PRAYERLESS PASTORING IS EGO-TRIP

The Renewed Pastor (edited by Melvin Tinker, Mentor, 2011), a book of essays in honour of the pastoral ministry of the Revd Philip Hacking, is worth buying purely for the chapter on The Pastor at Prayer.

Written by the Revd Peter Lewis, Senior Pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Church, Nottingham, it is a timely reminder that the best quality expository preaching is nothing worth if delivered by a prayerless pastor. In the light of the fact that the Revd Hacking’s ‘long-stay’ parochial ministry in Fulwood, south-west Sheffield, was powered by faithful intercessory prayer for individuals, the Revd Lewis superbly explains the spiritual necessity of prayer for effective pastoring:

God’s work in people is not easily done: we are not puppets, we are moral agents. Prayer takes time to work because God takes time to work in all of us. He has to work against much ignorance and many prejudices; against fears, inconsistencies and follies. God’s work in people is a delicate, complex and very special one. It is remarkable that He offers to share that work with us and asks us to work with Him. This is a very great privilege. It involves much faith and prayer, much thoughtfulness and consistent living on our part.

Given the indispensability of intercessory prayer for Christ-honouring pastoral ministry, it is surely not unreasonable to conclude that a pastor who does not spend as much time interceding for individuals as he does in sermon preparation is wrongly motivated. He is, to quote the aphorism, in love with preaching; he is not loving people, neither the found nor the lost.

In short, he is going on an ego-trip.

This is a sobering warning for those of us schooled in rigorous expository preaching as an antidote to past evangelical pietism.

The Revd Lewis’s excellent chapter is rather spoiled by the appendix. He tells an anecdote about a prayerful missionary to whom God reportedly revealed his intention to use a specific individual to evangelise Nepal: –

this was a case of a given assurance, a prophetic revelation of God’s Spirit, and it was given to a man of prayer. God does not tell His secrets to those who only drop in for a chat.

The problem with such a view of prayer is that it can lead to competitive legalism. Up your intercessory prayer hours and you’ll get privileged inside information from on high denied to others. That can unfortunately be used an excuse for prayerlessness by modern pastors wanting to emphasise the dangers of past evangelical legalism.

Cranmer’s Curate is inspired and humbled by the example of Ephaphras whose pastoral prayer Paul commends in his letter to the Colossians:

He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured (Colossians 4v12 – NIV).

What a man! And, significantly in the context of Colossians, Paul says nothing about him being told secrets.

CENTRAL FLORIDA: Brevard County parish that left Episcopal diocese buys church land


Diocese of Central Florida no longer interested in leasing

By Scott Gunnerson
FLORIDA TODAY
http://www.floridatoday.com
A church congregation north of Cocoa completed its split with an Episcopal diocese in 2007 following a national feud in the Episcopal church over the Bible and sexuality.

The Glory of God Anglican Church bought the property the congregation has worshiped at since the 1960s from the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida for $875,000, according Beatrice Sorensen, church administrator.

The diocese had informed the church it was no longer interested in leasing the property at 3735 Indian River Drive, which was the site of Gloria Dei Episcopal Church before the amicable split.

In 2003, the Episcopal Church, a U.S. wing of the Anglican faith, became divided when the first openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, was consecrated.

Individual parishes left The Episcopal Church, and 115,000 people left the denomination between 2003 and 2005, at least one-third was attributed to parish conflicts over the consecration. Traditionalists said they believed gay partnerships violate Scripture.

The gay bishop issue was a symptom of a larger problem for the congregation of the former Gloria Dei Episcopal Church, but they wanted to remain Anglican because of their love of Scripture and desire to stay historical to the faith.

“We wanted to remain faithful Anglicans as we saw it,” said the Rev. Paul Young, a Convocation of Anglicans in North America priest. “We want to remain faithful to the Christian historical roots, and really that is anchored in Scripture for us.”

Glory of God wants to be relevant to today’s culture and stand on timeless, mainstream Christian faith, according to its website.

“The reason most of the parishes that did leave and remained Anglican under different branches would be the love of Scripture and staying historical to the faith,” said Young, who has led the congregation since 2005.

Jeff Marshall, who is an elder at Glory of God, was dismayed at how the denomination changed from what he was taught when he joined the Episcopal church.

“When I was received into the church, I didn’t realize the church was turning its back on the things it had been teaching for a really long time,” said Marshall, who was raised in a Southern Baptist church.

Glory of God’s average Sunday attendance has dropped to 80 people, compared with 130 before the split five years ago, but the congregation remains active.

“Our core membership is highly involved in the church,” said Sorensen, who joined the church with her family as a teenager in 1992. “The people that are here now really want to be here and are involved and participating.”

Marshall credits the enthusiasm to a rekindled missionary tradition in the congregation of Anglicans.

“It has caused us to recapture the missionary spirit that took Anglicanism all around the world initially,” Marshall said. “We in North America have somehow lost that missionary spirit.”

END

The Rt. Rev. Stanley Ntagali Elected 8th Archbishop of the Church of Uganda

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Archbishop Elect Stanley NtagaliOn 22nd June 2012, at a press conference held at the Archbishop’s Palace, Namirembe, the Rt. Rev. Nicodemus Okille, Dean of the Church of the Province of Uganda, announced that the Rt. Rev. Stanley Ntagali was elected the 8th Archbishop of the Church of Uganda. The election was held during a meeting of the House of Bishops on Friday, 22nd June, 2012, at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe.

The election was by secret ballot and was presided over by the Provincial Chancellor. Bishop Ntagali was elected with more than a two-thirds majority, per the Constitution of the Church of Uganda.

Bishop Ntagali was consecrated Bishop on 19th December 2004 and has served as the Bishop of Masindi-Kitara Diocese for eight years.

Born in Ndorwa County in Kabale District in 1955, he shifted with his family to Wambabya Parish in Kizirifumbi Sub-county in Hoima District when he was 16 years old. On Christmas Eve 1974, at the age of 19, he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour and was born again.

He began working as a teacher in Wambabya Primary School, and later spent two years as a missionary in Karamoja Diocese. He did his theological training at Bishop Tucker Theological College, St. Paul’s Theological College, Limuru, Kenya, and the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies in the UK.

After serving as a missionary in Karamoja Diocese, he served the remainder of his priestly ministry in various capacities in Bunyoro-Kitara Diocese until 2002, when he was appointed Provincial Secretary.

As a Bishop, Bishop Ntagali has represented the Archbishop in international meetings, served as the Chair of the Church House Board, and led the committee that designed guidelines for retiring Bishops.

Bishop Ntagali is married to Beatrice and they have five children.

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