Some congregations, alas, are so contentious and full of strife and bickering that a pastor is lucky to escape. But the Philippian church was not like this! So why is Pastor Paul so concerned?
Here’s a secret you know as a pastor, but a confidence you may not have shared with your congregation: A pastor loves being the shepherd of a flock that is happy, that takes its food without complaining, that romps playfully in the meadows of peace and tranquility, and that gets along with other like-minded ovines. We rejoice when there’s no cantankerous head-butting or self-pitying bleating. We love happy, peaceful congregations. And if you’re the pastor of such a flock, kudos and good on you, because usually the pastor sets the tone and leads the way by example as well as exhortation.
This is pertinent because, of all the churches to which the Rev. Apostle Paul writes, the church at Philippi was, without a doubt, the congregation that gave him the most pleasure. Philippi, after all, was the site of his first European convert. It was there he landed after responding to the “Macedonian Call” (see Acts 16). It was the place where he and his companion...
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