Three Pastoral Models of Pastoral Care (3/3)

Donald Capps very helpfully outlines models and schemata for effective pastoral action, that I think are very helpful for getting pastor’s to think about the what and why of what they do in a community over which they exercise pastoral oversight.  This post is the third of three that will develop this scheme to show how pastoral care is multi-layered and complex, requiring self-understanding, and avoiding the over-simplification of a one-dimensional approach that can be seen in self-promoting and self-serving distortions of ministry.

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In Pastoral Care and Hermeneutics (a book I discovered by reading Anthony Thiselton’s A Lifetime in the Church and University), Capps first provides six Diagnostic Types for pastoral care approaches (pg. 61-65) and then, what concerned the first two posts, he locates them on three axes, with each axis viewed as a model of theological diagnosis (pg. 65-66).  He uses the content analysis of published sermons in six well known preachers, showing that each preacher had a characteristic approach that was common to most if not all the their published sermons.

Now following on from the Contextual, Experiential and Revisionist models of the previous post, Capps now draws these threads together (pg. 72-78) in three characteristic models or modes of pastoral ministry (See Figure A below – A Conceptual Schema for Interpreting Pastoral Actions), that he draws from the work of Alastair Campbell in his Rediscovering Pastoral Care:

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Theatrical Withdrawal

The shocking thing about suffering is not that it happens, but that we are shocked when it happens.  The suffering can of course take many forms: bereavements, illness, chronic sickness, depression, pain, cold and flu, to name but a few!

Although there is a place for time alone, space to think and pray, why is it, that in many Christian churches, people feel the need to absent themselves from the life of God’s people?  Why do so many think that a theatrical withdrawal is what biblical faith is all about?  Why do we feel that when we do go to church we get tired of explaining about our illness, whilst on the other hand, when we do withdraw, we lament that nobody cares or calls.

It is a fact that what is often presented in our lives is not the reality of either us or our situation.  A man who lost a father at the age of five, will likely have profoundly complex and yet dysfunctional emotions and expectations in later life when a relative dies.  In this sense, people can be very ego-centric in grief and suffering – and that is not to minimalise the suffering, merely to unmask the complexity of emotion and feelings underneath.

If sickness determined whether we continue with church and/or God, then surely God would have no lovers and all churches would be empty!  But no!  Church is full of repentant sinners, broken people, unhealed, chronically sick and often desperate….but they are there, with God’s people, together, worshipping God for God’s own sake, for God’s sake!  Those who theatrically withdraw forget that other people are living their lives too, and in their egocentrism, they  neither see nor care.  In fact, this not seeing nor caring, is a form of robbery – robbing God of what they were called to be within the community; denying the gift of themselves to others among the people of God; and all because of an egocentrism that is ring-fenced from genuine biblical scrutiny, Holy Spirit healing & trust, and Christian fellowship.

Is it a type of super-spiritual sulking?  I think it can be, though it may not be.  And this sulking can and often is a smokescreen for the real reality behind the perceived or egocentrically managed (false) reality.

In his book, Games People Play, Eric Berne suggests that in groups, which of course include churches, there is a whole range of ‘gameplaying’ going on; something false about most people or groups, and for anyone inclined pastorally, the greatest freedom can be found in recognising the script, seeing what is false, refusing to play to their script and speak prophetic biblical truth, life and health into all situations.

And that speaking might mean withdrawing from that dysfunctional dynamic, remaining silent, praying for people whilst refusing to be played by their scripts.  Some may accuse you of not caring or not loving, of not being a proper pastor.  They would, because they haven’t yet seen the dysfuntion of their script, because they are waiting for a particular response that is becoming of a theatrical withdrawal.  All the while they think it is about their present situation or illness, but it rarely is.  It is often about what is unresolved from their past, and the pastor’s role is to disclose this undisclosed menace, and pray the Holy Spirit is there in it all, bringing healing and wholeness.
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To Ministers & Preachers (pt3)

On October 20th 1909, P. T. Forsyth delivered an ordination address based on John 17:6,

“I manifested thy name unto the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gavest them to Me.“

The sermon is very short and broken down into three parts, The Property, The Gift, The Use.

We conclude with part three….

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“I Have Manifested Thy Name to Them.”

