Embracing Brokenness

The Marks of a Thriving Pastor: Embracing our Brokenness
by Wade Brown 

We believe you want to thrive as a pastor, and our desire is to help you do so. In fact, we believe so strongly in this that we’re changing our name from Pastoral Ministries to Thriving Pastor! In the months ahead, you’ll see this name appearing more and more. Did you notice the new name of this publication?

In the coming weeks, we’re going to discuss some characteristics that, in our assessment, define what a thriving pastor looks like. Our starting point is brokenness.

Over 150 years ago, Pastor J.C. Philpot wrote: “There is much presumption, pride, hypocrisy, deceit, delusion, formality, superstition and self-righteousness to be purged out of the heart of God’s child …” Philpot was kind. That’s the beginning of the purging our hearts so desperately need. We are broken people.

What does that mean for us on a daily basis? Does it mean strolling through life with our heads hung low? Do we carry ourselves in such a way that others will notice our self-deprecating humility? I don’t think so. “True brokenness,” says Nancy Leigh DeMoss, “is a lifestyle—a moment-by-moment lifestyle of agreeing with God about the true condition of my heart and life—not as everyone thinks it is but as he knows it is.” I like that. Thriving pastors are authentic, and they seek to steward the pain and difficulties of their lives in an effort to glorify the Father and grow from these experiences.

I don’t know about you, but I can tell within a brief period of time when I’m around someone who’s broken. They have a story of ongoing redemption to tell even if they haven’t spoken a word about it. They have a presence that communicates a sense of desperation before the Father. Further, apart from his intervening work in their lives throughout the day, they know they’re nothing.

Praise God that he has redeemed us through the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 3:23-25, Ephesians 1:7-8, Colossians 1:13-14)! Let’s not forget though that we’re not home yet. “Redeemed humanity,” writes James Sire, “is humanity on the way to restoration of the defaced image of God, in other words, substantial healing in every area—personality, self-transcendence, intelligence, morality, social capacity, and creativity. Glorifiedhumanity is humanity totally healed and at peace with God, and individuals at peace with others and themselves” (The Universe Next Door, 2009, p. 41).

May your life be marked by brokenness. God likes this!

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). 

Enjoy the journey! 

Wade Brown
Director, Church and Community Care
Focus on the Family



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