Charge to the Minister, Session, and Congregation
To the Minister
To the Minister
And the Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, “ ‘Return, faithless Israel, declares the Lord. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the Lord; I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the Lord your God and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice, declares the Lord. Return, O faithless children, declares the Lord; for I am your master; I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. “ ‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. And when you have multiplied and been fruitful in the land, in those days, declares the Lord, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the Lord.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. In those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers for a heritage.
This passage comes in the middle of the Lord’s declaration of judgment upon his people for their unfaithfulness. In particular he has condemned the priests, the prophets, and the shepherds for unfaithful and idolatrous leadership. As the Lord usually does, prophetic judgment and condemnation are not left to hang by themselves. We will normally also find a word of promise, restoration, renewal, and love.
There are two things that I want to share with you in this charge Pastor. First, God always offers grace to those who fall.
“Return, faithless Israel, declares the Lord. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful declares the Lord; I will not be angry forever.”
“Return, O faithless children, declares the Lord; for I am your master; I will take you one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.”
The mark of your ministry must be the extension of God’s grace. So even as we are called to be truthful to people when the fall, the purpose of exposing the sin is to extend the grace, kindness, and desire of Christ for their redemption.
Secondly, what does the Lord’s love look like here? What is the evidence of his mercy? He says in v. 15, “I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” This promise culminates in our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. But note the significant fact that those who lead God’s people are called shepherds. They tend his flock. They feed his people.
Here it is Pastor Yancie. Your call as a shepherd here at Grace Meridian Hill isn’t simply about getting the right job at the right church. It’s about God’s promise to give his people shepherds who have a heart like his. My charge to you brother is, feed us. Feed us with the knowledge and understanding that comes from God’s heart through his word. Feed us in such a way that makes it hard for us to stubbornly follow our own evil hearts. Do this for us by a daily dependence on the Spirit of God to never stop shaping and forming your own heart to look like his.
To the Session & Congregation
To the Session & Congregation
To the elders and to the Grace Meridian Hill congregation here is my solemn charge to you. These words can easily be misunderstood, but I’m going to say them anyway. Receive this man, Pastor Remargo Yancie, as God’s gift to you. Not because he’s going to be perfect. Not because he won’t ever disappoint you. But because our God is a promise making and a promise keeping God. God is the one who promised to give his people shepherds who follow his heart.
So, respond to God’s provision of this pastor in your midst by praying for him before you criticize him. He’s not above critique because he’s sheep too. But your gratitude to God should be reflected in your prayers that the Spirit of God is drawing Pastor Yancie’s heart close and closer to his Savior, and his heart is being shaped more and more to reflect the heart of God.
Secondly, know that you will not see all of the ways he is laboring to feed this congregation with knowledge and understanding. Know that your view is limited. But where and when you do see and experience his labor of love for you, encourage him. Pastor Yancie knows that his labor in the Lord is not in vain. He know it. But God is often pleased to affirm that through his people’s encouragement. So when the Lord uses him to preach a message that hurts because it exposes the stubbornness of your heart, let him know that. When he’s just present with you in your pain, as you come through your valley let him know that his presence made a difference.
Lastly, encourage his heart by loving and supporting Kristal and his children. As he labors to be a faithful shepherd, they will often bear an inordinate load. Kristal will know what is weighing on his heart as he serves you. It will weigh on her heart as well. His ministry of presence among you will often mean that he’s absent from his home. I don’t say this to guilt you or make you feel sorry for your pastor. I say this to charge you to pray. I say this to charge you with expressing love, care, grace, and support for his family.
For however long he is called to minister among you, this is how can encourage his faithful and fruitful service.