What a charge – to be the living man on whom men depend for the living God!  The people say to you as Minister, what Philip said to Jesus, “Show us the Father” (John 14:8).

“I have manifested Thy name.”  That means nature, and nature means presence and action – not truths about God but God Himself in action.  It is not the Fatherhood of God you have to preach but God the Father.  You do not have to preach about God to people, you must preach God into people.  So true preaching is not telling people, but acting on people, making people.

No amount of telling will ever convince people of the Father; it has to be lived into them.  Therefore yours must be a personal ministry.  When the personal God revealed Himself, it was in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ; and when Christ is preached it is by men, by a soul.  You cannot reveal the Holy One by talking about holiness.  “That is true,” says someone, “You can only reveal the Holy One by being holy.”  But he knows little of himself who can say that.  If we cannot preach the Holy God except by being holy, who can preach him?

The holiness that fits you to preach about the Holy is not your personal sanctity and conduct, but your evident communion with the Holy Christ.  It is a life faith you want more than a life conduct.

Why!  Paul addressed such Churches as his by the name of Saints!  Churches in which the grossest sins were evident.  They were not saints by conduct but by faith.

Your goodness is not equal to your task as a minister but your faith must be.  You must realise that “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor 12:9).  So it is!  Not even your faith is sufficient, but only His grace, for you have to reveal Christ as Christ revealed, in this sense, that in both cases it is the soul that tells.  But there is this difference:  He revealed God to us by the resources of His own soul, while you cannot do it from the resources of your soul but only from His.  Nobody was for Him what He is for you with God.

The greatest thing you can give any man is your God and your Saviour.  The reason why some ministers are valuable for other things than preaching, even valuable in spite of their preaching, is that they preach about God, and about Christ; they do not preach Christ.  They are only messengers, not Sacraments.

A favourite type of preaching today is to analyse your soul; it is subjective, psychological preaching.  It is weak, it is exhausting, it is dangerous.  Analyse the Gospel in reference to the soul.  You are a minister of the Word, not of the soul.

And that Word will be selective.  There is real truth in the doctrine of election.  You will not appeal to all alike.  To try to do so is to make your Gospel colourless.  There will be some whom you will not touch.  On the other hand, there may be some given to you whom others have never touched.

If your Church were smaller, it might be more powerful.  If you could shed off people as Christ did, you might be stronger, like Gideon’s host.  Christ alone has the promise and reversion of all men, and He only at the last.  At first, all forsook him and fled.

You have but a corner of the vineyard, and cannot appeal to all men.  Humility then is better equipment than ambition, even the ambition of doing much good.  And remember as a last word:  in the Christian ministry, all self-seeking is fatal.

 

*** With gratitude to Jason Goroncy in his excellent book containing published and unpublished sermons by Forsyth, the one I am posting (in three parts, part one here, part two here) is previously unpublished (p.352-355), and I whole-heartedly commend the book, as I have already done in a previous post, not least for an outstanding introduction (worth the book money alone)!

To Ministers & Preachers (pt2)

On October 20th 1909, P. T. Forsyth delivered an ordination address based on John 17:6,

“I manifested thy name unto the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gavest them to Me.“

The sermon is very short and broken down into three parts, The Property, The Gift, The Use.

We continue with part two….

 

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“Thou Gavest Them to Me.”

Your ordination is an act and gift of God.  He is putting His people into your hands.  He does not so much give you a position as a trust.  He puts His Church in your care.

But it is also true that He entrusts this Church with you.  If they treat you ill, it will affect your whole life, and just the same if they treat you well.  A Minister is very much what his first Church makes him.  But let them remember this, that to treat you well they must treat your Gospel better than you.

Therefore it is not popularity you must think about first.  Do not crave morbidly for your people’s love.  Craving does not bring it, and often arrests it.  Do not beg for sympathy.

Think of your Church from the other point of view, as a trust from God to whom you must be faithful in it.  This flock is committed to you by God.  You do not simply take each other but, as in true marriage, God has given you to each other.  This is really a marriage ceremony.  You are being married to the Church.

