Over the past two years, Dominic Steele has interviewed around 100 pastors for his regular weekly podcast, The Pastor’s Heart.
In this episode, we talk to Dominic not only about what he has learned and been challenged by in these conversations, but what we all can learn about the Christian life—whether we’re pastors or not—from the joys, challenges and heartaches of pastoral ministry.
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Runtime: 35:29 min.
Tony Payne: What is a pastor? Well, a pastor is a shepherd, I guess. That’s what the word means: somebody who cares for and feeds and looks after the sheep. And that’s what the pastors of our churches do: it’s one way of describing their role—to care for, to feed and to protect the flock.
But the pastoral metaphor is not one that we want to push too hard on, I don’t think, because after all, shepherds are fundamentally different species from sheep. I mean, you’d never say that a shepherd was one of the sheep, who’d been given certain responsibilities to care for the other sheep. No, a shepherd is an intelligent initiative-taking human; a sheep … well, is a plodding, dumb herd animal. And is that really want how we want to think about the relationship between a pastor and a congregation?
“Well, of course not,” I hear you say! Although, some Christian traditions—notably the Roman Catholic tradition—have posited such a big difference between the role of the mediatorial priest and the people that you do sometimes wonder whether they’re thinking of them as different species.
But biblically speaking and as good Protestants, that’s not what we think about a pastor and the people. We see a pastor or elder or overseer as fundamentally a Christian disciple, doing what all Christian disciples do, but having certain responsibilities to serve and look after the disciples as a congregation. And in today’s episode of the Centre for Christian Living podcast, we’re going to think about some of the challenges of being a pastor, and how all of us—whether pastors or not—can learn from those challenges.
TP: Hello, I’m Tony Payne and welcome to the Centre for Christian Living podcast, coming to you from Moore College in Sydney, Australia, where our goal, as always, is to bring biblical ethics to the everyday issues we all face as Christian believers.
Now, our guest today is the host of another podcast: The Pastor’s Heart, which digs into the lives and ministries and challenges of pastoral ministry, but in a way that all of us, whether pastors or not, can really learn from. And I’m talking, of course, about—
Dominic Steele: Dominic Steele. Married to Catherine for 26 years. Father of Hannah, Solomon and Abraham—all young adult children now. I have a background in the media. I founded Christians in the Media. I’ve been the pastor at Village Church Annandale for 17 years.
TP: Now, Dominic, I’ve been looking forward to interviewing you at some stage on the podcast. I’ve been planning when and how to do it. But I’ve also been slightly intimidated by the idea of interviewing you. And I’m not easily intimidated, I have to say—mainly because you have such an excellent voice for radio and I have a fairly average voice for radio. So how did you come to have such an excellent voice for radio?
DS: I was just fascinated by the media all growing up. In Year 8 at school, I discovered commercial radio and just became obsessed with it. I did work experience at 2SM, which was the rock station of Sydney of the 9s—of the 80s. When I was in Year 10, I—I got into community radio. In Year 12, I remember, while others were doing their HSC—when I was doing my HSC—I did a midnight to dawn show on 2SCR in Sydney community station. At university, I worked at a community station, reading—reading newspapers out to blind people. And then I got my first job in radio in 1984.
TP: Where was that again?
DS: That’s 2MO in Gunnedah.
TP: In Gunnedah!
DS: In north-west New South Wales.
TP: I once worked at 2SCR! I didn’t realise you’d ever done 2SCR!
TP: ’Cause when I was at the Institute of Technology as it was then, I—I did some radio production as one of my subjects, and we had to produce programs and do morning shifts and stuff on 2SCR. But alas, it never led to a job in radio [Laughter], which it did for you! So you were in Gunnedah—
DS: For a year and a quarter, and then—then on the 12th of April 1985, I started at 2UE, which was—and that was the first day of the downfall of 2UE in that I started on 2UE the day that their former morning announcer John Laws started on 2GB. And so, that meant we went from being the number 1 radio station in Sydney to the number 8 radio station in Sydney over about eight months—which meant there were massive retrenchments and, as a result, people like me got promoted far faster than we deserved. And so, I had the amazing privilege of reading the news in Sydney at breakfast time on a weekday a week before I turned 22. And so, I—I thought, “This is all I ever wanted to do in radio!”
