Saturday, September 12, 2009


I'm concluding the John Murray article. The first part was two weeks ago that I entitled....PREACHING THE WORD and the second is PASTORAL CARE that I've entitled ON BEING A TRUE PASTOR.. As before all highlighted emphasis is mine. Enjoy.


"Now second, you have pastoral care. That is an all important aspect of a minister's responsibility and privilege.

"There are likewise three things that I want to mention in connection with that particular function, and the first is this: Shepherd the church of God. I personally cannot understand those men who have been called as pastors of churches who neglect the pastoral care of the people committed to their charge. I cannot understand it. And I'm not expected to understand it, because it is part of the mystery of that iniquity which too frequently has overtaken those who have been called into the ministry.

"You do not get your sermons from your people, but you get your sermons with your people. You get your sermons from the Word of God, but you must remember that the sermons which you deliver from the Word of God must be relevant. They must be practical in the particular situation in which you are. It is when you move among your people and become acquainted with their needs, become acquainted with the situation in which they are, become acquainted· with their thoughts, become acquainted with their philosophy, become acquainted with their temptations, that the Word of God which you bring forth from this inexhaustible treasure of wisdom and truth will be relevant and will not be abstract and unrelated.

"Second, in connection with this very same subject of pastoral care I charge you to be ready always to give an audience to your people. I mean an audience to them as individuals, or an audience to them as families. Be in such a relation to them that they will make you their confidant, and take good care that you will be their confidant. And as you will be their confidant, they will pour out to you the bitter experiences of their heart, the bitter experiences of their souls, of their lives. I charge you, my very dear friend, to be the instrument of dispensing, I say the instrument of dispensing the 'oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness' to those who are broken in heart and weary in the body.

"Now there is more, of course, involved in that ministration of comfort to the people of God in the temptations and the trials which necessarily overtake them in this life. You must also bring the counsel of God, the whole counsel of God, to bear upon them where they are. And it is just as you bring that whole counsel of God to bear upon them in your pastoral visitation, that you bring it to bear upon them precisely where they are. Remember that there are many who, in accordance with the address which you have heard already tonight, are going astray or are on the verge of going astray, or perhaps have always been astray. And remember the inestimable privilege that is yours, to convert the sinner from the error of his ways, to save a soul from death, and to hide a multitude of sins. 'Reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine.'

"Now thirdly and finally, I charge you to remember that you are the servant of Christ in this pastoral care which you will exercise. Oh, be friendly to your people, and be humble. Be clothed with humility for 'God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble.' Be clothed with humility in the pastoral visitations and the pastoral duties that you discharge because, if you are not humble, you will not only be offensive to God, but you will soon become offensive to all discerning people. Be friendly, be humble, realize your own limitations and be always ready to receive from those who are taught in the Word as they communicate unto you who teach.

"But remember that you are the servant of Christ and do not seek to please men, for if you should seek to please men, you are not the servant of Christ. And again, I repeat in that very same connection: Don't be afraid to reprove, don't be afraid to rebuke, just as you may not be afraid to exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.

"I give you these charges, in the humble expectation and the hope that you will become an example, that you will be an undershepherd, realizing at all times, that you will one day give an account to the great Arch-shepherd who himself gave, as the Shepherd of his sheep, His life, 'that they might have life and have it more abundantly.'

"And I charge you, in constant dependence upon the Holy Spirit to be the minister, the administrator in Christ's name, of that life which is nothing other than life everlasting." JOHN MURRAY

Paul B.


Bob Cleveland said...

Paul, this is such simple yet strong stuff. Thanks for putting it up.

I wonder if this puts some sort of cap on church size .. the number of folks the pastor can personally shepherd .. or whether it establishes the absolute need for a pastor to develop, among is flock, a cadre of people who can help carry the load.

I think either option works, as long as one of them is chosen, and action taken to accomplish it.

Aussie John said...


As you have already guessed from my comment to the first part, I had read those words, and knew what was coming.

They are words which need to be compulsory reading for any who want to become a "professional" pastor as many do. They would probably change their mind.

This post brings tears to my eyes as I remember,the joy of such visits and seeing the fruit in the months afterwards.

I believed from the outset of my ministry that it was my responsibility to know, as far as humanly possible, where every member of the congregation was spiritually, and respond to them appropriately.

Personal visitation is the only way that can happen.

Without personal knowledge of the congregation, through visitation, much preaching becomes nothing more than an oratorical exercise, no matter how sincere one is.

Sharing spiritual truths in the home, face to face, as a friend and equal, not as a superior,saw a man who had been a deacon for 26 years, who was an encyclopedia of Biblical knowledge, a day later, come to my office as a broken man, but a new man in Christ, a fact which was greatly evidenced in the months following.

Bob. It is my firm opinion that if a church is too big for one man to personally, and regularly visit every member, it's time to split and plant a new congregation.

Personally, I would be expectinging EVERY member to be living out the "one anothers", and helping to "carry the load" as you say.

Paul Burleson said...

Bob, Aussie John,

You guys have "carried the load" as to comments. Sorry I've been away. I've spent the last several days cleaning sheds and backyard office but have just accomplished a fifteen year late job. Yuk!!

I've also just received word of the death of one of my board members [Vital Truth Ministries] who was my friend and the chairman of the pulpit committee that called us to the First Baptist Church of Borger Texas in 1972. Bill Willard is his name. He also served on my board from it's creation in 1982 until the present.

When I talked to him a couple of days ago [I was planning to travel to Texas today to see him for the last time.] he said the doctors had given him ten days to live and I asked how he felt about it and his answer was, and I quote, "I'm excited."

His memorial celebration service will be September 17th in borger and I will be there to lead it and preach the message. I will be away from the blog for the next several days.

Aussie John said...


I'm sorry to read about Bill's death, but what a privilege to lead a celebration of the life of a saint who has such faith and assurance. It causes me much joy just thinking about it.

I trust the day will be one of great blessing to yourself and those gathered

Anonymous said...


Do you think my outrage of the day is anticivility.


Paul Burleson said...


There is a big difference in "incivility" and your kind of "outrage." The former is aways angry, attacking, and demeaning of people. The latter is passion and conviction but with ideas, peoples actions and differing opinions. It can even have anger in it but it will never be demeaning of people or shameful in it's performance.

I've seen none of the former in you but share the latter with you often. Let's both always do that. Keep up the good work.

[All that said, I think "outrage" COULD become something more and slide into something harmful such as vigilantism if not checked. Our's won't. :)]