This will comfort you when you are doubting if you should be at this work.  Say to yourself, “Thou hast given them to me, the responsibility is Thine.”  Da quod jubes et jube quod vis (“Give what you command, and command what you give,” St Augustine, Confessions 10.29.40).  I am not worthy.  Yes that is true, but what is that to thee, follow thou Me!

Of course you are not worthy to preach the Gospel; none of us is worthy.  But then your people are not worthy to hear it.  If it depended on worth, there would be neither preachers nor listeners.  The worth is where the power is, in Christ and God, who does not give us according to our deserts.

Lest you be overwhelmed with the greatness of your task, remember no Church is given to any man without the Saviour of the Church and of Him.  After all, it is Christ’s Church more than yours.  He is the real Pastor of every real Church, and the Bishop of its Minister.  You are but His curate.

[Next] the use of gift.

 

With gratitude to Jason Goroncy in his excellent book containing published and unpublished sermons by Forsyth, the one I am posting (in three parts, part one here) is previously unpublished (p.352-355), and I whole-heartedly commend the book, as I have already done in a previous post, not least for an outstanding introduction (worth the book money alone)!

Congregational Inconsistency

Pastoral expectations, idealisms, fantasy’s and fictions are often held by both pastor and congregation.  Pastors have very high hopes (in God) for the church and often live with having these high hopes unrealised, unmet and often dashed upon the rocks of their own inflated ego.  Congregations on the other hand, have very high hopes (in the pastor) to make their imagined version of the church a reality.

It was Bonhoeffer who reminds us that God will not permit us to live in a dream world.  When the pastor’s plans flounder, he or she will often lash out, and blame this, that or them!  When the congregation’s collective plan fails, they may just get a new pastor, as one gets a new car.  A new product for a consumer who is tired of the old and hopeful for the new.  Sometimes the pastor’s own denominational institution not only allows this to happen but too readily encourages it.

In a previous post, we are reminded of Eugene Peterson’s charge, that a pastor’s role is to say the word “God” accurately.  In all the mundane routine of life; in the flickering inconsistency of those saints who make up church congregations, the boredom and lukewarmness that constitutes much of contemporary Church life, the pastor is there, present, to say “God.”  Peterson goes on, “We are there for one reason and one reason only: to preach and to pray.”

He continues, “We are there to focus the overflowing, cascading energies of joy, sorrow, delight, or appreciation, if only for a moment but for as long as we are able, on God.  We are there to say “God” personally, to say his name clearly, distinctly, unapologetically, in proclamations and prayers.  We are there to say it without hemming and hawing, without throat clearing and without shuffling, without propagandizing, proselytizing, or manipulating.  We have no other task.  We are not needed to add to what is there.  We are required only to say the name:  Father, Son, Holy Ghost.

IMG_2695All men and women hunger for God.  The hunger is masked and misrepresented in many ways, but it is always there.  Everyone is on the verge of crying out “My Lord and my God!”  but the cry is drowned out by doubts or defiance, muffled by the dull ache of their routines, masked by their cozy accomodations with mediocrity.  Then something happens – a word, an event, a dream – and there is a push toward an awareness of an incredible Grace, a dazzling Desire, a defiant Hope, a courageousness Faithfulness.  But awareness, as such, is not enough.  Untended, it trickles into religious sentimentalism or romantic blubbering.  Or, worse, it hardens into patriotic hubris or pharisaical snobbery.  The pastor is there to nudge the awareness past subjectivities and ideologies into the open and say “God.”

We must do only what we are there to do: pronounce the Name, name the hunger.  But it is so easy to get distracted.  There is so much going on, so much to see and hear and say.  So much emotion.  So many tasks.  So much, we think, “opportunity.”  But our [pastoral] assignment is to the “one thing needful,” the invisible, quiet centre – God”  (Under the Unpredictable Plant, p.87)

If pastors within churches can’t, don’t, won’t say the word “God” accurately, who will?  Yet if our denominations will fortify pastors in this regard, if churches will grow less consumeristic by becoming more Christ-like, maybe we will see more of the treasure that has been entrusted to us.  Jesus did say the wheat and the weeds grow together and Paul wrote to the inconsistent Corinthians that there are bound to be factions, indeed there must be, in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognised (1 Cor 11:19).

