry of the Word, a new minister must also take time to get to know and love the congregation. This is true for all gospel ministry, but especially so in a revitalisation context – the minister must love and serve the flock. This comes through visiting, pastoring, counselling, spending time with people and getting to know them well. As the congregation begin to see that the minister truly cares for them, then a degree of trust begins to build, those who were initially opposed to biblical teaching begin to listen more attentively and less defensively. The kindness and patience that Paul commands Timothy to exhibit begins to disarm and lower people’s defences to the gospel message. 

Similarly, for the minister, as you begin to get to know your congregation and care for them, so a love begins to grow towards them which will hugely impact how you minister, how you respond to opposition and criticism and above all, nurtures a deep concern for the spiritual well-being of the flock entrusted to your care. This is nothing other than the Church of Jesus Christ, his bride that he loves deeply – this reality ought to be deeply imprinted upon the heart of every minister of the gospel. Richard Baxter challenges: 

“Oh what a charge is it that we have undertaken! And shall we be unfaithful to it? Have we the stewardship of God’s own family and shall we neglect it?…every time we look upon our congregations, let us believingly remember that they are the purchase of Christ’s blood and therefore should be regarded by us with the deepest interest and the most tender affection”82 

In John’s gospel, Jesus speaks of himself as the ‘Good Shepherd’ who lays down his life for his sheep, because he loves them and contrasts this with the ‘hired hand’ who does not care for the sheep but rather abandons them when wolves appear, “He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep” (John 10:13) 

Jesus, alone is the ‘Good Shepherd’, but we are called to be ‘under- shepherds’. We do not lay down our lives redemptively for the flock but are called to love the flock with the love of Christ and to evidence the same commitment to the flock in contrast to the hired hand. A Christ-like love for the flock means that a gospel minister will not abandon the flock to the mercy of false teachers but will be willing to spend and be spent in loving, teaching, caring, pastoring, exhorting and serving the congregation. Such a minister will not be easily moved, intimidated, bullied or enticed into abandoning the flock until the work has been established. 

One of the great examples of such a ministry from Anglican church history is that of Charles Simeon, (previously cited) in Cambridge from 1783 to 1836. He endured relentless, fierce opposition yet he continued and persevered steadfastly until his death. The level of antagonism and abuse he endured would have caused many to have crumbled and looked for a ministry elsewhere. Simeon however persisted and through unwavering faithfulness established a hugely influential ministry within the Church of England. 

The tragedy is that sometimes we leave too soon, but a gospel ministry that perseveres with patience, graciousness and boldness can under God be of both temporal and eternal significance. The way in which the Church of England will be renewed and revived is through the revitalisation of churches through the ministry of countless faithful gospel-hearted ministers. 

However, no matter how long someone stays, we are all mortal and eventually it is either right to move or to retire, thus creating a vacancy. 

Excerpted from Gospel-Driven Anglicanism; Pickles, Mark, pages 116-118, 2017.

Previous

Next