Wise teachers, sound teaching

Pastoral presence

In Ephesus, Timothy walked into a congregational mess with the mandate to straighten it out. He inherited both the legacy (left by Paul) and the problems for which others (among whom were Hymanaeus and Alexander) were responsible. Like the tohu wabohu of Genesis 1:2, pastoral vocation doesn't begin with a clean slate.

A congregational mess provides a particularly perilous condition for leaders, for it convinces us that our pastoral presence is vital and necessary. Others have messed up, done badly, behaved irresponsibly, and we are called in to make a difference. The very fact that we are called in must mean that we are competent, that we are capable.

We are flattered, of course. We've been noticed. "We need you," they say. "Get us out of this. We've read your résumé, called your references, heard you preach—rescue us."

 

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