So not only do we have the absurdity of churchy impostors, religious fakers, nomistic finger-pointers, argumentative factionists and spiritual consumers, we also have, among those who are genuine (to use Paul’s phrase), those who do love the Lord, those who do want to grow – inconsistency on a biblical scale – and pastors must not be afraid to keep on being pastors in the middle of it all.  Sometimes and often these categories overlap, in fact, they more than overlap, they mingle and weave.  The congregation is inconsistent, it was never promised to be anything but.  This is normal.  What is not normal is the weirdness of the pastoral role:  Preaching and praying.  And what is amazing is that all are loved, deeply loved by the “God” we have been called to name!

 

(The picture was taken by me a couple of years a go.  This bundle or congregation of drift wood easily resembles the Church.  One of the bits of battered and broken wood is the pastor.  God is doing all the gathering, all the while whispering to the pastor, “Keep telling all the other bits of odd and broken wood my Name, don’t stop, keep doing what I’ve called you to do.  I will keep gathering.”)

Say the word ‘God’ accurately

Under PlantOnce again I have been saved by the wisdom of Eugene Peterson.  His book, Under the Unpredictable Plant arrived in the post today (thanks to Amazon and Royal Mail and Terry the postman), and just about became the Word of the Lord to me, and how I needed it as I began to spiral down into a terrible post-ordained apocalyptic storm of self-pity!

He writes,

“Propagandists are abroad in the land lying to us about what congregations are and can be.  They are lying for money.  They want to make us discontent with what we are doing so we will buy a solution from them that they promise will restore our virility to our impotent congregations.  The profit-taking among those who market these spiritual monkey glands indicates that pastoral gullibility in these matters is endless.  Pastors, faced with the failure of the purchased procedures, typically blame the congregation and leave it for another.  The devil, who is behind all this smiling and lacquered mischief, so easily makes us discontent with what we are doing that we throw up our hands in the middle of it, disgusted, and go on to another parish that will appreciate our gifts and ministry and our devotion to the Lord.  Every time a pastor abandons one congregation for another out of boredom or anger or restlessness, the pastoral vocation of all of us is vitiated.” p.18

The very next sub-heading title, following the words above were like a train hitting me in the spiritual slobiness I mistook for self-justification.  The words were:

Stay Where You Are

If ever I needed to hear those words it was right now.  God to the rescue through the pen and anointed ink of Eugene Peterson.  To all my fellow pastor brothers and sisters:  Stick with it.  You have a high calling indeed.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world and sell your soul to religiously cheap versions of capitalism and consumerism.  We are ministers of the Gospel, called and sent to proclaim Jesus Christ and all His goodness.

And the reason He must be proclaimed is because we live in a world of sin where the people we serve are luke-warm at best.  Let Jesus spit them out of His mouth – pastors do not spit out the very people God has entrusted to us.  Jesus does that, that’s what Scripture says; let us not be found spitting out the people of God from our mouth; our mouth is set apart to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel.  He is the Saviour, not us.  We serve.  We love and serve.  We love and serve and preach.  We love and serve and preach and love.

godPeterson goes on, magnificently (p.172) to say what pastors do.  He says it is simple, and on one level I agree, on the only other level available it is the most complex, most profound ‘doing’ any human being can be involved in, he writes that a pastor’s vocation is to “…say the word God accurately….”

That to me, speaks more of my vocation or role as a pastor that anything else.  Speak ‘God’ accurately.  WOW.  I am tempted, like Job, to clasp my hands over my mouth and speak no more, but God in His glorious Triunity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, has called and commanded me to speak  of Him and His mystery and majesty.  To speak of Him accurately.  That’s what He has called me to do, and he will do it because He is faithful.

Pastoral Care and Weak Tea

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Pastoral Care Musings

Imagine sitting down to watch a Jane Austin production.  As you watch, the characters take shape, their personalities, odd ways, petty grievances, massive dysfunctional relating to ‘get their man’, hidden agendas (and I don’t mean like when the Secretary hides our leadership agendas and we have to find them).

In the course of the drama, in steps another character.  This one isn’t really taken too seriously and is always presented in one of two ways: 1.  As a sinister plotting megalomaniac intent on getting what he wants by any means necessary, including murder and pillage, and like a locust he is off to fresh green pastures that he will no doubt devour.  2.  As a limp wristed, thickly be-speckled, wispy, goofy, dribbling buffoon.    Welcome the vicar-minister-preacher-parson-”religious-nut”!

