If God would but reform the ministry, and set them on their duties zealously and faithfully, the people would certainly be reformed.
Evangelicalism is experiencing a crisis of character in vocational ministry. For example… Well, you’re probably aware of many examples out there in the wider culture, but if you are living out the Gospel in main street America, you know you don’t have to look beyond your own town or neighborhood to find examples of greed, dishonesty, abuse or tussles for power. And, nepotism is often deeply rooted in smaller churches.
Richard Baxter faced these challenges of a rural parish minister, but he also found his way into the power centers of his day, ultimately serving as a chaplain to the king of England. His life offers plenty of examples of how to and, how not to, minister to God’s people, through both the temptations of the ministry, as well as the successes, failures and challenges that come with the work. I’m offering my book, Good Mr. Baxter: Sketches of Effective, Caring Leadership for the Church from the life of Richard Baxter, here on my site. I hope it will serve you well.
I’ll be addressing church leaders and, in a later series of posts, I’ll have something to say about followers, as well. In the words of Jim Wilson:
Many of us wish we had an apostle Paul to travel with, not realizing how much the leader also needs the close follower.
When the followers of a leader are headstrong and self-centered, the results are often disastrous and Marshall Shelley has some Scriptural and practical advice for leaders in Well-Intentioned Dragons: Ministering to Problem People in the Church.