“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” – Psalm 37:23 (KJV)
“A man’s gift maketh room for him” – Proverbs 18:16 (KJV)
Christian ministry is paradoxical in nature. We see people who serve congregations entrusted to them in an honorable fashion for many years, sometimes multiple decades. Longevity in ministry is quite rare. It has been said that the average tenure of a pastor in a church is between 24-36 months. When I think of longevity, I think of men like John MacArthur who has served Grace Community Church in Panorama City for 40 years now, Roland Rasmussen, who has served Faith Baptist Church of Canoga Park, CA for almost 50 years, and W.A. Criswell who served for over 50 years at First Baptist Church in Dallas, TX. How do we account for the long tenure of some pastors and the short tenure of others? That is a question that can only be attributed to the sovereign hand of God in the affairs of men.
From time to time, men are faced with the decision of staying in a ministry or leaving for another call or opportunity. This is not an easy decision by any means. However, if it is handled in a Biblical and spiritual manner, God will receive the glory.
Recently it was announced that Phil Ryken will assume the presidency of Wheaton College. Ryken currently serves as the Senior Minister at the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA. I think that this is a good move for evangelical education and Ryken will do a fine job at Wheaton. What impressed me is Ryken’s comments to the congregation at Tenth on Sunday Morning during a congregational meeting. You can watch the video here
I think that every pastor, staff member, seminary student, and seminary professor should watch this video. A lot can be learned from this situation.
It is very evident to me that Phil Ryken loves the people of Tenth Presbyterian very much. He has served there since 1995. It is also evident that he wants to make sure that he and his family are in the will of God for their lives. This spoke great volumes to me as I am preparing to re-enter full-time vocational ministry after eight years of seminary studies.
Bottom line: Love the people that God has entrusted to you!
I welcome your comments and observations.