Earlier this month, my friend Tom Elliff shared at the Baptist Building with our Missouri Baptist missionary staff and a few pastors from across our great state. According to several of our missionary staff, the one-day event was one of the most impactful Team Days of my tenure as executive director.
Always one to tell a great personal story to punctuate a principle, Dr. Elliff told about his preacher granddaddy having a carpenter’s workshop. As a young boy and early adolescent, he loved to hang around the workshop with his granddaddy, who was always quick to apply something in the context of the workshop with a biblical life principle.
On one of those occasions, Dr. Elliff tells that his granddaddy was working on an item of furniture when he needed a tool that was hanging on the wall behind young Tom. Tom didn’t know exactly what the tool was, but while he looked for it, his granddaddy improvised with a tool he had nearby.
Later, his granddaddy explained that the tool still hanging on the wall was uniquely designed for the task he was performing, but the effective tool (the one that accomplished the task) was the one that was close. Then Dr. Elliff explained that the Master Carpenter most often effectively uses the man or the woman who is close to His heart.
As I travel from the north to the south and east to west of our great state, I am blessed by the many godly pastors we have in our churches. Men who seek the heart of God and desire to obey the Lord in leading people to Christ and making disciples in their local context.
These faithful shepherds faithfully serve in partnership with others to reach the heartland, the nation and the world with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sharon and I are deeply humbled by these warriors of faith in churches of all sizes. The Lord has raised up these leaders for such a time as this.
October is Minister Appreciation Month. We celebrate each year the shepherds who serve our local churches in the rural areas, the urban areas, the villages, the burbs, the open country, the county seats or wherever the Master has called them to serve. The vast majority of our churches have buildings that are in Missouri, but some are across state lines. Each of the churches is led by one or more shepherds who are part of a cooperative movement to transform lives and communities with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I hope that your church has planned to use this occasion to bless your shepherds with an open hand of generosity. It is that time to pull out your creative thinking to be a blessing and an encouragement to those who have labored to make you successful in your walk with God. They help you be close to the Lord—to maximize your personal effectiveness in the ways of God.
Personally, I hope you will pause and pray for your pastor/shepherd. Once you finished praying, write him a short note of gratefulness and encouragement. You might also do something more tangible. You might do something collectively as a church or you might be compelled to express your appreciation personally. Whatever you do, don’t forget his family.
Helping North Carolina
By now, hundreds of Missouri Baptists are in North Carolina. We join with numerous state convention Disaster Relief teams to bring help, healing and hope to the thousands who were devastated by Hurricane Florence. By our helping, we show hurting people the love of Jesus and we trust that leads to many gospel conversations where people surrender their lives to Christ.
This will be a long-term situation that spans several months. If you want to volunteer, contact our Disaster Relief office to connect and know the best place to serve. If you want to give, remember that all overhead costs are covered by your church’s giving to the Cooperative Program, so every designated dollar you send to MBC Disaster Relief goes to help people.
To give to Disaster Relief, you can give through your church a designated gift or you can give directly by going to “www.mobaptist.org” and follow the instructions for on-line giving.