TP: And you’d achieved it by the age of 22!
DS: And I’d achieved it at 22! [Laughter] And—and ridiculously, I and others in our early twenties were making news judgements for the major city of Australia. ’Cause if you—you do it on 2UE, that influences Channel Nine, that influences 3OW, it influences everywhere! And setting the news jud—decisions for the nation! You know, as a—bunch of barely teenagers. [Laughter]
TP: That explains a lot, actually. I think that’s still going on! [Laughter]
DS: Well, it is—well it is! [Laughter] I mean, and it’s because pay in media is so low—
DS: —that therefore so many things are run by juniors and—I mean, I never knew how important interest rates stories were until I had a home loan. And I never knew how important education stories were until I had kids at school!
TP: But when you were 22 …
DS: I knew everything! [Laughter] I didn’t know the gospel, though.
TP: And that came along soon afterwards, and it—
DS: Yeah, it would—
TP: —and that changed your life.
DS: It was—it was kind of in that period. It was—it was through the influence of another journalist, Russell Powell, who also worked in the newsroom. He invited me to church. The first week he invited me, I didn’t go. The second week, I didn’t go. The third week, I didn’t go. And he invited me each time. The third week, I turned up, and he was waiting out the front of the church 15 minutes after the meeting had started. And I—I mean, this was before mobile phones, and I thought, “Oh, that mean you were waiting last week—
TP and DS: “—and the week before!”
DS: “I’ve been rude! And you’re the boss.” [Laughter] And then he invited me back to their house for lunch. And they’d cooked and prepared, and his wife had cooked and prepared. And I realised I’ve done that three weeks in a row as well, and been rude to the boss’s wife, and—and so I decided to go next week just to prove that I could turn up on time at something that I said I would be at.
And we got into a habit of going to church, listening to the Bible being taught, and then going back to their place at lunch and talking, discussing, debating the ministry of the Word that we’d heard that morning. And eventually I became convinced that what Russell was saying—what the Bible was saying—what the minister was saying—was true—that Jesus had lived and died, paid for my sins, risen from the dead, and that I wanted to trust him as my Lord and saviour. And so I—I look back and think, “Australia Day 2000—sorry, Australia Day, 1986 was the day that I first trusted Christ and first made a ‘Jesus is going to be my Lord’ decision. I’m going to do something that I don’t want to do but that Jesus wants me to do,” which was to break up with my non-Christian girlfriend.
TP: That was the first sort of—
DS: That was the first “Jesus is Lord” decision. And so I drove to her house and she said, “So, what you’re saying is I’ve got to become a Christian or we’ve got to stop going out together?” And I said, “No, it’s worse than that; you’ve got to become a Christian because you really believe it, or we stop going out together.” Do you know—I mean, ’cause I had faked being a Christian for a while. [Laughter] And now that I—it was real for me, I meant—I’m saying it had to be real for her as well. And so, we did break up. She investigated Christianity. She—and she actually did come to Christ through—through the ministry at Bathurst Baptist Church. And we then—we then started going out again. We went out for another couple of years before we eventually broke up.
TP: Now, you became a Christian in 1986. You’ve been pastor of the church in Annandale and Christians in the Media and all this sort of stuff for 17 years. What was it about the call of Christ or the message of the gospel that took you in to being a pastor, ’cause today we’re going to talk about pastors? How did you become a pastor? Or why did you madk that decision?
DS: I think there’s been three key moments for me, now that I think about it. There’s the moment of, if you like, sexual lordship—becoming a Christian moment, you know, and saying, “I’m going to stop behaving badly with her and start trusting Jesus.” There was a moment of money lordship, where I was going to start to be generous towards God with my money and not being selfish, that—
TP: The old conversion of the—the wallet—the hip pocket nerve, yeah.