While shows like East Enders do their best to produce characters in the number one mode, period dramas such as Jane Austin (etc), produce characters firmly rooted in the two mode.  It is this mode that has shaped a cultural view of the ministerial role; this mode helps us to assume we know what a minister is and what pastoral care really is;  this mode is what sits deep, happy and unchallenged in the popular imagination of Christians and non-Christians alike.

In short, if we want a bit of drama to our mostly pretty drab lives, we may risk an occasional rendezvous with Pastor number one.  But really, most of us (by most I really do mean 99.99% of the world’s population), really do want a soppy drip of a man to be at our beck and call, to be seriously interested in the details of why the begonias are not as productive this year as they were the past (500 years – global warming and the Muslims I tell you), and they seriously expect this weak man to drink weak tea in a pretty weak way!

My burden and my challenge is simply this:  The pastoral role, for me as a pastor, and for us as a caring and loving church must be rooted in the radical and dangerous ground of the Gospel, or it is nothing.  We must be people who are saturated in the Gospel or we have nothing to offer.  If the pastoral care is to be biblical, then it must be shaped primarily on Jesus (and also on Paul), and I am absolutely certain, that if it was shaped around this biblical mandate then both roles described above would be ditched in the time it takes to watch Pride & Prejudice.

In short, if we insisted that the pastor visit and the pastor was Paul we would soon stop insisting he visit.  If we insist that pastoral care is really social care and our end-goal is not the growth, maturity and joy of the believer in glorifying God, then we must drop ‘Baptist Church’ from our name and call ourselves ‘Itching Ears Social Club’.

Pastoral Care as I understand it biblically, is a God-orientated focus and direction to the things and ways of God that the Christian can grow in and learn from.  The template (for want of a better word) is found in Paul’s list of the 5-fold ministry in Ephesians 4:11-13 where he mentions apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher.  These are given, in conjunction with the other aspects Paul mentions in 1 Cor 12 & Romans 12:3-8, for a specific purpose:  for the equipping, maturing and upbuilding of the people of God.  The aim is to:prepare God’s people for work’s of service, so that they attain the unity of fait and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Without this as the drive and goal, any church will simply become lopsided or stunted, failing to become what it should be.

We are reminded at this point that pastoral care, especially in the OT but also noted by Jesus in John 10 (cf. Ezekiel 34) that pastoring is also shepherding.  And so once again the image of what pastoral care looks like has to absorb another biblical facet into it’s structure.  Shepherds are strong and caring; sheep are dumb and smelly.  But the shepherd loves the sheep.  It is inconceivable that a sheep would venture to tell the shepherd how to do his job or what he needs, or offer mediocre at best and utterly trivial at worst, insights into what the shepherd should be doing.

Eugene Peterson is a master-writer to pastors.  In his book, ‘The Contemplative Pastor’ he categorises three types of pastor that all pastors should emulate if they are to be biblically faithful to their ordained ministry.  In leading up to this in a previous book, he castigates modern means of the pastoral role.  He says pastors are abandoning their posts at an alarming rate.  They still get paid by the church, they look after the church, they still preach and pray and commune.  He says they are ‘whoring after other gods’ because what they ‘do’ under the guise of pastoral ministry hasn’t ‘the remotest connection with what the church’s pastors have done for most of twenty centuries.’  The cult of success, size, faddish business models, wealth, secularism, etc, have all taken their toll on much contemporary Western Evangelicalism.

As far as I can tell, under the lead of God for the actual pastor’s role, is prayer, Bible and discipleship (which includes both the comforting and sending aspects).  Therefore, the three categories he insists a pastor must live by if he is to be faithful and carry out prayer Bible and discipleship is the following:

1. The Unbusy Pastor.  “How can a pastor persuade a person to live by faith and not by works if he has to juggle his schedule constantly to make everything fit into place?”

2. The Subversive Pastor.  “I am undermining the kingdom of self and establishing the kingdom of God.  I am being subversive.”

