If Peter was a Candidate for your Church
by Pastor Jon Coykendall
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The search committee had gathered to look over applications they had received and to interview those that had been chosen. They were looking for a new Pastor of unfailing love for God and a passion to teach the flock, along with reaching those who were lost and in need of salvation. As the first candidate entered, they all looked up, in came a man with a cloak in sandals, flowing brown hair and matching beard. Taken back they felt is this the way a pastor would dress for service? Surely he must be in the wrong place; he must have misread the ad. The Chairman spoke up, “Are you here to interview for the position of senior pastor?” The man in a soft spoken way looked at each member of the committee and stated; “Was it not your desire to interview perspective candidates to teach your flock in the ways of our Lord?” “That is our desire, do you feel you could fulfill that role?” asked the chairman. The man bowed his head in affirmation.
“Very well then what name is your application under?” “Simon, son of John, but you may call me Peter.” The Chairman looked at the papers he had and brightened, “Ah here it is, Simon son of John, ok, Peter was it? Tell us about yourself.” Peter thought for a moment and then began his story. “By trade we are fisherman, while along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, my brother Andrew came to me and told me of a great teacher he had met while visiting our friend John the Baptist. I went and met this man and knew he was the Messiah, and for three years followed him as he taught twelve of us about the Kingdom of God. Before he was taken to Heaven he gave us one final command, to make disciples of all nations. This is my calling and a command from God.”
The Chairman thought for a moment, and then spoke. “You say you are a fisherman by trade, have you no formal education in the ministry?” “My master and teacher was Jesus Christ, who taught us all things that were his fathers.” Peter said proudly. “And this Mr. Christ he was a bible scholar I presume and has documented this training?” Peter was astounded, “Jesus Christ is the son of God, our savior, I preach the message he gave me of salvation for all men, and God’s gift of eternal life.” The Chairman seemed unimpressed, and finally spoke. “Have you ever converted anyone to the faith and made disciples as you were commanded to?” Peter brightened, “Yes on the day the Spirit came to us as promised by our Lord, I stood and proclaimed the good news just as the Spirit lead me, 3 thousand were added to our numbers that day alone, and many others have followed since then.” The Chairman and others on the committee conversed, and then asked, “You said you made your home along the Sea of Galilee, does that not make you Jewish?” Peter nodded. The Chairman shook his head slowly, “I’m sorry to waste your time Peter but you see we are a Christian denomination and I’m afraid your Jewish background is not what we are looking for. We are looking for someone devoted to our faith and culture with some sort of education and background in ministry. But thank you for your time and may God bless you.”
This story is a little hard to swallow I know, or is it? I have been searching for a church for some time to Pastor, I am non-denominational, and I have no formal education in Ministry now, because my wife and I cannot afford it at this time. But it does not change the facts that we have been called to the ministry. Just as Peter was called and all the 12 Apostles, Jesus didn’t care about their education or background, just that they were obedient to the will of the Father. We all know the story of Peter; he loved Jesus and was so devoted that when it was time for his execution, he requested to be crucified upside down, because he did not feel worthy to be crucified as Jesus was. He was a true servant of the Lord even unto death.
I could never expect to be as great as Peter; I could only hope that the Lord would allow me to share my faith with others in one small corner of the world. You see like Peter my education came from my youth, I was raised in a two denomination home. My mother was a devout Catholic, while my Father was Baptist. I attended 2 churches; I went to service three times on Sunday and was an active servant in both churches. I saw firsthand the differences in the denominations; I was born again at age 16 and called to ministry at age 19. Because of denominational differences I was confused and pursued a career in business, a very bad choice. Over 30 years I moved from job to job never finding true satisfaction and my calling. But when I had lost everything my wife and I owned, and we were lost Jesus reminded me of whom I was and that he wanted me again to serve him in ministry.
A pipe dream you say? I thought so as well, after being turned down a number of times, and feeling that I was again making a mistake, I prayed one day before my devotionals and asked the Lord for some sort of confirmation that this was his will for me. The reading for that day was Isaiah 43 when I got to verse 10 I felt the Spirit inside poke me to pay attention and these words stood out in bold black letters, “You are my witness declares the Lord. And my servant whom I have Chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am He.” I sat there for 5 minutes just staring at those words, God had heard and answered, in less than 3 minutes, how great is our Father.
I have a new energy, since I know what the Lord expects of me, he has a plan, just as he did for Peter. Who are we to judge a man’s calling based on man’s standards. I know some very educated Pastors, their knowledge of scripture is profound, but ask them to preach and it comes out like a class lecture. I met a young Pastor, I say young because he is 14 years my junior. He is the Pastor of a church in Perry, NY called Old Paths Chapel. Jeff has grown that Church for just 20 years, from a small coffee shop to a congregation of over 300. He is a passionate preacher that teaches Gods word as Jesus would preach it. Jeff’s only education is his training as an electrician, and membership in the electricians union. Now I ask you is God using him? How would you like to have a Pastor like that in your Church?
In order for us to hear God’s will for his church, first we must get rid of man’s expectations and replace them with God’s. We must set aside denominational prejudices and look for men that are led by God. God’s church will grow when we realize that he must be first, and His will has to be obeyed. A good Pastor is trying to be obedient to God, no matter what church he is called to. A good Pastor understands that we are all Christians first and fore-most and those denominational differences are cultural. A good Pastor puts God first and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit adapts to the culture of the Church God has given him. I have no doubt where God is calling me, the question is where is the church God is calling me to?
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