Satan hates faithful pastors. He abhors gospel ministry and those who seek to labor at it. The idea a pastor humbly loving and serving a church, faithfully exposing to them the truth of God’s Word, patiently urging them toward personal holiness, confidence in the Lord’s promises, and faithfulness in evangelism and ministry…these things make his skin crawl.
All this, of course, means that Satan hates pastoral search teams, too. Or, at the very least, he loves to undermine their work, their unity, and their love for one another and the church, all with the hope of undermining, in the end, the decisions they make about the kind of pastor that they will call. Because Satan hates pastors, he loves to mess with pastoral search teams.
A week ago at Capitol City, our elders released the names of the men and women who have agreed to serve on the search team as we move our search for a new lead pastor into its next stage. I’m so thankful for each of these people, for their willingness to serve our church by assuming this immense responsibility, and for the wisdom, maturity, and love for Christ and His Church that each of them have demonstrated over the years – the very traits that led our elders to invite them onto this team in the first place.
And I also understand that this is a critical time to be praying for each of these men and women, and for their work together. Satan aspires to bog them down in division, disunity, and distraction. He longs to confuse them about what constitutes a faithful pastor, and what comprises fruitful ministry. He will use all of the limited power God has permitted him to wield to undermine their work. That’s why I hope you’ll join me in praying for them, as individuals and as a team, in this season of our pastoral search.
These are my prayers for our search team:
- A growing love for the gospel. I am praying that the gospel would grow deeper in the members of this team, even as they long to see it advance in the world (see Col 1:6). An increasing love for and joy in the gospel will defeat the kind of spiritual pride that might settle in among those selected for this critical task. A growing heart for the gospel will also calibrate the hearts of those on this team, giving them ears for the kind of preaching that honors the Lord and truly edifies his people.
- A growing hunger for the Word. I am praying that the lives of the people on our search team would be marked by a renewed devotion to and hunger for the Word of God during this season of their work. I am praying that they would find the Word to be “sweeter…than honey and the dripping of the honeycomb” (Psa 19:10). I am praying that they would be, in this time, “like trees planted by streams of water” (Psa 1:3), nourished, healthy, and fruitful in their lives and in this labor for our church.
- Increased personal spiritual strength. I am praying that they would “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” so that they can “stand against the schemes of the devil” (Eph 6:11-12). Satan will scheme against them in this time. He will seek to tempt and try them to the full extent of his power. Thus I pray that each of these brothers and sisters might “withstand [him] in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Eph 6:13).
- A passionate love for Christ’s Bride. It is fashionable to love Jesus but not his Church. Yes, the Church has issues. No human institution, this side of Christ’s return, will be free from the presence or effects of sin. But Christ’s love for his Church is not a future tense idea. He isn’t waiting for his Church to get its act together before he loves us. Indeed, he has loved us while we were at our worst in sin, and he loves us enough to “cleanse [us] by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the Church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing” (Eph 5:26-27). He loves his Church enough to make his Church what she should be. I pray that the men and women searching for my local church’s next pastor are gripped by a love for his Church, and that they long for her to be what Jesus longs for her to be.
- A profound, joyful unity. I pray that the Lord so unites this search team in love for the gospel, for our local church, and for one another that they can joyfully serve together for the glory of Christ and for the good of the people of Capitol City (as well as the candidates with whom they will interact). May there be no self-serving agendas. May there be no bitterness when expectations aren’t met. May people receive correction, redirection, and disappointment with grace and humility. May Christ be honored by how these men and women love one another.
That’s what I’m praying for our search team. I’d be so grateful if you would join me in those prayers!