Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Subtle Art of Sabotaging A Pastor

by Jared Wilson | March 20, 2012

This excellent article is borrowed from the following site:


Dearest Grubnat, my poppet, my pigsnie,

The reports of your progress warm my blackened heart. When you were assigned to one of the Enemy’s ministers ten years ago, his infernal Majesty and I knew you’d have a rough go of it. The zeal of one new to the pastorate can be a daunting challenge to even the most cunning of our comrades, but we also believed that time breeds all wounds and that your task would become easier the longer your patient remained. You now prosper from that sweet spot of pastoral fatigue and assimilation. The shine of newness is gone. And up pop the cracks in the ministerial armor.

There are many temptations common among the Enemy’s undershepherds but one universal temptation of them arises from their flesh and it is this: they want people to be pleased with them. Wanting to be liked is not a sin, really — to use the Enemy’s terminology — but it can be quickly turned to one at the hands of a spiritual disintegrator as shrewd as yourself. Some tacks you might consider:

Suggest to your client that he works for the people, not the Enemy. This will not be a hard sell as they are faces he sees every day. Remind him who pays his salary. The quicker you can get your patient to see himself as a professional, as an employee, the better.

Strike up with your fellow workers to send in to his office, voicemail, and email inbox parishioner after parishioner with demands, requests, and philosophical banners to wave. Through them propose hill after hill to die on, all save Golgotha.

Keep his head spinning. Even so-called “innocent” concerns can be proper distractions from Who your patient is ultimately beholden to if they offer plausible substitutes for the “first importance” of the Bad News. The slip into people-pleasing mode can be masked as subtly as a serpent slithering in the tall grass (no offense intended to his Majesty).

Help your patient to see all that he lacks. Stroke his discontent. The less satisfied your patient is with what the Enemy has done for him and all the Enemy has given him, the more alluring the validation, approval, and praise of others will be. Empty him of his confidence by highlighting his failures so that therefore his head will be far more easily swelled with adulations and self-confidences. Then pop those like a pin to a balloon and start again. It is easy for a pastor to move to pride—it is his default setting—so this should not be too difficult for you.

Turning your patient into a man-pleaser may require employment of what we have come to call the “rope-a-dope” technique, outlined as follows: First, make things very comfortable in the church for your patient. When he is very much pleased with himself and neither sober nor watchful, but drunk on ease and set to pastoral autopilot, then it is time to strike.

Bring in reinforcements to stoke division and dissension in his flock. Put him on the defensive. Demoralize him. Make him feel as though he has more to prove, more to be. Prod him to strive to enter the unrest. Make arrangements to see that he comes to shepherd under compulsion, not willingly, much less eagerly, and suggest that he view the sheep of his flock as problems to be fixed or resources to be used.

If you can steer him into a position of prideful domineering, that would be most excellent, but the key in all congregational unrest is not just to divorce the people of a church from each other or from their leaders but to divorce the leader from faith in the Enemy. Hype his understanding, if you must, so he will lean on it. Or deconstruct it, if you must, so he will fall back into man-pleasing. Whisper, “Yea to you when all men speak well of you.”

Convince him that difficulty is something strange, undeserved. Convince him that allegiance to himself is a suitable substitute for allegiance to the Enemy. Convince him to seek peace at all costs, especially at the expense of the truth of the Bad News. Your patient is a needy, insecure little man. Ply him with the tenuous, vaporous security of being liked as if it is the end all, be all.

And these are but the rudiments of but one temptation. There is always more to do and much to learn. More to come, if the Enemy delays.

Indefinitely yours,



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Developing a (Biblical) Mission Statement

This post is primarily for the benefit of the congregation whom I serve, Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in America at Fort Collins, Colorado.  It offers the explanation for how we derive our particular mission statement, with its attendant purpose, goals and means of biblical ministry.

Humbly submitted,  Pastor Don


1.   The process for developing this mission statement involved studying many secular and Christian books on developing and creating purpose, vision, and mission statements; then, over the years, reading and studying many books on the subject of the Church. Finally, using seminary materials and notes, I collated the information into a Purpose Statement, Mission Statement, and Vision Statement below.

2.   The principles upon which I base the following are the clear commands for us to minister to God through worship; to minister to the people of God through work, and to minister to the world through witness (I Peter 2:9; Rom. 15:8-16; Eph. 4:12-26; Lk 24:28; Acts 5:32; Phil. 2:14ff; Matt. 28:18ff) (See Dr. DeJong’s Education in the Truth, and Dr. Clowney’s The Church and Living in Christ’s Church).

3.  From God’s Word we are to understand that everything we do as a church is to bring glory to God (1 Cor. 10:31). Additionally, from God’s Word we derive what His purposes are and vision is for His Church.

4.  It appears, as we study from the Bible, that the goals of ministry are accomplished through specific means:  through the Word (faith), through holiness (hope) and through righteousness (love).  On this issue Dr. John Frame’s material on perspectivalism and Dr. Edmund Clowney’s books on the Church were helpful.

5.   These are based upon the three perspectives of the Norm (God and the Word), the situation (others), the existential (me or us).

a.   Here is how it breaks down in its constituent biblical parts:

God                 =                      exalt or consecration

Me/us              =                      edify or community

Others             =                      evangelize or commission


b.   Overlay these areas with Scripture’s sources, purposes and goals in Christ:

Word                     =           Faith                =                      what is biblical

Holiness    =                      Hope               =                      what shows mercy (acts of justice)

Righteous  =                      Love                =                      what is orderliness and discipline

6. We also wish to identify ourselves as biblical, Reformed, and alive, seeking to glorify God in all we do.

7.  Here now is an adumbration of the above:


a.   Part One:

To glorify God…through a growing relationship, active commitment, and ministry to God (this is what I would categorize Consecration)

 Consecration Objective (a ministry of reverence for the Savior):

To glorify God through a growing relationship, active commitment and ministry to Him through God-centered, Word-regulated, and spiritually vibrant worship of reverential awe, expectant faith, and full enjoyment.


To some degree, we could see a measured response as we stimulate the covenant

community to worship God privately (knowing Him intimately, trusting Him fully,

and loving Him deeply), and corporately (reverentially, faithfully, and with joy).


(faith)                = knowing = faithful reading and preaching               leads to reverence

(hope)               =trusting  = praise and prayer                                        leads to gratitude

(love)                 =enjoying = deep devotion                                              leads to full enjoyment


b.   Part Two:

       To glorify God… through a growing relationship, active commitment, and ministry to His people (which is classified as Community)


Community Objective (ministry of renewal to the saints):

To glorify Go in growing relationship, active commitment and ministry to the Church by building up one another in faith through the Word and sacraments, in hope through the ministries of mercy,  and in love through discipline (church government)

(faith)  =          various, faithful ministries of the Word   (Knowledge)

(hope) =          by right administration of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (holiness)

(love)  =          through the means of biblical order and discipline  (righteousness)


c.   Part Three:

      To glorify God…through a growing relationship, active commitment, and ministry to the world. (classified as Commission)


Commission Objective (ministry of reconciliation and reform of sinners):

To glorify God in growing relationship and active commitment to the Great Commission by seeking and making fully devoted disciples of Jesus Christ by passionate demonstration of Truth, mercy and love in Fort Collins, Larimer County, and the world.


                        (faith)  =          Word…witness   (evangelism, apologetics, missional activities)

(hope) =          Holiness…ministries of grace and mercy

(love)   =          Righteousness…reconciliation, peacemakers, reformation


The Mission Statement Defined

The development of the mission statement naturally led to bringing definition and clarity to it; which in turn becomes the philosophy of ministry for the local church:



To glorify God and enjoy Him through God-centered, Word-regulated, and spiritually vibrant private, family, and public worship that is characterized by reverential awe, expectant faith, and full enjoyment.


In our worship we are committed to being a congregation that…

1.         Glorifies God and enjoys Him in godly consecration

a.     Godly consecration reflects and pleases God in the exercise of our faith in true corporate and private worship.

b.    This will be reflected in an environment and ambiance of worship that is clean, simple, elegant, inviting and cheerful.

c.     Our intent is to beautify the service in adoration and praise through quality music.