DS: Then actually another year or so later, there was actually “Would I do what I thought God wanted me to do with my life?” lordship. And so I—I went to a conference, and there were all these people who were deciding whether or not Christian ministry was for them. And as I talked to them—lots and lots of people—it was kind of clear that I had spent ages learning how to communicate ideas for adults—to adults—and if part of what Christian ministry was was communicating ideas to adults, I was really good at it. And so, if they should go into Christian ministry, I definitely should. But did I believe it or not? Did I really believe it for everything in my life?
And so I left that conference not sure if I could continue to be a Christian, because, for me, if I was going to be Christian from that point on, I had to go into Christian ministry, but did I really want to? Do you know—and so I had a whole big battle about lordship—oh good it was—that—it wasn’t really a battle about gifts; it was a battle about lordship, and—and eventually I became convinced—I had to go back and read Is the New Testament History? again and those kinds of books, and then I’m, “No, no, he did rise from the dead, and I can’t just continue to do this as a part-time thing; it—it’s everything.” And so—and so I remember resigning as news editor at 2WS, where I was working then, and going and doing the ministry apprenticeship in 1992.
TP: But you’re not saying that in order to be obedient as a Christian to the lordship of Jesus, you have to go into full-time ministry.
DS: Well, depends on your gifts, I think. I came to see at the time that—I mean, I went to church one Easter—the church in the country—and—and I thought, “The gospel message was so badly preached.” And I remember thinking, “Me and my friends doing this badly would be better than this guy doing it wrongly. And if I could sit in a seat that he’s sitting in so that he’s not sitting there, well, that would mean more glory to Jesus than whatever else I’m doing.” And it was just so obvious that actually there were things to do for Jesus that were more useful than what I was doing for Jesus—that, really, if he was Lord, I ought to get on with doing them, and if I had the gifts to do them, and it was pretty clear—I mean, I’m not trying to big nose myself; it was pretty clear I’d—I did have the—well, at least the communication gifts; maybe I didn’t have holiness gifts, but I did have the communication gifts.
I came to see that for me, it would have been sin to stay comfortably in radio, serving my ego, being famous, enjoying all of those things, and just doing Christianity around the edge.
TP: And so you became a pastor and—
DS: Well, I became a missionary. I—I went to theological college and became a missionary to the lost tribe of Sydney’s media, in that I was going through theological college and all—and when I finished, all my peers went off to become assistant ministers, and I headed into this lost tribe of the media field. And they all had job descriptions; I had a one-page document—well, really a two-line document—which was “1. Evangelise and edify Sydney’s media” and “2. Work out how to pay for it.” [Laughter] And that was my—that was my job description!
We had a little baby girl just born and I tried to do those things. We started Bible study groups in major media outlets and amongst communication faculties. I came to see—we—we came to see people come back to Christ, and I—I came to see that the—the Christian in the media was really lost. On the church, they threw bricks at the media, and in the media, they threw bricks at the church. And so, where does the Christian in the media fit? Lost! And so I tried to gather these men and women together to read the Bible, to pray, to encourage them, because they were creatives—that they rekindled their faith in Jesus and started to go back to Pentecostal churches.
’Cause what you found in Sydney in those days that there was two sorts of churches—and it’s not quite as sharp as this now, but there were the Bible churches, which were almost anti-creativity in their DNA, and there were the creative churches, which were positive about creativity, but hopeless on the Bible. And so, as we started the ministry, it felt like the little group of people that we were growing and ministering to, well, the way they were going two steps forward with us on Wednesday lunchtime, and then one step back at church on Sunday. And so we started a church—homogenous unit church—that would be serious about the Bible, but deeply positive in its DNA towards creativity in order to reach the tribe that we were trying to reach.
TP: And that’s the church that became Village Church, Annandale.
DS: Yeah, well we first called it Christians in the Media. We’re meeting in this sch—library at Glebe. We moved to the school hall at Glebe. They wouldn’t fix the heaters. We moved to the school hall in Annandale. And then the Archbishop of Sydney gave me a dead church building. When I say “dead”, the vultures were hovering overhead: there were 13 little old ladies on a good day. On a bad day, there were seven. The music was … we had a non-Christian lady come and play the organ every fifth week and in the intervening four weeks, they played cassette tapes of her playing the organ. And so—
TP: And so a hive of creativity!
