Thursday, June 18, 2009

Crabb on the need for involvement in people’s lives

Since college I have appreciated the writings of Larry Crabb. Today I read a note from a friend in which he included an excerpt from Crabb’s book, Inside Out. I have pasted in below a smaller portion of the excerpt where Crabb makes the point that exposition alone is not enough for our pastoral work. This is one of the chief concerns of this blog. We must be involved in the oversight of souls not just proclamation. Proclamation is crucial but it is supposed to be wed with real, personal involvement with our people.

Perhaps it is time to screw up our courage and attack the sacred cow: we must admit that simply knowing the contents of the Bible is not a sure route to spiritual growth. There is an awful assumption in evangelical circles that if we can just get the Word of God into people’s heads, then the Spirit of God will apply it to their hearts. That assumption is awful, not because the Spirit never does what the assumption supposes, but because it has excused pastors and leaders from the responsibility to tangle with people’s lives. Many remain safely hidden behind pulpits, hopelessly out of touch with the struggles of their congregations, proclaiming the Scriptures with a pompous accuracy that touches no one.

May God give us the grace to move boldly, graciously, with the Gospel into the lives of our people. Anything less fails to be pastoral ministry. Lord willing, I will speak to this issue at this upcoming conference at Union.


Jeff Lash said...

Looks like another helpful conference from Union. I might have to find a way to get down there for that one.

I think this is a good challenge by Crabb. Here's my question. Doesn't his challenge presuppose a certain size of church? As a pastor, how do you accomplish intimate involvement in a church of 5000 members? I understand the concept of multiple elders but you would need an extremely large group of elders to see this type of involvement. It seems to me that this statement presupposes a particular answer to the question of church size and philosophy of ministry.

Ray Van Neste said...

You are exactly right Jeff.
This is why Richard Baxter, Mr. Oversight, siad no church shuld be larger than can be properly overseen.