Pastor Dan Wolgast
Nov 12, 2023
But there's a strange phenomenon in the church in general. And that is the ministry, what I call pastor shuffling. Men who went out, they're welcome at one church and move on. Or men who get tired of the church they're at. Or churches enticing men away from the churches they're serving. Or men who didn't measure up to the church's unrealistic expectations and were shown the door, as well as more. And that article I read recently throws some light on this. It stated that more than 1, 700 pastors leave the ministry every month. And then the article gave 10 reasons why. 50 percent discouragement. 50 percent were discouraged in the church they were at. This is often because of unrealistic expectations. The church isn't moving fast enough to suit me, but other reasons as well, 70 percent failure because of failure. They leave the church and do that, have a lower self image. Folks, I need to tell you right here and now that a man or woman free in the Lord Jesus Christ never has a poor self image.
When they know that, when they believe that, it doesn't matter what other people do or say to them or about them, their self image isn't going to say, isn't going to change. I am a child of God. Nothing can change that image. 70% from loneliness. You know, it's taught and encourages the courage that pastors aren't supposed to make friends in the church.
There's dumb things, but that's a really dumb one.
33 percent moral failure. Moral failure, sometimes from weakness, sometimes because they're targets. This is what we teach our, especially our young, that, uh, when you're in leadership, you can be a real target. To, by the devil, through whatever to, get you into moral failure. Seventy percent is financial. Men, grossly unpaid. And often again from unrealistic expectations. Anger. They really get angry at the way things are going, whatever. 4, 000 churches begin each year. That's interesting, isn't it? And I think this is worldwide, but 7, 000 close their doors. 4, 000 opened and 7, 000 closed their doors. And we see more and more of that, uh, today in churches closing. And unfortunately, we do as well. 90 percent is the workload, 55 to 75 hours a week. 75 percent stress related crises. Plenty of those to go around. 80%, and this is a real heartache, marriage and family problems, often caused by preoccupation with the church. How many families, wives, and children, we don't know who our husband or father is because he's always in church business and with church people. 90 percent of pastors feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands. Think about that. 90 percent don't feel like they're adequately trained, and most of these people have at least four years of college and some seminary. Some of them have masters, some of them have doctorates, and they don't feel adequately trained.
Some men experience most of all, all of these and it should run up a red flag that something isn't right. All these things lead up to pastor shuffling and being Marians we need to look to scripture. Without preconceived ideas as to how it's properly done. How is the church to be led? We don't look at it, that's the way the church has always done it. All right. And as grace people, we are very firm and that's what people have always believed. Well, what does the scripture say? And we know all of us have run into that lots of times. So with that, to find out about this pastor shoveling, let's definitely let's turn to Hezekiah 13:3. This is my favorite passage to turn to when we're looking to justify what isn't in the Bible. The book of Hezekiah isn't in the Bible and neither is pastor Shuffling. There have been six to eight churches that folded and gave brain Bible institutes to priests proceeds from selling their property. That is not the way BBI wants to say solve it. And it should tell us something is not right in the way churches are led. One leader of a church told us, in all our existence, Grace Bible Church has never sent us a pastor. And could be the same thing that's said of being, bringing Bible Institute, so I'm not picking on the college. This leads to the question... How many men did you send to the college? Or how many men did you raise up to send to BVI for training? I would imagine, and I know that some wonder why Falls Bible Church has four pastors and many in churches including Oshkosh don't have any.
Well, for one thing, that's not exactly true. Part of the reason that I, is that I believe Falls is a biblical church and calls men biblically qualified elders or pastors. By the way, Mr. Getsky, you couldn't have gave me a better introduction this morning than what you talked about up here in your elders board. Oshkosh and other churches, like West Bend for example, are biblical churches and they have pastors. They're just not recognized as such. The Bible refers to them as elders. So let's look at an actual book and passage and see what the Apostle Paul calls leaders in the church. Let's turn to Acts 20, because they're all here. Acts chapter 20 and first of all, verse 17. From my litus, he sent to Ephesus. The Apostle Paul called for the elders of the church. All right? He called for the elders of the church. And then in verse 20, same in, in, in verses 27, 28, for I've not shunned to declare you, the whole council of God, therefore take heeded to yourselves, into all the flock among which the Holy Spirit.
