Stew on This: Fueling Pastor Growth (Trust & Community)
Written By: Glenn C. Stewart
All Christians (pastors or anyone else) benefit from practicing trust. It is easy to forget how many aspects of your life involve trust, below are just a few.
Pastor Growth: Trust Area Examples
- Trusting God
- Trusting others when delegating
- Trusting family for support
- Trusting a pastoral community or mentor
For this post, the focus is on having and trusting a community.
Pastor Growth: Daniel’s Examples of Trust & Community
Daniel’s story was a great example of spiritual community. When the curtain lifted on the drama of Daniel’s life, he was a teenager being carried away captive to the foreign power of Babylon which was under the rule of the violent King Nebuchadnezzar. This Babylonian King wanted to teach Daniel’s homeland of Judah a lesson. So, he invaded Jerusalem and destroyed the city. It was the king’s custom to bring the brightest young men from the countries he conquered to Babylon. His purpose was to indoctrinate them in the ways and customs of the Babylonians. That’s what he did when he overran Jerusalem.
The young men taken from Judah included Daniel and three of His friends: Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (better known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego).
Daniel surrounded himself with godly friends whose support made it much easier to stay true to his convictions and face adversity. His three closest friends were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In Daniel chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar had a very troubling dream. This despotic king wanted his wise men to tell him not only the meaning of the dream but what he had dreamt. When the wise men balked at this impossible assignment, he became so furious he ordered their execution. When Daniel learned of the order he asked for additional time to interpret the dream. Here’s what he did…
“Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon,” (Daniel 2:17-18, ESV).
That night God revealed the dream to Daniel and he then gave a full report to the king of his dream and its meaning. And isn’t it motivational later in Daniel chapter 3 when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego trusted in God and stuck together, then He brought them alive through the fire?
The application is simple. You need to surround yourself with people who share your commitment of biblical convictions and who are at least equally determined to live them out in practical ways. You need to find friends who pull you up to higher ethical levels, not ones who drag you down. They need to be people you can trust.
And it is just as important for pastors as anyone else (if not more important). While there is a very special bond between a pastor and congregation, pastors need additional community. Daniel had a community of friends facing similar circumstances and walking God’s path through it. Pastors need other pastors or pastoral mentors who are not part of their congregation and can fully be confided in about pastoral circumstances. If you already have pastoral community, it is worth the commitment to stick with it. If you don’t have that community, be encouraged because there are organizations to help get you connected.