Shepherds Not Called By Christ Are Wolves

Anyone who tries to be a shepherd without coming through Jesus is illegitimate and destructive. Which means that only Jesus can call and gift true shepherds. You must be called by Jesus to be a shepherd.

This is not speaking solely of senior pastors. This truth applies to all who function as shepherds, particularly those on the pastoral staff. Even lay leaders in the church frequently function as shepherds. But none can receive that calling except through Jesus.”

Robert Morris. The Blessed Church: The Simple Secret to Growing the Church You Love. WaterBrook Press, 2012. 44.

Calling of God Versus Going Up the Corporate Ladder

“That’s why you should only seek the role of senior pastor if you’re sure you’ve been called to it. Supernature grace and enabling come to those who have been truly called by the Great Shepherd. But without that grace, it can be brutal. I encourage associate pastors to thrive in that vital and fulfilling role until they are absolutely sure they have been called and are ready to be a senior pastor.

This message tends to hurt some feelings and ruffle some feathers. This is America after all. We’ve been conditioned to view every organization as a corporate ladder that must be climbed until we reach the top. In our worldview, every Number Two must aspire to be Number One. But this is a trap. If it’s not your calling to serve a senior pastor, you don’t want to do it.

Robert Morris. The Blessed Church: The Simple Secret to Growing the Church You Love. WaterBrook Press, 2012. 44.

Feed The Sheep, Beat The Wolves

[On John 10:1-10] “Note that Jesus leads His sheep by going before them. He’s not standing behind them, shouting and driving them with a whip. He’s not driving them before Him by poking them with sharp sticks. He’s in front of them with His shepherd’s staff. He demonstrates the path. In other words, the true shepherd models where he wants the sheep to go. He leads by example.

There’s a powerful lesson for pastors in that. By the way, the shepherd’s staff is for fighting off wolves and other wild predators, not for beating the sheep. True shepherds lead the sheep and fight the enemy.”

Robert Morris. The Blessed Church: The Simple Secret to Growing the Church You Love. WaterBrook Press, 2012. 70.

Feeding Is Of The Utmost Importance

“I feed and lead. But if I had to choose only one as my top priority, I would say feeding is most important. I suspect many pastors would choose differently. Many would say that leading is a pastor’s primary function. I disagree. Why? Because you cannot lead malnourished people into battle. You feed them and ensure that they grow to be strong, alert, and equipped. Then you have a group you can lead.

‘Feed My sheep’ is a life call from God for me.

Robert Morris. The Blessed Church: The Simple Secret to Growing the Church You Love. WaterBrook Press, 2012. 63.

I Have A Job For You

“Jesus looks around at Peter’s fishing boat and tackle. Peter has gone back to the old life again, unsure what to do with himself next. Jesus says, ‘Simon, son of John, when I first met you, you were a fisherman, and I called you to be a fisher of humans. You were very happy then to come with me and work alongside me. Now you are back here again. Do you love me more than these?’ Peter is a bit nonplused and doesn’t know where this is leading, but manages to say: ‘Yes, Lord – you know I love you.’ ‘Well,’ Jesus says, ‘I have a job for you. Feed my lambs.’

Peter doesn’t know what to say to this, but Jesus goes on: ‘And Peter, you remember how you said you would go with me even to death? How even if all the others left me you wouldn’t? It didn’t work out that like that, did it? I heard you that night, as you know. You told them you didn’t even know me. Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ Peter hangs his head. There is no denying it now. ‘Yes, Lord,’ he says, ‘you know that I love you.’ 

But Jesus isn’t finished yet. There is no point in getting someone to see themselves as they really are if you don’t show them where to go from there. ‘Don’t you see, Peter?’ he says. ‘That’s not the end of the story. Peter, the next day they took me outside the city and they crucified me. They watched me die while you hid away somewhere. ‘But don’t you see what it means? I was despised and rejected by everybody. I had nothing but darkness and pain and death. But Peter, I bore all your griefs. I carried all your sorrows. I was wounded for your transgressions. I was bruised for your iniquities. Upon me was the punishment that made you whole. As they beat me, you were being healed. You were straying away like a lost sheep, Peter, but God laid on me the punishment for all your sin. Simon, son of John, do you love me?’