A philosophy of music:

Since music should glorify or beautify the nature of the corporate worship service, music ought to be in keeping with the stated purpose and goal of the service. Music should be used purposefully and done well. It should reflect the Psalms and hymns of Scripture, which are God-centered, solid in content, and generally mature.

  • The tune, tone, dynamics, etc. of the songs and hymns must be able to carry the weight of the lyrics. This does not necessarily limit using only older hymns, nor does it exclude the use of contemporary hymns if it conforms to the above standards.
  • The tune, tone, dynamics, etc., of the music (choral or instrumental) when possible, should also reflect the particular element of the service in which it is played (i.e.: joyful tunes for praise, somber tune for confession, majestic for adoration, etc.)
  • Music ought also to reflect and promote the ebb and flow of the service. In other words, somber tunes for hymns of confession, or bright music for praise songs.
  • Music and the musician(s) should not call attention to themselves, but forward the attention to the Lord.


2.  Lead God’s people into a growing relationship and active commitment with the Lord in biblical worship.

a.     By this we mean stimulating the covenant community to know Him more intimately through the faithful reading and preaching of the Word of God, which leads to reverence.

b.    Stimulating the covenant community to trust Him more fully through praise and prayer, leading to gratitude.

c.   Stimulating the covenant community to enjoy the Lord through deeper devotion, which     leads to full enjoyment of the Lord.

d.   Biblical worship is  spiritual, reverent, corporate, participatory, purposeful, and historical.


3.  Worships in a way that is God-centered, Word-regulated, and spiritually vibrant.

a.     By “God-centered” we mean that worship will reflect the serious and important nature Scripture gives to it.  The focus of true worship is the God of the Bible, done in Spirit and truth.

(1)  This means the entire worship service draws attention to God. He is the audience and we are the performers. Everything about the nature and order of the worship will reflect this. It should be Christ-centered (Col. 1:18).

(2)  The entire worship service is a God-centered dialog dramatized by the participants in awe, reverence, holiness, praise and joy, done with excellence and order.

(3)  Worship will be non-theatrical, non-entertaining, but participatory, involving the congregation in variously prescribed activities.

b.    In keeping with the Reformed understanding of the worship of God, it will be Word-regulated. Since we believe in the absolute authority, perfection and sufficiency of Scripture, and because we cannot trust ourselves as depraved beings to determine how God ought to be worshiped, we look to the Bible to regulate this most important activity (Deut. 12:31, 32). Therefore, we will only do in worship those things commanded by the Word of God either directly or by inference (Ex. 20:1-6). This also implies that only those things which have the positive warrant of Scripture may be introduced into the worship of God.

c.     Spiritually vibrant means that we wish to guard against becoming merely an orthodox, but spiritually dead church. True worship is not only worship in the truth, but also in the Spirit (John 4). A spiritually vibrant church is animated by the Holy Spirit in a whole-souled experience (Rom. 12:1,2).


4.  Has a worship that is characterized by reverential awe, expectant faith, and full enjoyment.


 5.   Engenders true service to God through Jesus Christ by actively encouraging  individuals and families to develop and observe family and private worship with consistent regularity.

a.     True service to God is done in offering up sacrifices of praise and adoration (Rom. 12:1-2)

b.    True service is also done through the sacrifice of tithes, gifts, and offerings.

c.     True service to God is holy, joy-filled obedience in all that we do.

d.    Each believer and family will be called upon to worship God in the reading of His Word, by praise, and prayer on a regular basis.

e.     Each believer will also be called upon to observe private and family worship with regularity (Josh. 24:15).


To glorify God and enjoy Him in a growing relationship, active commitment, and service to Christ’s Church by building up one another in faith through the Word and sacraments, in hope through the ministries of mercy, and love through church discipline.

