Worship His Name – El Roi

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The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered. -Genesis 16:7-8

The name El Roi tells us that God sees everything. He never rests or sleeps. He is everywhere. There is nothing that can hide from His gaze.

In this story from Genesis, Hagar has fled from Abraham’s presence, discouraged and afraid of Sarah’s jealousy and anger toward her. Better to brave the wilderness than be mistreated by her master. But as she wanders aimlessly, she realizes she is lost. In exhaustion, she finally lays herself down to die along with her unborn baby. She has given up ever being found.

But God’s angel knows right where she is. He is sent by El Roi, the God Who Sees. God’s angel asks her where she came from and where she is going, not because he doesn’t know but so that she would be honest with her situation.

No matter how lost you feel, no matter how cut off and alone you feel, El Roi, the God Who Sees, knows exactly where you are. You are not lost and alone. You aren’t abandoned in whatever wilderness you are passing through at this moment.

Thank you, Father, that when I felt utterly lost and alone, you saw just where I was. You knew where I had been and you had wonderful plans for my future. Thank you, God Who Sees all.

 

Excerpt from “Revealing Jesus – a 365 day devotional” by Darlene Zschech

Can I Get an Aaron?

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Moses holding up his arms during the battle, assisted by Aaron and Hur. Painting by John Everett Millais. (Exodus 17:12)

 

One of the things I hear consistently about pastor burnout is overwork. Not just from the pastor, but from the entire pastor family. This is a big topic and I can’t cover it all in one day. I do want to give practical tips to help alleviate the unnecessary load whenever possible. Perhaps this will become “Tuesday Tips” as we progress.

Regardless of how large or small the congregation, a reliable volunteer force is a challenge to maintain. The 80/20 rule – 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people – holds strong across the board. This, however, is particularly evident in small congregations. There just aren’t enough people to serve when a church body of 75 has the same expectations as a church of 500. I do feel strongly that members need to be serving in some capacity as part of their membership – let’s not let consumerism rule in the sanctuary! However, from practical standpoint, you need help and you need it now.

My first suggestion in this area is INTERNS!  Do you have a:

1)    University

2)    Community college

3)    Technical college

4)    Bible school

5)    High school

6)    Homeschool co-op

7)    Community service organization

in your area? Chances are good that you do. Each of these organizations has some kind of internship/practicum/community service requirement in several areas. Listen close – THESE STUDENTS NEED A PLACE TO SERVE! It is a requirement carrying a grade and/or opportunity for recommendation. That makes them motivated volunteers.  Why not be their place of service? Better still, these are unpaid positions and will not stress your already strained budget!

This will require a little bit of effort on your part, but will reap great rewards.  Here’s the process:

1)    Contact the schools and find out what programs they have requiring internship/practicum/community service

2)    Consider how these programs could benefit your church – and be creative!

3)    Find out what the program requires of you as supervisor

4)    Let them know you are willing and ready to help out as a site supervisor

5)    Find out what time commitment is required of the student – 8-10 hrs/wk is pretty common, and surely you can find that much for them to do

6)    Work on a list of duties or projects within the scope of that internship that can satisfy that requirement. Make sure that you have creative opportunities to go with the daily (unglamorous) tasks.

7)    Interview students and let them know that in return for their service they will be mentored and may receive a professional recommendation based on their performance.

The motivation for these students is an opportunity for real-life experience in their field of interest. You want to encourage them in their dreams, but also prepare them for reality. This is where your mentoring will come into play. It doesn’t have to be heavy-handed or serious. Fellowship in the trenches is a natural and very effective way to pour into lives that may be woefully short of role models. If all you give them is a herculean filing project for their task, both of you will be shortchanged. A positive experience will ease your load, build their resume, and will certainly be reported to others.

You need help; they need a place to serve. Let’s make this happen!

If you have more questions about interning, I’ll be happy to answer them.

Worth the Scars

Guest posting for us is Brianna McGraw, speaking on pastoral stress from an inside perspective – a window on the world of a “P.K.”

 

 

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Worth The Scars

When I reflect on how being a pastor’s kid has affected my life, I see joys as well as sorrows. As a “P.K.”, I have seen and experienced many things in the church that if not for my personal intimate relationship with the Lord and the guidance of my parents, I may very well have walked away from church altogether. Having been a part of three different churches over the course of my life, I have seen the dynamics of the church from the worst to the greatest.

The hardest part for me being a “P.K.” is that unfortunately, I have seen many people, not only in the congregation but also on staff mistreat my parents. It is hard for me to watch all this happen and not have the ability to stop it. The saying in our home is, “Vengeance belongs to the Lord.” I am able to repay those people with kindness because of my parents’ reminder of this verse — but also because they are the ones who act out kindness first, knowing the Lord will do His part.

I know it is not the case for most “P.K.”s to have parents like mine. There seem to be few with parents who serve the Lord wholeheartedly no matter what. I am blessed with the parents the Lord has given me. Even if it’s hard at times, I still say I am blessed even more with parents who are pastors. The life of ministry is not an easy one, but it is a fulfilling one. Knowing you are doing the work of the Father is worth all the hard times. I would not have it any other way.

Brianna is currently studying Ministry & Leadership at Oral Roberts University, with plans to join “the family business” after she graduates.