A Heart for Pastors
“The greatest event in history is the coming of Jesus Christ into the world to live and die for mankind. The next greatest event was the going forth of the church to embody the life of Christ and to spread the knowledge of His salvation throughout the earth.”
At an early age, I had a love for pastors. I loved going to our pastor’s house after church on Sunday and playing with his son, Danny. Every Sunday afternoon as a teenager, Danny and I were together. We ate meals together, played outside together and yes, even got in trouble together. In short, I grew up seeing that pastors (and their families) are people too.
That was 40 years ago. Since then, the Lord has placed a calling on my life to serve pastors and their families. Beginning at the local church level. I would enjoy monthly breakfasts with our senior pastor, helping to encourage and implement what God had laid on his heart for the church. This intimate association continued for over 20 years, with several different pastors in multiple states. God seemed to continually place me in this unique position of encouragement within the local church each time we moved.
Shortly after I met Daniel Henderson in 2008, I began serving on the board of Strategic Renewal International. Daniel and I have spoken often about the need for pastors to have leaders support them in their leadership of the church. The 6:4 Fellowship is a part of Strategic Renewal that is calling pastors to focus on prayer and the ministry of the word, as written in the book of Acts, chapter 6, verse 4.
But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word. (Acts 6:4 NASB)
Interestingly, the verse immediately preceding that verse, describes a process of selecting helpers to administer other programs of the church.
Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. (Acts 6:3 NASB)
As Daniel writes in his book, Old Paths, New Power, “This two-fold focus by the leaders preserved and promoted an environment of spiritual health and expectation. The result was a revival.”
As we often say at SRI, regular math is 3 + 4 = 7. Supernatural math is Acts 6:3 + Acts 6:4 = Acts 6:7. Because of the support of the leadership described in Acts 6:3, the Apostles were able to focus on prayer and the ministry of the Word. And the result?
The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7)
As Christians, we are all called to minister. As an industry professional in Logistics and Distribution for over 30 years, I was fortunate to see God use my position for His purpose in many ways. There were many opportunities for me to share my faith while in industry. However, God began tugging at me recently for a new purpose in ministry.
As a part of my role in industry I traveled extensively. In August of 2018, while on a trip in Asia, I sensed that God was preparing me for a full-time ministry opportunity. After reading Day 17 of 21 Days to Breakthrough Prayer by Jim Maxim, I wrote down what I have affectionately called my BHAPS’s (Big Holy Audacious Prayers). Of the seven BHAP’s I wrote down that day, five have since been answered. One included answering a call to vocational ministry the Lord placed on my heart while on that trip.
Within a few weeks of my return, I was given an opportunity to join Strategic Renewal as the Chief Operating Officer. Having served on the SRI board for 10 years, the Lord was allowing me to shift my vocational focus and begin serving His Kingdom purposes through this incredible ministry. I believe the Lord has placed me in ministry for such a time as this to call leaders in the church to come alongside their pastor and encourage them to put the priorities of prayer and the ministry of the word at the top of their list. In order to do this, pastors need our help and support to continue leading the church to embody the life of Christ and to spread the knowledge of His salvation throughout the earth. They can more effectively do that with more Acts 6:3 leaders helping them.
Everyone has their own unique story of how God is using them for Kingdom purposes. I would encourage you to: 1) pray for your pastor 2) protect your pastor and 3) personally contact them (email, text, face to face) to let them know you are praying for them and the ministry God has given them. Also, become an active servant in your church. God has given you unique gifts that you can use to glorify Him. Come alongside and help serve as an Acts 6:3 leader so your pastor can be the 6:4 pastor leading to Acts 6:7 – “… the word of God kept spreading and the number of disciples increased greatly!”
Tony Brown serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Strategic Renewal. As a Christ follower and former global supply chain executive for Under Armour, J.Crew, and Gap, Tony understands the struggles Christian business professionals face – how to live out their faith on the job, how to balance family and work while actively serving in the local church ministry. He has been a coach and mentor to numerous individuals as well as a presenter at conferences on topics ranging from marriage enrichment to implementing new systems in the workplace. He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Brenda, for over 37 years. They reside in Atlanta close to their children and grandchildren.