Peter, feeling that the tears in his eyes tell the truth anyway, says, ‘Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you.’ And Jesus goes on to tell him of the new life he must lead, a life of serving God, a life of suffering and death, a life of following the Master.

The story hardly needs applying further. Christian faith begins (or it may begin) with understanding what Peter understood that morning. It is as we see Jesus, dying so that his people need not die, completing on the cross the work of our salvation, wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities, that we see clearly the love that God has for us. It is also the point at which we begin to love God in return.”

N. T. Wright. Small Faith–Great God. 2nd ed. IVP Books, 2010. 72-74.

The Best Bad News Ever

“Jesus was essentially telling his friend [in John 21:15-19], ‘Peter, you’re going to die for Me.’ That had to have been the best bad news Peter ever received.

Put another way, Jesus was saying, ‘Being a shepherd is going to cost you your life.’ That’s how serious this calling is. That’show seriously I’ve learned to take it. Today, if you cut me, I bleed sheep. Why? Because I am a shepherd.”

Robert Morris. The Blessed Church: The Simple Secret to Growing the Church You Love. WaterBrook Press, 2012. 60.

Well, Uh, You Know, Stuff

“Not surprisingly, I got a lot of questions about vision from my leadership and staff in the first several years of our existence. In fact, at least once every three or four months during our first few years, I would be in a meeting with our elders and hear this statement: ‘We need to define the vision of the church.’

My usual response was a flustered, stammering repetition of what I’d said before. ‘Well… us, you know… my vision is to build this church… reach people…. grow.’ That was usually followed by an awkward silence, and then we’d move on to the next topic—until the same issue came up again a few months later.

I can be a little slow sometimes, but it eventually became clear to me that, as a leader, shepherd, and Chief Visionary Office (CVO), I was failing to fill a very specific, very real need of the elders and staff of Gateway Church. And the truth was, I had much more vision in my heart than I was expressing. The problem was that articulating it did not come naturally to me.

Robert Morris. The Blessed Church: The Simple Secret to Growing the Church You Love. WaterBrook Press, 2012. 44.

What Frustrates You Frustrates Me

Exodus 3:7 Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings,

“Here God is basically saying, ‘I’ve seen. I’ve know.’ In other words, ‘Moses, I’ve seen what you saw. What frustrates you frustrates Me.’

This may strike you as odd or unorthodox to hear it phrased this way, but I believe frustration is a major precursor and indicator of vision. If you’re not sure what God has ordained your ministry to do and be, perhaps you should begin by asking yourself, What frustrates me? If you are a current or prospective pastor, take some time in your quiet time and ask the Holy Spirit to make your mindful of what other churches do that frustrates you. I believe the answers will begin to illuminate and clarify your specific vision for a church.”

Robert Morris. The Blessed Church: The Simple Secret to Growing the Church You Love. WaterBrook Press, 2012. 34.

Being Good Stewards of All The Things God Has Given You

This [particular] church had chosen not to spend any money on improving or updating the rented facility. It’s easy to understand their logic. After all, they didn’t own the place and were focusing all their financial resources on building their permanent facility.

We hoped to buy land and build a building too, but we took a different approach. We immediately spent $75,000 updating a building we didn’t own.

Robert Morris. The Blessed Church: The Simple Secret to Growing the Church You Love. WaterBrook Press, 2012. 19.

Hoping New Churches Would Be Planted Near Your Church

“We prayed for wisdom, open doors, and divine connections. In gracious answer to our prayers, God put Pastor David Whitington in our path. He was and is the pastor of a great church in Southlake, Texas, called Christ Our King. Upon meeting with him, I asked if he had any interest in renting out his church building on Saturday evenings to a fledgling start-up. (Christ Our King only had services on Sunday morning at that time.)

David’s response was wonderful. He said, ‘Absolutely! In fact, I’ve been praying for new churches to be started in Southlake. You’re an answer to my prayers.‘ David is one of the most kingdom-minded men I’ve ever met. His generous, secure spirit is too rare among pastors in the body of Christ.”

Robert Morris. The Blessed Church: The Simple Secret to Growing the Church You Love. WaterBrook Press, 2012. 18.