3. The Apocalyptic Pastor.  “With the vastness of the heavenly invasion and the urgency of the faith decision rolling into our consciousness like thunder and lightening, we cannot stand around on Sunday morning filling time with pretentious small talk on how bad the world is and how wonderful this new stewardship campaign is going to be.”

The reason I mentioned Jane Austin and the two types of minister at the start is simply this:  If I, even for a moment, accept my culture’s definition of me, I am rendered harmless, useless, and helpless.  Peterson gets it right for me.  And if this is right, the pastoral role of “looking after people” takes a radically biblical direction, one that we can only thank God for, since it is rooted in Scripture and is given to us by Christ because of the Gospel.

The role, call and art of the pastoral office, as it has been biblically understood, and seen in 2000 years of church history is constantly under threat:  kill the shepherd and scatter the sheep.  Pastoral care is a primary attack of Satan closely followed by marriage.  And one of the most subtle ways Satan is doing this is for all to see, as John Piper writes:  “Professionalisation is killing pastoral ministry.  The mentality of the professional is not the mentality of the prophet.  It is not the mentality of a slave of Christ.  Professionalism has nothing to do with the essence and heart of Christian ministry.  The more professional we long to be, the more spiritual death we will leave in our wake.  For there is no professional childlikeness (Mt 18:3); there is no professional tenderheartedness (Eph 4:32); there is no professional panting after God (Ps 42:11).  We cannot professionalise the love for the appearing of Christ without killing it.  And it isbeing killed.  The world sets the agenda of the professional man; God sets the agenda of the spiritual man.  The strong wine of Jesus Christ explodes the wineskins of professionalism.”

I write this because if we as a church do not ‘get’ pastoral care, we will never do it as God intends, it will not be done for His glory, nor will we have eternity in mind as we care and lead God’s people.  The proclamation of the Gospel is central to all ministry and church life, that includes pastoral care.  The proclamation of the Gospel is a word about God and the salvation offered to all people.  It is other worldy, it is supernatural, it is beyond us, yet given to us, it is proclaimed but it is unthinkable.

The aim of the Church, is eternal and it is spiritual.  Anything that does not pass a Gospel test or filter, must be releagted to some secondary or third rate level of priority.  Eternity  and spirituality is not shared by any of the professions and it is precisely the failure to see this that we are dying.

Piper writes, “We are most emphatically not part of a social team sharing goals with other professionals.  Our goals are an offense; they are foolishness (1 Cor 1:23).  The professionalisation to the ministry is a constant threat to the offense of the gospel.  It is a threat to the profoundly spiritual nature of our work.  I have seen it often: the love of professionalism kills a person’s belief that he is sent by God to save people from hell and to make them Christ-exalting, spiritual aliens in our world.”

Finally (for now), all this is rooted in the Gospel, I hope that’s been clear.  Genuine biblical pastoral care, be it the shepherd, the apocalyptic pastor or the teacher evangelist is Gospel centred,; Gospel driven; Gospel motivated; Gospel orientated or we have nothing.  Jude writes that we are to ‘contend’ for the faith because where there is a truth there is a lie.  If the Gospel isn’t central, what exactly are we offering?  More tea vicar?

But no, we contend, defend, stand firm, run the race, fight the fight, build, plant, water; we guard the gospel as a priority.  So we contend for this glorious faith, this Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Jude continues, that we are to ‘build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.’  This is the first stage of pastoral care.  We build, pray, keep – ourselves.  Then the very next verse propels us towards those whom God has given us.  We are to ‘have mercy on the doubters, save others by snatching them from the fire, show mercy with fear – hating even the clothing stained by the sinful flesh.’

How can a hungry shepherd feed his sheep?  How can a dry mouth proclaim the Living Waters of Jesus?  How can a fleshly spirit wear the armour of God?  Pastoral care starts right here with people who get the apocalyptic nature of what it really is.  Then, we will have genuine, biblical mercy and hope for those in the fire or those who doubt.

And if like me, you are tempted to think on occasion, you’re not up to this, God is the source, author, goal and point of it all.  Jude 1 refers to those whom God has called, the beloved ones kept for Jesus Christ.  And by the time we get to v24 we read, “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.  Amen.”

So no, we’re not up to this task/ministry.  But God is, and he who called you is faithful.  He will do it.