The Charge to the Pastor for the Installation of David Thomas Andrew Strain

Sermon by Jim Baird on May 22, 2014

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This is a great, historic moment in the life of this congregation.  Now, David, you’ll be installed as the eighth pastor of this church since 1857.  And to my knowledge, never at any worship service, or any other time, have three living pastors of this church ever been together in a service.  This is a historic moment.  And David, you will become the human leader of this church.  You will be the senior pastor of this church.  And as the senior pastor you will lead this church, and influence this church greatly.  And you’ll do it in a simple way—two different ways—with your lips and with your life.  I’ve heard you preach and I’ve heard you teach.  There’s no question. And especially as Dr. Payne has said, you’re gonna preach the gospel of Christ.  You are going to set forth the Scriptures as infallible.  You are going to teach and preach the full counsel of God—the Reformed faith.  I want to challenge you in your life, in your life in three different areas I suggest to you—this is how you will lead this church.  I offer this as a suggestion.  You’re gonna make up your own mind about leadership style.  But these three things…


I. Lead By Example


And the first is you’re gonna lead this church by example.  The Lord Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee.  He saw two brothers, Simon, called Peter, and his brother, called Andrew.  They were casting a net into the sea for they were a fisher of men, and Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  A while back, Jane and I were travelling to go preach somewhere, and we were going through Columbus, Georgia, and I told Jane, “Honey, it’s been almost sixty years, and I want to see something here in Columbus.  I want to go out to the Harmony Church area where sixty years ago I went to the Officer’s Candidate School for the United States Army Infantry.”  And as I drove on—by the way, I was not a Christian at that time—as I drove on I noticed this huge sign.  It was their motto.  You know what the motto of the Infantry School is?  “United States Infantry: Follow Me.”  The world has its leaders who say to their people, “Follow me.”  That’s what you do to this congregation, only you do it spiritually.  Jesus said, “Follow me.”  And David, you’re gonna lead with your life, with your wife, and your children.  The people are gonna look at you just as they watched Jesus Christ.  And the way you deal with the elders and the deacons, and the way you deal with the people, and the way that you live your life—that’s why they’ll listen to you, because of the way you live your life.  You’re gonna lead by example.


II. Lead by Love


Number two, you are going to lead—Jesus put it this way—I had this pastor at this church one time.  He sent about twenty singles up to New York City that they may be a team to minister up there.  The first thing that the pastor of that church did was take them down to the Bowery (SP), and he made them wash the feet of people who hadn’t had their feet washed in years.  When they came back, and I talked with them, I said, “What impressed you?”  They said, “The washing of feet.”  Jesus, Jesus put it like this in the upper room, “A new commandment I give you: love one another as I have loved you.  You must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” He had just washed their dirty feet.  And they had refused—I had a pastor, and the man came, an exciting man, everybody knew him, and he had a group of people around him, and when it was asked, “Well, who are these people?” He said, “They’re gophers.”  And they said, “Gophers?”  He said, “Yes.  When I need something, I say, ‘Go get me this.’ And they go for it, and they come back and give it to me because they love me.” That’s the world.  But you’re different in Christ.  You’re gonna love these people, and serve these people, and do for these people.  And He washed the feet of Judas.  I know some of these people.  You gotta wash their feet.  And they’re gonna watch you.  And that’s how you will be moved to lead them. You lead by example.  You lead by love, God’s kind of love, not the world’s. 


III. Lead by Vision


And finally, you’re gonna lead by what the world calls, or Christians call in our day—vision.  At the end of three and a half years they were not much, but He said to them as He was leaving them—these are His last words—He said, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  What a charge…to guys who had never done anything, never been anywhere, never accomplished anything, and yet He says that to them.  And He leaves them.  You’ve got tools in this church.  You’ve got a TV that goes to the largest TV station in Mississippi.  You preach.  You have a beautiful sanctuary.  You have a day-school of seven hundred kids, in this building, week after week.  You’ve got the tool of Twin Lakes.  I don’t know of another church in the United States that has a conference ground solely directed, and paid for, by one congregation.  I don’t know of any other church in the United States.  But your biggest tool is sitting right out there.  Use it.  Think big.  What a vision Jesus gave to His disciples. 


IV. Lead by the Power of the Holy Spirit


The last thing.  And the last thing I say to you: there was a man.  And that man, he made this church.  This church wouldn’t be here without him—not like it is.  He made this church and molded this church.  And men knew it.  I didn’t read everything in that last statement of Jesus.  This is what I left out, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.  And you will be my witness…all over” the world.  This man—when other grey Christian leaders surrounded him—he was known as the Holy Spirit man.  The rest of the great leaders honored him as that.  His name was John Calvin.  You must lead by the power of the Holy Spirit, as an example.  That’s the only way.  When the Spirit gets a hold of you, you will be a man of love far greater than any love that you’ve ever dreamed of, and you will set forth what this church could do and be.  What an example.  By the power of the Holy Spirit.  God bless you, my friend.

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