As a community of people who have a covenant relationship with God, we will seek to…

1.   Be a dynamic congregation that is constantly growing spiritually and numerically.

 2.   To lead the local church-family in developing closer, godly relationships with one


a.     We believe this is to be done by providing biblically spiritual-social contexts in which families would learn and be free to grow closer to the Lord and one another. The ministries and activities we choose will seek to enhance this family unity. In order to safeguard this, we will not implement on-going programs that unnecessarily disunify or hinder godly, caring relationships.

b.    We also believe this should be done by providing biblically spiritual-social contexts in which families and individuals are able to exercise the “one-another” commands of Scripture.

c.     To build up the covenant family through activities which will focus on fellowship and Christian community which is warm, sensitive, and caring, and which meets relational and other legitimate needs.

d.    By seeking to strengthen family relationships, encouraging heads of households and all members of each family to be obedient to God in their respective roles and callings.

e.     We intend to accomplish this by having the elders teach, model, and shepherd what it means to be a godly family, and training families to teach and model the godly family to others.


3.  To cultivate in God’s people an active commitment to the Church of Jesus Christ.

a.     All ministries should provide a forum in which believers are able to exercise their God-given gifts and talents to God’s glory and to serving one another.

b.    By encouraging our local assembly to get to know other believers within the Presbytery, and to support, when possible, the various Presbytery functions.

c.     By encouraging our people to actively support the missionaries we have adopted.


4. To effect in our community of faith biblical and sacrificial service to one another.

a. Discipling and exhorting God’s family to fervently love one another, practice hospitality, serve by the strength God supplies so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 4:7-11). This will be accomplished by providing opportunities to link families and individuals together through various social events, care groups, and discipleship groups.

b.   Engaging the congregation in random, spontaneous acts of love to one another.


5.   To build one another up in the Faith through ministries of the Word of God and the sacraments.

a.     It is our intent to lead people to Christ-likeness in their particular roles and calling.

b.    Building Cornerstone family through preaching, teaching and discipling ministries to develop spiritual discipline, maturity, godliness and love among individuals and families.

c.     Our objective is to disciple men and heads of households in the Faith as best expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith and other Reformed instruments; and to encourage them to disciple others also.

d.    Through the right administration of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism.


6.   To build hope through various acts of mercy.

a.     In holiness, offer hope to believers who are part of our church by a passionate and tangible demonstration of the mercy and grace of our Lord.

b.    By assisting qualified individuals and families (particularly widows and orphans) in temporarily meeting their physical and other genuine needs through diaconal ministries.

c.     Offer such support as the Lord provides and according to a hierarchy of responsibilities:

(1)  Individual responsibilities (2 Thess. 3:10)

(2)  Family responsibilities (I Tim. 5:4,8,16)

(3)  Local church responsibilities (Matt. 25:31-46)

(4)  Regional and universal church responsibilities.

7.  To demonstrate biblical love by godly oversight and caring discipline.

Jesus Christ has committed to the visible church ordained servants who have the duty and authority to preserve the purity, peace and good order of this local assembly.


















(Glorifying God as a community of God’s people by reaching and serving God’s world)


  1. 1.   To lead God’s people as citizen-soldiers in the extension of His kingdom.
    1. a.     To lead God’s people as citizen-soldiers, Biblically speaking.
    2. b.    To be actively involved in the extension of God’s kingdom, which is the work of God’s Spirit through His Word and prayer as His providential Lordship over the Church, the family, and civil domain


  1. 2.   To guide God’s people in an active commitment to seek and form fully devoted

            disciples of Jesus Christ.

  1. a.     Guiding God’s people by equipping and deploying CPCA believers for strategic spiritual ministry in bold, caring, relational evangelism, biblical apologetics and Gospel-driven service.
  2. b.     The general target of such ministry would be anyone who is without saving relationship with Jesus Christ. We will not limit our general target to any particular sociological group. However, we will from time to time focus our outreach events to a particular group (such as college students, etc.), as a matter of expediency.


  1. 3.   To conduct Christ’s work through a passionate demonstration of Truth, mercy and

            love in Fort Collins, Larimer County and the world.

  1. a.     To passionately demonstrate the Truth of Christ by the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ in a variety of settings.
  2. b.     In holiness, offering hope by the passionate demonstration of mercy and grace assisting qualified individuals and families, especially widows and orphans, in temporarily meeting their physical needs.
  3. c.     To be righteous through a passionate demonstration of biblical love in ministries of service, reconciliation and/or reformation.



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The Glory of Plodding

This article was written by Pastor Kevin DeYoung and was borrowed from  It is good and wise advice for pastors and churches.