Has made you overseers to shepherd the Church of God, which he purchased with his own blood here in the one chapter in the one context, we see in one setting leaders of a church referred to as elders, overseers and shepherds. He didn't separate them. It's all one group of men. This is important for us to renew our minds as to the leadership.
of the church. This leads us to our passage this morning in Titus, where we spend a lot of time in Chapter one. And we just read 5 to 9. For this reason, I left you in Crete that you should set in order the things that are lacking and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you. If a man is blameless, it hit husband of one wife. Having faithful children, not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God. Not self willed, not quick tempered, not given to wine. Not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable. A lover of what is good, sober minded, just, holy, self controlled. Holding fast to faithful word, as he had been taught.
That he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. So Tymoson left in Creek. Titus was left in Crete to sit in order the things that were lacking. I believe order in the church as well as appointing godly men to lead them. Men not perfect, but characterized by the virtues in this passage. So first of all, let's look at what leaders aren't. For this reason, I left you in Crete that you should set in order the things that are lacking and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you. Leaders aren't strangers. Leaders aren't strangers.
Paul did not send pastors to create, to create, he sent Titus to appoint leaders. They were already in the family, they were already there. They were taught in the word, and Titus was to discern who among them met the qualifications listed in this passage. He was then to appoint them. And, and another point here, leaders choose leaders. That's a very important, the church is not a democracy. It's led by godly leaders and leaders choose leaders. Now, you can get the flock to vote on whether the leaders are picking the right men or not, but they're leaders. Though this man is biblically qualified. We've looked at this and we looked at him and we know him and therefore we think that he should be part of the leadership in this church.
They were men from their own fellowship. Leaders are not mini kings or priests or saviors. That should be a given, but that's often what a church is looking for. They aren't to be tyrants, demanding of their children. We're all given the word for us to follow. Every man is called to provide for his family.
And the first church I went to, was called to, they had 12 adults and two teenagers. And that would have been awful dumb to me, and self centered to say you should, you're supposed to provide for my, family. No, God says I am, and that's what I told them. And I'm going to provide for my family regardless of what the church can do.And that's my responsibility. And people are to give according to their means. That's each individual. Each one of you are called on to go to the Lord. And what do I give towards the ministry of my church? That's your responsibility. It's not my or the leader's responsibility to fleece the flock to keep telling you you should give more or whatever. That's yours. And we have one person, at least in our church, that when the money isn't there for our pastors, we just don't take a check that month. We have people get mad at us for that. You go figure that one out. But we're to provide and, the church gives as God leads each individuals.
Leaders aren't surrogate fathers. Most people are looking for a dad, often looking to the pastor to be their dad. I believe this is why Catholic churches are so popular, because they have a dad that they can always look to and blame on and whatever. Bible churches want leaders they can worship, be their dads, do the work of the ministry, praise him for what he does right, condemn him for what they perceive does wrong, blame him for the problems in the church, and shuffle him along when they're tired of him, send us a new victim. We see that over and over. There's a couple in our first church, they met and got married, they were in the middle section of a hospital and they were turned around. They got saved under our ministry and they're turned around and very immature. And finally, after quite a while, they left the church. And as I went over and seen him, talk to them, they said you were supposed to be our dad and you didn't measure up to that. And in a sense, As there are obviously fathers in the faith, but it's to lead to Jesus Christ, not to take that position permanently. And it was sad, they, and we did things. They, their kids asked us to go to school with them and we did on Grand Dad's Day and everything. But obviously we couldn't take over as. I have sons in the faith only because I directed them to the father and there are men almost my age, they call me look to me as a father in the faith, but only because I'd led them to Jesus Christ in a way that they were set free in him. They are dependent upon him alone, not me.
