David Gibson is the Minister of Trinity Church, Aberdeen, a gifted administrator, outstanding rhetoritician and writer of incisive tweets – these are very helpful on Ministry and are produced below with his permission
Here are some pastoral lessons learned and some theological convictions deepened
- It is only ten years.
These belong on Twitter.
- Jesus Christ is the light of the world.
Never underestimate how dark the earth and how broken Christ’s bride. But in the life and death and resurrection and ascension and session of the world’s true King ‘more can be mended than we know’ (Francis Spufford).
- The pulpit is the prow of the world.
(HT @douglaswils & Herman Melville) The Lord’s day is political rebellion, the nations streaming to the city on a hill, and the foolishness of preaching leads and lights church and world. I long to be a better preacher.
- Graces need to outperform gifts.
I need the gospel more than I need to proclaim it. This is harder to keep front & centre than it sounds. Prayer and repentance; night and day meditation on the law of the Lord; love for the flock: these things make a Christian & so a minister.
- Authority flows to those who take responsibility.
A counter-intuitive preposition – not from, but to. Authority flows downwards functionally but upwards morally. If you don’t take responsibility you write cheques in leading you can’t actually cash. (HT @douglaswils)
- To keep everything the same, everything has to change.
Weekly church rhythms of the ordinary means of grace require constant attention to the cogs that turn the wheel – teams, rotas, leaders, emails. Staying ahead of the curve is darn tiring. Why can’t I live in the straight.
- You reap what you sow.
You just do. All the time, in every domain. Sow to yourself; reap the whirlwind. Sow yourself; reap life. We are often quick to blame others for our fruit – children, church, character – but most of it we first held in our hands as seeds.
- One of the last acceptable idolatries of Christian families is the family.
(HT @RevKevDeYoung) This is the nuclear family before the church family, parental goals child-aligned before ‘one another’-aligned. The great need of our churches is bleeding men and federal husbands.
- One of the last acceptable idolatries of Christian ministers is Christian ministry.
This is my church family before my nuclear family, sacrificed on the altar of ministry. It is my deepest joy located in ministry successes and my greatest sorrows found in ministry failures
- We are slow to ask for help.
Perfectionism makes me slow to delegate, pride slow to confess struggles. The same thing pastorally means the invitation to step in is nearly always too late. We seek medical, physical, psychological, practical care before spiritual diagnosis.
- The issue is not the issue.
The thing people come to see me about is rarely the thing we need to discuss. We look at fruit but need to ponder seeds. Observing this is quite straightforward but I am at the bottom of the steep learning curve of how to handle this well.
- God breaks to make.
The gospel is about a cross and a tomb for his Son and the same for his ministers. He slays and makes alive, he does not tweak or tidy up. In only 10 years I have had times of drinking 2 Cor and 2 Tim as living water. Life comes from dying every day.