DS: [Laughter] That’s right! So just to be clear, the Archbishop wasn’t giving me the jewel in the Anglican crown! In—in fact, when I asked him if I could be the minister of this church, he said, “Well, I haven’t got a lot to lose!” [Laughter]
TP: So you became not just a missionary, but a pastor—or a missionary pastor.
DS: Yeah, and I’m—I do remember Robert Forsyth leading a little Bible Study group for us about the elders in—in 1 Peter 5, and me thinking, “Oh, that’s new idea: thinking of myself as an elder.” Do you know—’cause I’ve—up until now, I’ve only been thinking of myself as a missionary.
TP: Now, all these years either, you’ve never lost your passion for broadcasting as—as it were. You’ve started The Pastor’s Heart, which goes out on video and on Facebook and—and as a podcast. Just tell us about it, first of all. What is The Pastor’s Heart?
DS: One—on the one hand, The Pastor’s Heart is a podcast in that the vast majority of people listen to it on podcast. But on the other hand, it’s—it’s a video interview, and we’re—we’re out on, well we’re out on Clayton TV in the UK, we’re on Anglican television Nigeria. You know, what’s that? Well, it actually broadcasts to all of Africa and half of Europe. [Laughter] And so, and so what we see is there are s—quite a lot of people who are listening to us, like that people listen to your podcast, but then church councils and staff teams will watch individual episodes, because it’s speaking into their issue, and so we were talking the other day about breaking through the 200 barrier with Raj Gupta. I’m absolutely sure a whole lot of leadership teams and parish councils where the church is stuck will watch that episode together, because it’s actually speaking collectively into the issue that the church is facing.
The Pastor’s Heart is really just ministers—pastors—getting together to talk about how we can, on the one hand, grow in the skills we need to do the Christian ministry, but on the other hand, be vulnerable about our hearts before the Lord Jesus. And so the through line on The Pastor’s Heart is what’s God been doing with your heart? And so I tried to ask every gu—I mean, the guest could be in talking about how to build ministry teams, but I try to say, “What”—not so much “How did you come to Christ?”, but “What’s God been doing in his work on your heart recently?” And that question tends to lead to a—a kind of deeper area in the pastor’s walk, where things were going wrong—mostly—mostly God teaches us things, not at the—not at Club Med, not at the gym, not when everything’s going well, but when I’m walking through a valley of difficulty. And so, I mean, I’m—I’m talking to a guy the other day about how to understand new areas of social change and how to minister in—talk to him about his heart at the end, and he talks about the anguish about his adult son walking away from Christ, and—and, I mean, that’s actually the story of many of us as pastors, concerned about our children.
TP: I guess as pastors reveal what’s really going on for them in their—in their hearts and lives as they minister, it’s kind of emphasising that to be a pastor is perhaps foundationally to be a Christian—to be a disciple of Jesus.
DS: Yeah. The young woman who does our video editing, she’s come to Christ in our church in the last two or three years, and so she’s learned lots about Christian ministry by the editing up The Pastor’s Heart, and she made the comment to me a couple of weeks ago that it’s really helpful to see that the pastors that we’re talking to are normal people struggling to work out how to follow Jesus in the same kinds of ways that she’s struggling to work out how to follow Jesus. And, yeah.
I—I think by being vulnerable—by talking about—I mean, we had a moment a couple of weeks ago with Peter Adam, former Principal of Ridley College, and we talked about the vulnerable pastor, and he talked about his journey through depression—his—his issues with being an introvert, that “I actually—I’m a pastor, but I—I can only cope with two and a half hours of interaction with people a day.” Do you know? And—and as he talked about depression, it—there’s a safe space; I could talk about the time that I went on to antidepressants, and how I felt being on antidepressants impacted my preaching in that I found, for me, it had the effect of kind—of one level, lifting me up, but on the other level, taking away the creative highs and the creative insights. And so, I—I felt that kind of six—eight—I don’t know how many months on antidepressants—that there was a bluntness to, or a dampening of my preaching. It—it didn’t have the—
TP: Less sharp.
