Q. What is your greatest joy as a pastor?
To have a front-row seat to see God work in the lives of dear people. Just last Sunday, a young woman came up with tears of joy to explain how she met Jesus a few weeks earlier. Her father died a few years ago, and she said God now felt like the Father filling that loss. She also reported praying for the first time in her life and that God answered every prayer to show her He loved her and was listening!
Q. How do you put on the armor of God to handle the attacks of the enemy?
Two things come to mind.
One, Satan didn't even show up until Adam and Eve were married with a ministry calling on their lives. Things start with my wife and me sticking close to the Lord together. Grace is a pastor's daughter, my high school sweetheart, bought me my first Bible, is my best friend, and we have been faithfully married for more than 25 years.
Two, good church governance is crucial. Grace and I also have the blessing of loving accountability in the context of safe, healthy, godly relationships with older pastors. Good church governance greatly helps promote and defend healthy marriages and families.
Good governance at home and church is a way of protecting what God is doing and providing a shield. I also asked Grace for her thoughts: "When we fight against the enemy together, we first need to make sure we don't see each other as an enemy. Then we do battle, as Ephesians 6 says, by praying at all times in the Spirit. Prayer and Bible reading are an essential priority for ministry couples."
Q. As a student of the Word, what are your study habits?
I generally preach through books of the Bible, and a sermon takes an hour or more to preach. The sermon itself takes two to three hours to prepare each week, sometimes a little less and sometimes a little more.
I like to have my preaching schedule penciled out a few years in advance. This allows me to start studying so far in advance that once the week comes to preach, I am not scrambling. I'm also a huge fan of Logos Bible Software, which I use daily.
I think preparing myself as the messenger is at least as important as preparing the message, so I like time to pray and listen a lot.
I also learn a lot by getting our staff and their spouses together every week to discuss the Scripture I'm preaching in a free-flowing relational context.
Q. How has the Holy Spirit become real in your life?
Every pastor needs a pastor. In recent years, God has brought a handful of godly older pastors and their wives into our lives. They pray for us, encourage us, invest in our marriage and children and are one of the great blessings in this season. The Holy Spirit continually uses these pastors in our lives to help us "keep in step with the Spirit," as Paul exhorts.
The Holy Spirit helps us become emotionally healthy and helps us enjoy healthy relationships. In recent years, the Holy Spirit has done these two things for us in deep ways.
Q. With all your writing and speaking and church planting, how do you enter into rest?
I learned three things the hard way. One, your first ministry must be to your family. Grace and our five children have to be the priority on my calendar, in my budget and on my heart. We are in the best season of our lives as a family, and everyone loves Jesus and is serving together at the church we planted together.
Two, self-care is not selfish. I did not eat well, sleep well or take care of myself for many years. I had an intestinal ulcer—twice. Also, severe Seasonal Affective Disorder and overwork caused me to completely wear out my adrenal glands—twice. A leader is often far more gracious to others than he is to himself. We have completely reset our lives so that rest is the first priority.
Three, you either take a break, or you break. What would Jesus do? He'd turn His phone off and find a hammock once in a while.
Mark Driscoll is senior and founding pastor of The Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is the author of many books, including his new release, Spirit-Filled Jesus.
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