Dangerous Calling is soaked with confessions. Paul Tripp’s confessions, and so many tragedies from the ministry field. Inspired title, Dangerous. Paul knows the problem. If you are preparing for ministry or you are involved in ministry, you can certainly understand that he was and he still is in your shoes. He’s sharing humbling and embarrassing things that most of us tend to hide.
I know I am not alone. There are many pastors who have inserted themselves into a spiritual category that doesn’t exist. Like me, they think they are someone they’re not. So they respond in ways that they shouldn’t, and they develop habits that are spiritually dangerous. They are content with a devotional life that either doesn’t exist or is constantly kidnapped by preparation
He examines his heart and motivations in ministry and invites you to walk in his steps, constantly asking himself, how is the Gospel of Jesus Christ forming the heart of the pastor and his ministry local culture. Undoubtedly, if you do not understand the ministry as it was designed by God, you are in a dangerous place. If the work of God and not God Himself is the main motivation, you are in a dangerous place.
The pastor must be enthralled by, in awe of—can I say it: in love with—his Redeemer so that everything he thinks, desires, chooses, decides, says, and does is propelled by love for Christ and the security of rest in the love of Christ. He must be regularly exposed, humbled, assured, and given rest by the grace of his Redeemer. His heart needs to be tenderized day after day by his communion with Christ so that he becomes a tender, loving, patient, forgiving, encouraging, and giving servant leader. His meditation on Christ—his presence, his promises, and his provisions—must not be overwhelmed by his meditation on how to make his ministry work.
You can feel the love for those who are involved in God’s work and also his pain for the unhealthy pastoral culture that anyone can identify today. The only remedy is Christ.
You see, it is only love for Christ that can defend the heart of the pastor against all the other loves that have the potential to kidnap his ministry. It is only worship of Christ that has the power to protect him from all the seductive idols of ministry that will whisper in his ear. It is only the Continue reading
Pastor, to these beaten-down ones you have been called as an ambassador of glory. You have been called to rescue those who are awe discouraged and awe confused. You are called to represent the One who is glory, to people who, by means of suffering and disappointment, have become glory cynics. You have been called to be God’s voice to woo them back. You are placed in their lives as a divine means of rescue, healing, and restoration. You have been called to speak into the confusion with gospel clarity and authority. You have been called to give glory-bound hope to those who have become hopeless. You are called to speak liberating truths to those who have become deceived. You have been called to plead with disloyal children to once again be reconciled to their heavenly Father. You have been called to give glorious motivation to those who have given up. You have been called to shine the light of the glory of God into hearts that have been made dark by looking for life in all the wrong places. You have been called to offer the filling glories of grace to those who are empty and malnourished. You have been called to represent a glorious King, who alone is able to rescue, heal, redeem, transform, forgive, deliver, and satisfy. You have been called.
Paul David Tripp, Dangerous Calling, Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry, 2012, p.151, 152
I have talked with many pastors whose real struggle isn’t first with the hardship of ministry, the lack of appreciation and involvement of people, or difficulties with fellow leaders. No, the real struggle they are having, one that is very hard for a pastor to admit, is with God. What has caused ministry to become hard and burdensome is disappointment with and anger at God. It’s hard to represent someone you have come to doubt. It’s hard to encourage others to functionally trust someone you’re not sure you trust. It is nearly impossible in ministry to give away what you yourself do not have.
Paul David Tripp, Dangerous Calling, Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry, 2012, p. 80.
There are many pastors that are showing something in public and a totally different stuff in their private life. Some call this a double life. Spiritual schizophrenia.
I was very surprised, taking a break from my reading of Paul Tripp’s, Dangerous Calling, to see an article on Gospel Coalition by Ronnie Martin, written nearly on the same topic. He is speaking about a fellow pastor that “lost his way”, to use Tripp’s words. He describes the following scenario:
It was nothing “scandalous” at all, really. It was that he lied.
When asked how he was doing, he always replied, “Great!” When asked what he needed prayer for, he always offered some generic request.
He kept things guarded, impersonal, and close to the vest, even when others around him shared the depths of their heart. I don’t think I ever heard him apologize to anyone for anything, ever.
Yet he smiled a lot. He laughed heartily and kept things as “positive” as possible. But I saw how the people closest to him were positively crushed by his lack of vulnerability. I was one of them
The unbelievable aspect in this story is that Ronnie himself soon realized that is very tempted to lie also about his condition. Mentoring a young man, he was challanged to be honest.
I repented to him, praying that God would destroy the pride that kept me from sharing my heart to others. Pride is always the root problem. I wanted people to see me as someone who didn’t need the gospel as bad as I was telling them they needed it.
Praise God that the Holy Spirit faithfully reveals what our hearts conceal. Praise God that those no one hidden in Christ needs to hide anything any longer.
Now, this has a happy ending and it’s quite a gentle story compared with the painful and scary things you’ll find in Tripp’s book. It’s quite an embarrassing, humbling book and you may feel tempted to say that it’s speaking to a small number of ministers, but from his experience(and mine) that’s not true. Continue reading