DS: Less sharp! Yeah, less precise—less—less insightful, I think. Yeah. Maybe others thought I was just regularly un-insightful, but I thought I was less insightful!
TP: So in that sense, you have obviously plenty of pastors who listen to The Pastor’s Heart—
DS: And heaps of people would have identified with that! You know?
TP: Yes, that’s right!
DS: ’Cause there’d be a zillion pastors out there on antidepressants, but we just don’t talk about it!
TP: Yeah. And a zillion Christians as well. And so, in that sense, much like—there are certainly pastors who listen to this podcast, but also lots of people who aren’t—in fact, majority of our CCL listeners wouldn’t be pastors. And I imagine that’s the s—that’s kind of probably reversed with your podcast in the sense that many listeners would be in pastoral ministry, but a lot who aren’t, and who learn from hearing the struggles of pastors and issues that pastors are walking through, and not only how to support and minister and encourage their pastors, but how to live the Christian life in the midst of all that—the pain that that involves.
As you look back over the interviews, how many interviews have you done now? How many episodes?
DS: Oh, we’re up to—well, we’re at the end of our second year, so we’re up to 100, yeah.
TP: As you think back over those, which particular issues or—or episodes leap out for you as ones where you’ve particularly been helped and challenged as a pastor yourself, or where has something has emerged that you think has been particularly encouraging?
DS: I suppose there’s three sorts of ones. There’s ones where we’ve spoken particularly into current issues, and the—and there’ve been a few times when as a news guy, I’ve been really interested in speaking into the current issues. There’s other ones where we’ve had particular pastoral insights and discoveries: the one we did with Rhett Harris quite early on, talking about moving from rosters to teams. Now, that’s—that’s an interview that has been—I mean, you get—you get some interviews that get massive listens to, because they’re really really topical, but then some—but then a month later, they’re not relevant, do you know, whereas the Rhett Harris on moving from rosters to teams has, I think, had a massive impact on how lots and lots of churches organise themselves. And—so that’s been colossal.
And then there are ones where somebody shares their heart and, really, what’s going on. I think, for me, talking to David Short at Vancouver, and there was—in that interview, I kind of felt like—we both felt safe, we both massively overshared [Laughter] and—and I don’t know what it—how good it was for everyone else, but it was really good listening to him for me.
TP: What was it about that interview that [inaudible]?
DS: Well, it was just him walking through suffering—him walking through losing his building—
TP: Perhaps you should just fill in for the—for the sake of listeners—
TP: Who David—who is David Short—
TP: —and what was he sharing?
DS: Well, David Short’s a Sydney guy. He’s moved to Vancouver. He’s been pastoring one of the largest Anglican churches in Vancouver for probably—
TP: In Canada—in Canada
DS: —in Canada for 25 years—20 years. And by taking a stand for biblical faithfulness against the revisionist pro-homosexual diocese and structures, he was the minister of the—the church that was really the largest Bible church in evangelical Anglican Bible church in his city, and they lost their whole building. They lost their minister staff housing. All of those resources. And they’d been prepared to pay that price, because they want to be faithful to the Lord Jesus. And—but it’s had a massive personal cost on him. And I just felt like sitting next to him, talking to him, you grew up as a person a bit. And so that was good for me.
I think I felt fairly similar talking to Laurent Mbunda. Laurent Mbunda was a refugee boy in Rwanda. He—he ended up walking to Kenya to go—to somehow get into university. Became a Christian in the refugee camp—his parents were converted in the refugee camp. He’s—he ended up working for Campus Crusade for Christ. He ended up going to do his doctorate in the United States. Becomes Vice President of Compassion for Africa. In charge of looking after the Rwandan refugees in the 1994 massacre. He then becomes a bishop in the Anglican church, and now he’s Primate of Rwanda. And I said to him in his 60s, “And what you’re project? What are you doing in the moment? What are you—what’s your focus at the moment?” He said, “I’m starting the East African Christian University.” What have you done with your life, Tony? [Laughter] And you just think—
TP: Nothing much, really—compared with that!
