Just recently I came across an article that opens like this:
“In 2004, nine hospitals in Michigan began implementing a new procedure in their intensive care units (I.C.U.). Almost overnight, healthcare professionals were stunned with its success.
Three months after it began, the procedure had cut the infection rate of I.C.U. patients by sixty-six percent. Within 18 months, this one method had saved 75 million dollars in healthcare expenses. Best of all, this single intervention saved the lives of more than 1,500 people in just a year and a half. The strategy was immediately published in a blockbuster paper for the New England Journal of Medicine.
What did these people do? They didn’t implement new technologies. “There were no pharmaceutical discoveries or cutting edge procedures. The physicians just stopped skipping steps”  .
The way these hospitals made sure their physicians stopped skipping steps was by implementing a checklist. A simple checklist that anyone can write on a piece of paper ended up saving these hospitals 75 million dollars and 1,500 patient lives in a year and a half.
If you are anything like me, you probably think that is almost unbelievable. You see, we are always looking for something new to make us successful. Some new technology, a new procedure. Something revolutionary. And a checklist is not revolutionary. It’s as basic and fundamental as it gets. But here’s the things and here’s the point of the article: Sometimes consistently practicing the fundamentals is all we need to be successful. This is not only true in the health industry, but it’s also true in school, at home, and especially when it comes to our faith. If we want to grow and continue to remain steadfast, we must continually practice the fundamentals of the faith. Looking for something new and revolutionary is not going to do it.
But here’s the thing and here’s the point of the article: Sometimes consistently practicing the fundamentals is all we need to be successful. This is not only true in the health industry, but it’s also true in school, at home, and especially when it comes to our faith. If we want to grow and continue to remain steadfast, we must continually practice the fundamentals of the faith. Looking for something new and revolutionary is not going to do it.
Now, there are a lot of fundamentals to the faith. We certainly don’t have time to explore all of those. So over the next few posts, we are going to look at those fundamentals that have to do with pastors. Reading that, some of you may be thinking that I have forgotten that I am writing primarily to laymen and not a group of pastors. But I haven’t forgotten. You see, while these are fundamentals that a pastor must practice, the church’s involvement is required in order for him to do them.
While It Starts with Pastors, It Continues with the Church
It starts with pastors
What I mean is that pastors first have to determine that they are going to operate based on Scripture’s wisdom. They can’t be overly concerned with pragmatic principles or what’s currently popular. Instead, they have to be determined to do what the Bible says no matter what. That’s where this has to start.
It has to continue with the church
The church has to be onboard with operating according to Scripture. They have to prize Scripture’s wisdom over culture’s. And they have to expect, encourage, and allow their pastors to practice the fundamentals that are given in Scripture.
If the church doesn’t expect their pastor to do these things, he may not do them. And if the church doesn’t encourage him as he is doing them, he may get discouraged and quit.
As well as if the church doesn’t allow him to do these things because they are bent on doing something else, it is going to be tough, if not impossible, for even the most biblical minded pastor, to practice these fundamentals.
So it has to start with the pastor, but it has to continue with the church. The church has to expect, encourage, and allow their pastors to practice these fundamentals.
Next time we will get into more of the specifics of what pastors are to do and what the church should expect, encourage, and allow.
Question for Reflection
- Do you see the church’s role in the pastor’s growth?
Post adapted from my sermon How Can Both the Pastor and Congregation Continue in the Faith?