It’s sexy among young people — my generation — to talk about ditching institutional religion and starting a revolution of real Christ-followers living in real community without the confines of church. Besides being unbiblical, such notions of churchless Christianity are unrealistic. It’s immaturity actually, like the newly engaged couple who think romance preserves the marriage, when the couple celebrating their golden anniversary know it’s the institution of marriage that preserves the romance. Without the God-given habit of corporate worship and the God-given mandate of corporate accountability, we will not prove faithful over the long haul.

What we need are fewer revolutionaries and a few more plodding visionaries. That’s my dream for the church — a multitude of faithful, risktaking plodders. The best churches are full of gospel-saturated people holding tenaciously to a vision of godly obedience and God’s glory, and pursuing that godliness and glory with relentless, often unnoticed, plodding consistency.

My generation in particular is prone to radicalism without followthrough. We have dreams of changing the world, and the world should take notice accordingly. But we’ve not proved faithful in much of anything yet. We haven’t held a steady job or raised godly kids or done our time in VBS or, in some cases, even moved off the parental dole. We want global change and expect a few more dollars to the ONE campaign or Habitat for Humanity chapter to just about wrap things up. What the church and the world needs, we imagine, is for us to be another Bono — Christian, but more spiritual than religious and more into social justice than the church. As great as it is that Bono is using his fame for some noble purpose, I just don’t believe that the happy future of the church, or the world for that matter, rests on our ability to raise up a million more Bonos (as at least one author suggests). With all due respect, what’s harder: to be an idolized rock star who travels around the world touting good causes and chiding governments for their lack of foreign aid, or to be a line worker at GM with four kids and a mortgage, who tithes to his church, sings in the choir every week, serves on the school board, and supports a Christian relief agency and a few missionaries from his disposable income?

Until we are content with being one of the million nameless, faceless church members and not the next globe-trotting rock star, we aren’t ready to be a part of the church. In the grand scheme of things, most of us are going to be more of an Ampliatus (Rom. 16:8) or Phlegon (v. 14) than an apostle Paul. And maybe that’s why so many Christians are getting tired of the church. We haven’t learned how to be part of the crowd. We haven’t learned to be ordinary. Our jobs are often mundane. Our devotional times often seem like a waste. Church services are often forgettable. That’s life. We drive to the same places, go through the same routines with the kids, buy the same groceries at the store, and share a bed with the same person every night. Church is often the same too — same doctrines, same basic order of worship, same preacher, same people. But in all the smallness and sameness, God works — like the smallest seed in the garden growing to unbelievable heights, like beloved Tychicus, that faithful minister, delivering the mail and apostolic greetings (Eph. 6:21). Life is usually pretty ordinary, just like following Jesus most days. Daily discipleship is not a new revolution each morning or an agent of global transformation every evening; it’s a long obedience in the same direction.

It’s possible the church needs to change. Certainly in some areas it does. But it’s also possible we’ve changed — and not for the better. It’s possible we no longer find joy in so great a salvation. It’s possible that our boredom has less to do with the church, its doctrines, or its poor leadership and more to do with our unwillingness to tolerate imperfection in others and our own coldness to the same old message about Christ’s death and resurrection. It’s possible we talk a lot about authentic community but we aren’t willing to live in it.

The church is not an incidental part of God’s plan. Jesus didn’t invite people to join an anti-religion, anti-doctrine, anti-institutional bandwagon of love, harmony, and re-integration. He showed people how to live, to be sure. But He also called them to repent, called them to faith, called them out of the world, and called them into the church. The Lord “didn’t add them to the church without saving them, and he didn’t save them without adding them to the church” (John Stott).

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7). If we truly love the church, we will bear with her in her failings, endure her struggles, believe her to be the beloved bride of Christ, and hope for her final glorification. The church is the hope of the world — not because she gets it all right, but because she is a body with Christ for her Head.

Don’t give up on the church. The New Testament knows nothing of churchless Christianity. The invisible church is for invisible Christians. The visible church is for you and me. Put away the Che Guevara t-shirts, stop the revolution, and join the rest of the plodders. Fifty years from now you’ll be glad you did.

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