DS: There’s a—there’s a guy who had—from—from barefoot refugee, the transformation of the work of Christ in his life, and in the way God has used him, and now he’s Vice Chair of GAFCON! You know? And I—I—and some of these African guys that I’ve just had the privilege of meeting—I’m not saying this about Laurent Mbunda; I don’t think it’s true about Laurent Mbunda. I mean, I could beat them in theological chess. But I can learn godliness from them. I can learn what it is to take difficult stands for the Lord Jesus—courageous stands for the Lord Jesus—and—and learn about life from them—about how they treat their spouses and—and making bold decisions for Jesus—and the privilege that I’ve had of being able to do some of these interviews has been that I’ve actually been able to sit with them and learn from them, and—and learn about life and godliness in—in a way that has just been amazing.
TP: What else have you learned as a pastor and as a Christian through these interviews? Because not only, of course, are they a great service to—to all of us in hearing these different sorts of interactions, but they must have changed and challenged you as a pastor. How’s it affected you personally?
DS: Well, there’s—there’s two areas: there’s the—the actual how we do the ministry, and—and often the topics that I’ve chosen have been things that I have wanted to learn about for how I do the ministry. And so—so whether or not that’s an issue of pastoral care or an issue of ministry strategy or an issue of vision or budgeting, I’ve chosen people that would be helpful to me to talk to in those skill areas.
But I think what you’re really getting at is the closer to home stuff—the—the what’s going on—and so that through line of what’s happening with your heart—and—and also, I think, what’s going on internally, and so, I mean, I—I spoke to somebody—spoke to Robert Creech about anxiety in the congregation a couple of weeks ago. And we’d had an issue in our church where people—couple of people were quite anxious about things. And it totally changed how I would—I mean, he told the story of a group of people in his church deciding he was not Trinitarian—that he had a false view of Jesus. And he thought, “Oh, my view of Jesus hasn’t changed. Something else deeper is going on here.” And it actually had got to do with the fact that they’d had a staff change and these people weren’t feeling loved. [Laughter] And so, he said, “I’ll do a little test. I’ll—I’ll go and have coffee with this group of people every week for a month and a half, and I’ll just see if I become orthodox in that [Laughter]—a month from now!” [Laughter] And that’s actually such a mature way of handling an anxiety area in the church that I wouldn’t have thought of! And we had an anxiety area in ourchurch, and I—I’m attempting to do the same thing [Laughter]—to—to just be a non-anxious presence in the area and, I mean, there’s a little area of—of just how I’ve grown as a minister of Jesus.
But, again, that’s still a bit external, do you know? The internal thing is I think—I think it’s to learn to be vulnerable, to learn to—to not present that I’ve got everything together—to—to see that the glory needs to go to Jesus, not to me—to—to see that really 2 Corinthians—that if I can show that I am weak and through that, show that Christ is strong, well, if that’s what we achieve, then—then we’ve done a really good thing for me.
But then, I—I think the other thing that is probably going on internally with me is trying to work out how I can love Jesus more deeply. And I think, for people in our tribe, we’re good at the—the thinking, we’re good at the intellect, but—but how do we really love him? Do you know? And I—and I can give you the John 14 answer—that it’s obedience. But—but what does it really mean for me—to love Christ? Do you know what I mean?
TP: That’s a great question, because love’s a complicated thing, isn’t it. It—is love—love is a form of knowledge in that to love something is to know it deeply and to want to embrace it and move towards it, and participate in it, because it’s so good. In a sense that love flows from a knowledge of the good.
But—but love also is—is a—is affective: it’s—it’s to do with the will and the desire. It’s—it’s knowing the good and it’s wanting and reaching out towards the good. It’s—it’s not just intellectually knowing it’s good; it’s really experiencing and understanding at this deep level—understanding’s not even the right word—that it’s so good and that I—I want it. And I think our—that there are—there’s a tendency to kind of, as you’re kind of pointing it out—pointing out—sort of split our loves between one that’s a—almost like a—a non-affective non-emotive intellectual love, and one that is pure desire and pure affective—as if we need that instead. Whereas, I think, love in—in the Bible and love in reality is always those two things together.
DS: Together. Yeah.
