Bringing Sharpening Home
In our men’s split session tonight, I want to talk about a few of the topics that I’ve been chewing on since coming back from Sharpening Week. While some pastor’s fellowships are about tips and ideas, this one was about root issues. We wanted to find the trend behind the trend, or find why more than what. It was a “think tank” of ideas that aren’t always obvious on the surface, but have deeper and more abiding results in the long run. They don’t make you say, “Wow, Pastor came home and changed _______,” but in about five years, you look back and think, “I see now why we’ve been doing things this way.”
That’s the goal, anyway.
Some pastors go away to conferences looking for novelty—for the next big thing—yet constant novelty becomes exhausting. A negative result of novelty is that routine righteousness starts to look boring in comparison. Faithful Bible preaching grows wearisome. Week-by-week church attendance is monotonous. Day-by-day child rearing gets to be too hard to keep up, and being an intentional husband in the little areas is too much to think about.
But if you come to expect that the little things are what make up the big things, it changes your perspective on all the little things. Routine church attendance, Bible reading, faithfulness to your spouse, and child rearing are no longer a drudgery, but a joy! I may not be thrilled by correcting my 6-year-old again, but those little corrections make a whole lot of sense when you have a peaceful home full of teens.
Church sometimes felt boring when I was a child, but I’m thankful there was never one service that was optional for us as kids. It instilled a reverence for God that abides today, and all those weeks and weeks and weeks of faithfulness made their mark on my soul.
So, I told the deacons on Sunday night that I’m coming home fired up, but not fired up to make a bunch of changes. We may or may not make many visible changes, but I’m thankful for how it’s affected my thinking. I’ve already used concepts that I learned, and I’m eager to see them bring abiding fruit in people’s lives.
Some of the concepts we covered, and ones that we might get to tonight are:
- Broadening ministry responsibilities across more faithful men
- A Greater Yes. Helping people be convinced that you have their best interest in whatever you decide.
- Authority vs. authoritarianism. How good authority yields a good product.
- Balance and “Competing” Virtues. How to slow down and think when it seems that two virtues collide (e.g. Joseph considering justice and love for Mary in Matthew 1:19.)
- Silence doesn’t erase lines, but makes us more vigilant about where to draw them. 1 Cor. 6:12 ff
- Culture vs. Strategy. Why tips and ideas fail while “this is who we are and what we do” wins, for better or for worse. E.g. Sermon on the mount was about a culture (mindset), not necessarily a list of do’s and don’ts like the Pharisees kept. -Ryan Rench