Here's a big disappointing for you. I know leaders are not necessarily dynamic preachers. Some are gifted at preaching and some are not. There's a reason for this, I'm not going to go into it today, but Preaching is what generally scares most men from leadership that they've been called to. I gotta get up and preach before I was set free in the Lord. My pastor asked me to, take a homiletics course, which is a preaching course. And I thought at the time, you know, I was going, I thought, well, this would be good to learn how to preach. I'll just go along with this. Second time there, I realized that he was going to ask me to preach. There was a couple other men in the class.
I never went back and I could have come up with more than 100 excuses never to come back. Because you weren't going to get me up front and make a fool out of myself. I was saved, but I wasn't free and there was no way. It was later when the Lord freed me that then I had to get up and tell people what Jesus Christ had done for me. It didn't matter if there were 40 men or 40, 000, 40 people. I needed to tell others about Jesus Christ and what he'll do in your life if you believe him. I was never much of a communicator, but had to talk about my father. I once got a backhanded compliment, Dan's more of a teacher than a preacher. Does pastor teacher come to mind there? There was one lady in our church, our first church, every Sunday, my wife and I would stand at the back and greet people as they left, and every Sunday, Dan, why'd you quit?
Why'd you quit? And at the same time, she offered to pay my way down to Georgia to get into Charles Stanley's preaching class. She loved what she heard, but she knew I could use a little help in the area of proclaiming the word. A good heart. She meant well. I told her she'd send me to Texas to Tony Evans preaching school, I'd go.
I could preach like Charles Stanly. I'll listen, I'll, I'll listen. I'll listen up. Ha ha ha!
Now today we have the blessing and the curse at times of electronics. And when a church doesn't have a preacher or man in the church that's comfortable with standing up here proclaiming the truth, you have the opportunity to go live stream with another church where they do have preaching and you get good messages.
And it's a substitute, but I think it's a good one. West Bend has some excellent preachers. By the way, there are a lot of people that laugh when West Bend says We need a Pastor . There's six or eight men in the church, more mature than the last pastor they had, and there's several as, pastor Sadler and Dr. Nix. No one preaches better than either one of them. And so we had that opportunity. You know, it takes humility, but you spend time as a family and you can, and you can, um. Tune into one of these, and it can be, you know, even if your time isn't the same, you can, uh, preach it later. We have wonderful pastors in our church as well, and we live stream.
And so, we have that, and we need to think about these things. Because God in time will raise up the men. You have shepherds in this church. I've known them for a long time. You're the elders. And, so it's a matter of time, but most of the time, preaching is just like this, you know, what's the emphasis, what's brought out, and the first church I went to, they were such a gracious flock, probably out of desperation, that though I wasn't a very good communicator, I communicated the truth of Jesus Christ.
And they love what they heard. Our church grew from 12 people to over 100 in the first six years I was there. So, very important is what is the content of the message, not is how eloquent is the speaker. The power in preaching is in the truth, our Lord Jesus Christ, that sets one free. So let's look at what church leaders are again.
Generally homegrown in Paul's idea. They came from the fellowship there to be blameless men of godly character. The flock knows a man's testimony. 1st Timothy 3:7. Moreover, he must have a good testimony among those who are outside less he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. He's to have a good. Testimony both in and out, and the flock knows the men that they're raising up, and that they're there. And, this story I'm going to tell, part of it is, I have to put to rumor because I didn't get it from the horse's mouth, but part of it's true because I, that I, I know that it's true because it happened.
There were two men at the college years and years ago. And, the whoever the leaders of the college, they had these two men before him, and they told one man and say, you're not qualified. You don't think we don't think your passion material and the other man. They put their laid their hand on said you are. This man came to the church that I had served at before I was there. And his testimony was that of, that the church actually had to call the police to have him physically removed from the property. Later, and a good friend of ours told us this, her husband was unsaved and this man now is an insurance salesman rather than leader in the church.
And told her husband, you know what's the matter with that church there? Now, talking to an unsaved man, they don't want her baptized. Now, this is a man graduating from a great school. The other went on and is still faithfully teaching and serving the Lord after, I don't know how many years, but a lot. See, what's, what's the testimony of a man?
What's he made of? He used to be a family man. He needs to see the flock as part of his family. You know, again, we haven't been here for 20 years in this flock and to see so many familiar faces that have been faithful and been here and still are. And, but God uses terms that we can understand. Father, son, children, family.
You know, and that's what we've become. A family, so he needs to see the flock as part of his family, just as the rest of the church sees itself as a family. He has brethren serving with him, not under him with him. You know, in our church, I've been phasing out of the senior position and Andy Kern has been phasing into it.
And when I finally come to the place, okay, I'm stepping out of the senior position. You know what they did? They took the senior and associate out of the bulletin. They didn't want to use it because they didn't want it to look like I was stepping down or diminishing or whatever. What a precious thing that was to me.
The Apostle Paul refers to Titus 4 as a true son in the face serving with him. He used to be a husband of one wife, learning to love his wife as Christ of the church. And not necessarily married, as there should also be godly married men in the ministry with single elders. I have several friends, several men in the, in the pastorate that they're not married.
I have one actually as a student right now, and he says, I just don't feel like I've been called to be married. And right away he started to apologize, or not really apologize, but go into whatever, you know. I said, stop right there. I said, some men are called to singleness. That's biblical, and we need to recognize that.
And, Very important, but family oriented in that this is my family having faithful children, not accused of dissipation, which is basically spending freely on his own lusts. Appetites. The prodigal son was, an example of that or in subordination being unruly. He is trained and encourages families to be trained in godly parenting.
He believes scriptures. Children are a blessing from the Lord, not a curse, a blessing. Falls has a lot of kids. We have a couple of families, two or three families with seven kids and others with quite a number. And every once in a while I get this, you know, I noticed you Couples in your church have a lot of kids and that's my answer to him.
Yeah, they have learned and they believe that kids are a blessing from the Lord, not a curse. That ends the conversation right there and then there. There's all kinds of worldly stuff teaching on not having too many kids, whatever that is. Now, Pastor Sandra says a quiverful, which is what the Bible teaches, is 12.
We're not going to go there. This is between the husband and wife and the Lord. How many kids in the family? And we're not to judge on whether there's none or a bunch of them so he believes scripture. Children are a blessing from the Lord. He knows that godly parents train up godly Children who become godly leaders. Godly homes are the foundation of the church. I was blessed to no end. We had a missionary conference as we often do it at the school. And there was a missionary set up there.
He says, You know, we have 10 kids and all my wife and I knew from the start when we first started having kids was that we were to raise them up. to be Christians. No, that's a given to bring him to the Lord. That's a given to be in dependency of the Lord Jesus Christ to give them a God that when they leave home, he's big enough that they can live by faith in the world that they have to go out into.
Godly leaders are humble. Who is the most public leader in Israel's history? If you think about it, it was Moses. He had the whole nation of Israel and he was their daddy. He was responsible for every direction, every whatever they went through. And I knew that daddy and obviously, but why did God choose Moses to lead his people out of Egypt?
Why did he do that? What was so great about this man who failed big time? Murdering somebody. And sometimes that's what we need, not to murder somebody, but to see our sinfulness. But the clue is in numbers 12:3. Now, the man Moses was very humble, more than all the men who were on the face of the earth.
That's why he chose Moses. More than all the men were on the face of the earth. And in the King James, it says above all Above all the men. See where God puts humility? Up here. We look at it down here. In fact, one term is in, I don't like the King James meekness because it looks like weakness and that's what people take it as.
It isn't that at all. But God puts humility up here. Up here. Above all the men who are on the face of the earth. See, what was the virtue that Paul brought out about God with us in Philippians 2:5? Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider robbery to be equal with God, but made himself in no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men, and being found in appearances of men, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death.
Even the death of the cross, Jesus, God with us humbled himself. And God with us didn't go into his ministry until he was 30. Now, God set it up that way. He set it up that way. Number one, it's difficult for a young man to muster much humility. And, there are plenty of at the same time. There are plenty of old pastors who don't manifest much. One man I know, grew up in a church and he's in his forties now. And he said, my pastor taught about the virtue of humility from the time I knew him right up until this point. I just wish that he would example a little. He taught humility and pride.
Now you can do that. And, he did. I was sad. Timothy was between 30 and 40 years old when Paul admonished him in 1st Timothy 4:12. Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Over and over we're finding men in their 30s, usually their 40s, sometimes their 50s, that are sensing the call to be a leader in the church.
There are men that came up through the church and now feel that I need to lead the church. And this is generally where it happens. Two of our men in our church, two of our leaders, they're in our church because they've been out attempting to lead churches. And they got nailed so bad because of teaching, preaching Jesus Christ that they backed away from it.
And one man, especially I need to come home. See, a church is to be that protective place where we train and we bring up men to lead that church. And so important, it's a very important part of leadership is protecting the church, protecting the flock, just as it is the father, to protect his children from the world, from the devil and his ways, until their living in dependency of the Lord Jesus Christ as well.
Time and experience gives a man wisdom.
So, our men need to be taught. They were meant to be taught and believe the whole counsel of God's word, holding fast the faithful word as he had been taught. Ahem. This is a real detriment in the grace movement. And that is we've thrown out the word disciple. Some people get angry at it and it was only used in, in fact, in the chapter we were in in Acts.
But that's what they mean. They need to be taught by word and by example. That's discipleship. And I'm really saddened that that word has been denigrated within the grace movement. It shouldn't be. It's a well rounded education. Our students and Paul's affect your former pastor, Paul, um, for graduation, I was taking the men places.
I said, Paul, what do you want to do? I want to go on a moose hunt. So we took the whole gang and Dr. Nix went up to the U. P. and went on a moose hunt. I actually seen one. We didn't shoot any. You can't shoot them up there.
But we have to remember, so much is caught as well as taught. Does this man know what he's talking about by the life that he lives, by his, does he really care about us?
What's a blessing here is now leaders can take and get trained without leaving home. Dr. Bedore and I couldn't bring our school into this modern technical age. Dr. Madone never had a computer till years after I met him, and but God supplied us with men that could. And now these are the leaders in the school, and now we have online classes, which are almost as good as having the people, the students in front of you.
And then we have distance studies as well. So men never have to leave the church anymore to get educated and to get trained and they don't have to take the whole course. What am I weak in? There's some strong points. What am I weak in? What do I need to hone up on? And we have every class, except for our family classes and our counseling.
I won't do those. I'll do them online, but I won't do them distance study. There's too much of this that has to be passed. Back and forth. And the school has agreed for years. They're the most important classes that we teach our family classes and our counseling. Counseling is merely sanctification, teaching the word of God.
I got one minute, so I only had two pages left. I have to have all my notes because I don't have a memory. So anyway, you are blessed with leaders here. You are blessed with shepherds here. And I just challenge you to keep looking within in this area has continued to build up men that will shepherd your church.
And they have. I can look at them and see it. Been here for 20 some years and I know of. So with that, let's pray. Father, thank you for our time and your word. Thank you, Father, that your ways are not our ways. And too often, Father, we want to get into our ways to do your work. And that's something that, uh, you have a hard time honoring.
Father, what you want and what Paul tells us that, is to know you. And the more that we know you, the more that we can learn to trust you. And the more father you can get done in and through our lives. I thank you for this precious church father, the way you've blessed it for so many years and Ask that you continue to bless the church and all those involved in it, Father, and that they will continue to bring glory to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And it's in that wonderful name we pray. Amen.