TP: It’s deeply knowledgeable, but it’s deeply affective, because it’s knowledgeable. And vice versa. So I—I know what you’re saying and it’s—it’s a mistake to—to say, “Oh, we’re too intellectual; we need to find a non-intellectual way to love Jesus”—as if it can ever be separated from our knowledge of who he is—a knowledge of him as a person and his revelation of himself to us, which is knowledge: it’s—it’s something we know and can understand.
But it also can’t ever be—if it’s—
DS: That I—if it slip into—intellect only. Yeah.
TP: Exactly! If that’s what it is, it’s a false knowledge. And it’s a knowledge that hasn’t touched your a—your will and your affections—to change them and shape them and make them new.
Yeah, that’s a really great point. We’ve sort of wandered off into an Augustinian discussion of the nature of love and knowledge.
DS: But if I could really love Jesus like that—in—in knowledge and affections together—and my staff team could really love Jesus like that, and my church could really love that—Jesus like that—and the pastors who I communicate could really love that—just might change everything!
TP: That’s the whole goal, isn’t it.
DS: Yeah! [Laughter]
TP: Dominic, you started The Pastor’s Heart because you wanted to help and encourage other pastors. And many non-pastors listen to both to this podcast and to yours. As people who aren’t pastors, how can we love and encourage and help our pastors?
DS: Well, I mean, the first answer that I think of is in Hebrews 13—that you want to submit to your elders so that their work would be a joy. You know? And—I mean, there’s a Bible answer to that question. But if you ask me what I find most encouraging, it—the most discouraging thing is when people are not interacting with the word of God. The most encouraging thing is when they are interacting with the word of God. And so, if somebody says to me, “I’m really looking forwarding to hear—” I mean, I’m doing 1 Peter 4 this week. Our church knows I’m doing 1 Peter 4 this week. But if somebody says to me, “I’m really looking forward to getting a handle on what you think about verse 7”—do you know, ’cause—
TP: “I’ve been reading it and thinking about it all week!”
DS: Yeah! Well that will make me go and work on verse 7 and I’ll be thinking, “Oh, that’s—and I’m not preaching to the wood stack, then; I’m preaching to people who are engaged.” Do you know? And if—if I—if together they’re encouraging me—if I get an email on a Thursday that says, “Hey, there’s an interesting thought.” Do you know? “Just preparing for this Sunday and I just saw this article”—well, that’s the biggest encouragement of all! Do you know? That they’re working with—I don’t need the pat on the back that that was a great illustration; I—I need the—I need the—just the—the we’re together on this journey of knowing God better.
TP: Because that’s, as we’ve said several times, that’s what unites pastors and—and all Christian disciples together. We’re all in the same game. Some of us are set aside to lead and guide and help and take responsibilities that some—that the rest of us don’t have—but all of us are in the same game—to learn, to know and to love that word—to love the word of Jesus and to love Jesus through his word. And as we do all that together, it’s—it’s massively encouraging. That’s—that’s what it means for the word to dwell richly among us, I think.
DS: I suppose it’s thick encouragement. It’s not just saying, “Great illustration.” It’s a—
TP: “Thank for the message, pastor!”
DS: Yeah, it’s a—it’s a “Here’s where I’m at on wrestling with this that you’re at”, which is the same as “Here’s where I’m at in ministering to somebody that I ministered to this week at work because of the encouragement that I got here!” Yeah, it’s just showing that I’m with you on the journey of glorifying Christ.
TP: Well, I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Dominic Steele from The Pastor’s Heart. You can watch The Pastor’s Heart live on Facebook every Tuesday at 2pm—that’s Eastern Standard Time here in Australia—or you can catch up on all the episodes at thepastorsheart.net, or you can stream it via your favourite podcast service.
Now, this podcast is not the only thing we do here at the Centre for Christian Living. Just head on over to our website at ccl.moore.edu.au and you can find out about the regular events we put on, the—the archive of video and audio and text that we have on the website from all our previous events, and more besides.
If you’d like to send us a question—not only about something that you’ve heard on one of these podcasts, or a question about Christian living that you’d like us to address—just write to us at email@example.com.
I’m Tony Payne. ’Bye for now.