Looking Back to Look Forward

by Rev. Dr. Bill Greenwood

If I were starting my ministry over again, these insights percolate to the surface. Perhaps they could serve as questions that I ask myself even now – ten years into retirement from the active pastorate.

Could I have focused more intentionally on the task both of being a radically committed disciple of our Lord and the making of disciples -who would themselves make disciples? Why wasn’t that my laser-like New Testament strategy all along the way? Yes, I worked at this somewhat sporadically, but I was side-tracked from this emphasis too many times.

Why didn’t I also keep global missions, the big picture before my people more faithfully? Didn’t I realize how easily we narrowed our view on “us four and no more”? The late Dr. John Stott said he happened to visit a rural Anglican Church during a holiday. He slipped into the little chapel sitting at the back. When he slipped out again at the end of the service, he felt that those dear people were worshipping only a ‘village God.’ We need to keep God’s larger mission before our people.

Finally, could I have given more time to nurturing, encouraging, training, and guiding the small groups of the church? Looking back, it seems now that I was pastoring only one half of the church – the worship crowd and thus neglecting the discipleship potential of the smaller groups in the church.

Thus these three questions stir me even now and hope that younger pastors might contemplate these priorities and learn from the missteps of their elders.

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