Many pastors and churches like the theology of the Apostle Paul but not his drive and urgency.
Let me explain before you get mad.
The Drive of the Apostle Paul (and a Pastor)
In many church circles, the Apostle Paul is held up as a theologian of theologians. In the reformed world, the book of Romans and Ephesians are ones every pastor loves to preach from and talk about. Yet, there is a drive in Paul, an urgency that many pastors do not have.
Pastors are shepherds. They are to be compassionate, have strong character, care for those in their church, helping and walking with them as they grow in their faith. All of those things are good and true.
In fact, when I bring up drive, urgency in ministry, or even feeling the weight of the church I pastor, someone will quote Jesus and say, “Jesus said he will build his church, not you, Josh.” And that is true, and I wholeheartedly believe that.
Consider what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:28: And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.
Throughout Acts we see Paul going into places, causing riots and being thrown in prison. Why? He was urgent about what God had called him to. His passion ran all through him.
As you read through Acts or the letters that Paul wrote, you see a deep care he has for the people he is writing to, the churches he planted and the people he is speaking to. You see him understanding their worldview, doing the hard work of understanding their belief systems, what makes them tick. Why? So he can better share the gospel with them.
As you read his letters, you feel the urgency he has. History will tell us that he spent a lot of time in prison and so was that where his urgency came from? Maybe. But think about the culture we minister in. Is it any less difficult? Is it more secular than the Roman Empire Paul was in? No.
I’ll give you an example, maybe this is extreme. Recently, a pastor reached out to me on Saturday night asking if I knew anyone who could preach for him the next day. I thought something horrible or catastrophic happened to him or his family, so I asked. Nope. He just didn’t feel it for tomorrow morning was his response.
When I read through Acts, I see a man driven by the passion of redemption that he experienced in Jesus. An urgency that says, “My life is not forever.” The moment Paul stands up to speak, you feel that this might be the last time he preaches.
If you’re a pastor, can you take control of your church and believe that everything rises and falls on your efforts? Yes. Is that a sin? Yes.
A Deep Calling
I also believe you can and should be a pastor who feels a deep calling to your church and your city and feels the weight of what God has called you to. If you don’t, I don’t know if you are serious about what you are doing, because so much hangs in the balance of what God has called you to. Eternities, lives, kids, parents, marriages, careers, hopes, dreams, joys and failures. We are brought into so many holy moments as pastors that we should always feel the weight of.
Remember, feeling the weight of something is different than feeling it is all up to you. [tweet that]
We have a saying at our church that we stole from another church. We tell our volunteers and teams, “Every Sunday is someone’s first Sunday at Revolution.” If you’re a church planter, do you remember your first Sunday? When you arrived at your new job at your new church, do you remember you first Sunday? The butterflies, the wondering if anyone would show up, what they would think, how you would connect, the excitement and passion you had. You probably put a lot of thought, energy, and prayer into that morning and sermon.
Let me ask you, did you put the same energy, prayer, and thought into your last sermon?
Josh Reich is the Lead Pastor of Revolution Church in Tucson, AZ. He is the area lead for Acts 29 in Arizona and speaks at a variety of conferences on church planting, leadership, and marriage. He is also the author of Breathing Room: Stressing Less & Living More. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshuaReich.