Tuesday, April 28, 2009

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS

Permit me, if you would, some personal reflections. I'm a bit reflective today [I'll say why in a moment] so, if you're not interested in rambling thoughts and reflections it might be wise for you to stop reading and move on to other blogs. [I probably would were I in your shoes.]

Sunday...Mary and I attended the fiftieth birthday celebration of a church where I served as their first youth pastor forty-nine years ago. Great fun. Great time. Old people. [But boy was it fun hugging necks of people I hadn't seen in decades.]

Monday...I drove to Amarillo Texas to be with an eighty-five year old VTM [Vital Truth Ministries ..my non-profit ministry organization] board member who was having life-threatening hip surgery complicated by his cancer. [It went well and He's praising the Lord afterwards just as he was before. He does that all the time.]

Tuesday...I'm reading on blogs of pastors who are having problems. Some of those problems are created by the people they have been called to pastor and some are created by the pastors themselves. [Both kinds of problems have been present in my own life and ministry.]

So...I'm a bit reflective.

My first reflective thought is of my own PURPOSE in surrendering to preach in the first place. [That's a good old SBC phrase that has little to do with scripture if the truth be known.] At age seventeen I was called as pastor of my first small church. [It was a couple of years later I went to the above mentioned church as youth pastor.] With the short two-year stint in youth work completed, I began pastoring again and it continued for over forty years.

The odd thing was I wanted to travel from the beginning. My purpose was to be in local fellowships preaching whatever I was discovering from scripture. I didn't know what it was called [An itinerant ministry] and I didn't know anyone who did that except Billy Graham. He was my personal friend of course. [Just kidding.] But I was willing to take a pastorate for a short while. [It lasted over forty years.]

In 1996 my pastoral ministry ended for good and I did start my traveling thing which I will do til Jesus comes. I can say I loved every minute of my pastoring and miss it like I would miss a migraine headache. Pastors are my ministry heroes to this very day.

My second reflective thought is concerning an on-going PASSION of mine. That is to assist people in ministry in their personal life with the Lord, marriages, parenting skills and all this so they can THEN be what God intends in pastoral ministry. Who they are in their walk, marriage and family is more important than what they do in a church in my opinion.

So training pastors started for real in 1982 in Tulsa where I was pastoring and my organization [VTM] was formed. Today, I continue that in conjuction with my local church bible conference ministry as my full-time ministry. The thing I surrendered to do fifty years ago. [I needed some major preparation didn't I!!]

So..today...in churches across the country I train small groups of ministers during bible conferences where I preach at night while meeting with ministers in the day. I teach the ministers on being the peson, partner, and parent God intends them to be so they can really be the pastor God has called them to be. At night I teach the church [I'm an evangelist to the evangelized] on how to end well in our walk with the Lord and how to build relationhips with each other by sharing principles of relationships. [I'm having a ball doing it.]

My final reflective thought is about the PEOPLE who have helped along the way. My board of directors is special. It is made up of ten couples with two coming from each of my last five pastorates. It started with the guys [The gals just visited with one another off in some room somewhere.] doing all the work of ministry with me. But with a much better understanding of the biblical materials it has now expanded to all twenty people forming the working board with equal voting rights. [It's amazing how much more we get done and done right.]

These people, with one exception because of death, have been with me since the beginning. [1982] The gentleman who had surgery yesterday was the first chairman of the board. Being with him and his wife has created a bit of this reflective mood in me today. [My oh my, people is what it's all about isn't it!!]

Let me introduce them to you....

Bill and Janie Willard--Borger Texas
Joe and Linda Janeway--Borger Texas

Bobby and Margie Brown--Wichita Falls Texas
Hershel and Pat Walker--Wichita Falls Texas

Bill and Mazie Pannell--Fort Worth Texas
Billie and Jere Hardy--Forth Worth Texas

Mark and Stephanie Farquhar--Tulsa Oklahoma
Tony and Melody Lenox--Tulsa Oklahoma [new]

Chuck and Stella Andrews--Norman Olahoma
Bob and Carolyn Waddle--Norman Oklahoma

This is what my ministry is about. I'm grateful for it. If you'll notice it has wound up Purpose, Passion, People. [That'll preach.] I've had a reflective moment and am even more grateful afterward. I decided to put up that reflection. [Blog material is hard to come by you know. :)]


Paul B.

17 comments:

Jerry Christopher said...

Bro. Paul,

Thank you for your personal reflections. Your thoughts caused me to be reflective regarding the impact your influence has had on my life and ministry.

As a Director of Missions, I still teach and communicate to ministers the implications I learned from you many years ago of what it means to develop your potential as a person, partner, parent, and pastor. I still have in my files and use from time to time the Men's Seminar materials you taught to us seminary students.

Thank you for having a heart for pastors!

I am serving as a Director of Missions today because I have a heart and passion for pastors. I contribute much of my calling and commitment to be "a pastor to pastors" to be the result of your influence and impact on me as a young minister.

It was during those years when I was in Southwestern Seminary and you were my pastor at Southcliff Baptist Church in Fort Worth that I laid some foundations from your example and inspirations. I am continually building on those foundations today.

I will be always be grateful for your ministry.

Jerry Christopher
Director of Missions
Fannin Baptist Association
Bonham, Texas

Paul Burleson said...

Jerry,

What a delight to hear from you. You're one of those always ready to hear and learn in order to be a better person and servant. Thanks for stopping by. Do it often.

Wayne Smith said...

Paul,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your Ministry for the Lord. You and Mary have been Blessed with your Children and Your work for the Lord. It is a small world to see that you also touched the Life of Jerry Christopher of whom we know from Bonham,TX.

Wayne

Wayne Smith said...

Jerry,

Great to see you have joined in on these Blogs. We are in San Diego, one of our stops on a 2 month motor trip to visit our 3 Sons and My 2 Sisters. Pray all is well in Bonham.
I know and join you in Prayer for the Churches in your organization. Say hello to Brother J.D. for us.

Love Wayne and Irene

Aussie John said...

Paul,

Thankyou for opening your reflections to those who read your blog. I can say that I was blessed!

You said,regarding the problems pastors have,"Some of those problems are created by the people they have been called to pastor and some are created by the pastors themselves. [Both kinds of problems have been present in my own life and ministry.]"

To that I have to say,"Me too!" to the whole paragraph.

I'm sure you would agree with me, also, that the problems in your own journey (including the self caused ones) cover the whole range of human weakness, "the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life".

I also, began preaching to youth at age seventeen,and expected to have an itinerant ministry. I know it sounds strange to some, I wanted to preach, but I had such a strong compulsion to preach that I knew I would have personal regrets if I did not.

My pastoral ministry ended in 2003 because of physical health problems, but was precipitated by two much earlier visits to a large Baptist Church in the USA, whose structure and operation, would have caused great success in the commercial world. This caused me much inner turmoil, and to question much of the philosophy of ministry I had learned.

I would love to find such openheartedness in this place.

Paul Burleson said...

Wayne,

It is a thing of six degrees of separation isn't it. [You probably know that's six people away from anyone.]

Jerry was one of "ours." We had a couple a hundred seminarians and their families each year in our fellowship at Southcliff. That church is STILL having a great impact under the pastoral leadership of Dr. Carroll Marr.

It IS a small world.



Aussie John,

I'm telling you, I may need to come to Australia just so we can sit and talk. There's something strange going on here. Both my parents are with the Lord or I'd ask them if my younger brother Jim and my sister Betty and I could possibly have another brother we don't know anything about. :)

Biological or not...you ARE my brother.

traveller said...

Paul,

It is interesting to me how most people spend so little time reflecting. Of course, some of it is because of the fast pace of life but I am not sure that is all of it. Reflection tends to take us places that are uncomfortable. I think we are often afraid of those places so we look for ways to avoid reflection. One of the reasons there is very limited transformation in our lives is because one way we cooperate with the Holy Spirit's work is to reflect. No reflection limited transformation.

It is also interesting to me that when we read or discuss the reflections of others the result, if we allow it, is to bring forth our own personal reflections. These are not always about ourselves but about larger issues as well.

So, that is the long way to say thanks for the reflections they brought forth some good reflecting in my own heart and mind.

Paul Burleson said...

Traveller,

I have had a "What meaneth these stones" moment fairly regularly across the years. It DOES keep things in pespective.

I think you are right on with this....."One of the reasons there is very limited transformation in our lives is because one way we cooperate with the Holy Spirit's work is to reflect."

Bobby & Margie Brown said...

It has been a pleasure sharing these years with you and Mary. I don't even want to know where our lives would be if we had not met. Margie and I are eternally grateful for the grace God has bestowed on us by enabling us to be friends through His providence.

Paul Burleson said...

B@M,

You guys are treasure to Mary and me. Treasure beyond measure.

Aussie John said...

Paul,

"you ARE my brother." Amen to that. Same Sovereign God! Same Family! Hmmn! Are you insinuating that I'm not THAT unique :) Another blow to my pride!

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie John,

Now that's funny. :)

Chuck Andrews said...

Paul

It was on one of your itinerate ministry trips that Estela and I met you for the first time. From the morning we had breakfast together at the Village Inn there has been a special connection. I can probably brag on being the first who served on staff with you and later became yours and Mary’s pastor. In both instances it was an absolute joy. Your counsel has been most significant, to say the least, in my life. Yours and Mary’s friendship is treasured by Estela and me. Hopefully, we can all get together soon.

Thanks for the reflection. It caused me to have some pleasant reflections of my own. And now days reflections of enjoyment and fun times are a welcomed reprieve to my normal daily mental state. Of course, it could be a lot worse if I hadn’t been taught and observed in practice, from you and Mary, the true grace of our sovereign Lord.

Chuck

Paul Burleson said...

Chuck,

Talk about reflections, you, Stella, Mary and I have a ton of such we could do together don't we.

Ministry where I was the Senior teaching Elder, health Of both of us with your's more significant at present, [Awaiting a heart transplant], working together as Elders in a fellowship with seven other couples, VTM ministry, ministry where YOU were the Senior teaching pastor and Mary and I were members, facing family issues and learning about Grace in it all, are all things I could reflect on with you. We've been together through a lot of good and tough stuff haven't we.

Is that not unbelievably cool!!

Bryan Riley said...

I like your reflections and I didn't realize that we had similar boards in that ours is composed of married couples as well.

Ken said...

Paul, as another of your "Men's Seminar" graduates, I am so thankful for your ministry in my life and Mary's ministry in my Wife, Rhonda's life. We continue to learn and grow, looking forward as we look back to your teaching, preaching and sharing in our lives. Thank you for being available to God as we moved through our Seminary years at Southcliff BC. We treasure them.
Ken and Rhonda Colson
Montana

Paul Burleson said...

Bryan,

I wised up to the need of the gals, who have much wisdom, having their say in things. It IS the best way, I believe, for any ministry board to function.

[Church too if the scriptural truth were known and practiced. :)]


Ken,

I've got a feeling one of these days the door is going to open wide for me to be in Montana with you guys in some kind of ministry. That will be a whale of a good tme for me.