EP 199 – DON’T MISS PEOPLE AS YOU MINISTER
Welcome Bootcampers! We got our math right! Next week we’re celebrating our 200th EP! We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line about how the Bootcamp has helped you!
In this EP the guys take some time to break down their thoughts about the importance of not missing people in the midst of doing ministry.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Loving people is central to our calling:
- Greatest commandment (and the second is like it) Love God and Love Others
- John 13 – Jesus says people will know us by our love.
- Loving and leading people well requires that we LISTEN well
- Patch Adams says his initial interview with a new patient is 3-4 hours
- “In the midst of a turbulent, often chaotic world, ministers are called to be contemplatives, to be people who ‘listen’ to the voice of God and to the voices of those who suffer.” – Henri Nouwen
- James 1:19 – My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger,
- Community is a central human need
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer said “Christian community is like the Christian’s sanctification. It is a gift of God which we cannot claim.”
- Acts 2:42, 44-47 – “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer… All the believers were together and had everything in common… And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
- Its ok to not be ok but its not ok to stay there
- Loving people means LEANING into sanctification
We’d love to hear your thoughts, drop us a line, voice mail, comment.
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JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are. Back at it again. Back at the bootcamp. Bob, I hope you’re ready for the next episode. I am coming fresh off of vacation at the nicest ministry retreat center I have ever seen or heard of for pastors.
Bob Bickford: Amazing. Where, so tell us about it. Where is it at?
JimBo Stewart: it is in, outside of, it’s in Rim Bear. South Carolina, I don’t know if I’m pronouncing that correctly. R e m b e r T. Very rural area, historic with the, revolutionary War and Civil War, in this area. and this family who has a lot of land and have built nice houses, cottages for pastors and missionaries to come.
And, man, it was, I think it’s called Pine Grove Plantation. And it was mind blowingly, nice, refreshing, really great pool and beautiful scenery, uh, pond and kayaking the whole deal. Man, it was pretty incredible. So,
Bob Bickford: Man, that’s great. I, I love it when, folks invest in pastors and. Give them opportunities to get away and, and [00:01:00] refresh. It’s much needed. And I, I think some of our listeners, man, we, we’ve talked about this a couple episodes ago. if you are not taking some downtime during the summer, please avail yourself to it.
And, we talk about on that podcast, and I think we even had Brian Croft mention, A lot of guys are afraid to leave cuz they’re afraid that they are going to re-key their office and move their study books and all that sort of thing. And it’s like, if you are not taking a break because you are afraid of people, you might need to consider a call to another church, you
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I mean, just take the break and if you know, maybe they do re-key it, who
Bob Bickford: and take it as the, take it as the Lord’s sovereignty. And you had your last Sunday and you, you didn’t get fired publicly or something.
JimBo Stewart: I mean, that’s easy for us to talk to. I’m sure that’s a pretty horrible experience.
But there, there are some really great places, uh, I mean the Shepherd’s House. Talk about Brian Croft and Practical shepherding Shepherd’s House they have in Louisville. You can, there’s some great opportunities out there for pastors to [00:02:00] have, cheap or free.
inexpensive, vacation getaway opportunities. And so we’ve talked about all that. Another episode, Hey Bob. When I last week’s episode, I had my math all wrong. I said, if my math was right, that was episode 1 99. My epi, my math was not right, but today my math is right cause I’m not doing it impromptu.
I looked into it. And this is episode 1 99.
Bob Bickford: Wow.
JimBo Stewart: So that means next week is 200 you don’t wanna miss next week. It’s gonna be different and fun and good if all the things we’re trying to make happen happen. It’s gonna be a really good opportunity, just to learn more about us. I think, it’s gonna be an interesting episode.
But here’s what I would love to do, is I would love for you to be a part of that episode. So we’re gonna have a link to a survey in the show notes where you can leave, a written, I, I had a thing, I have to look at the settings where you can submit a audio file. A lot of people have trouble getting that to work, so you can also [00:03:00] email us.
And here’s the deal. You can email us anytime, not just for episode 200. Replant bootcamp gmail.com. And if you will email us, uh, if you email us an audio file, we just might most likely use that in episode 200. but you can always email us. There’s no questions or whatever. We would love to hear from you.
what’s meant something to you, how’s the bootcamp helped you or served you? or just made you laugh a lot, even if the, how we’ve helped you is just good restaurant recommendations. Like, we would love to hear that. And, And so, so hit us up, let us know, and look forward to episode 200 next week.
Bob Bickford: I love it. I’m excited. Jimbo, this, this absolutely Siemens, our podcast as a, a podcast that separates itself from many others cuz most don’t get past a handful of episodes. And so we’ve been doing this thing for. 200 sessions, and I think it’s been a lot of fun.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, there’s a couple bonus episodes in there too. So we’re over 200 episodes total already, but, this is episode [00:04:00] 1 99. Hey, and for episode 1 9 99, here’s what I was thinking about, Bob. I was talking with Bob Bumgarner recently and he challenged me to do something that seemed really random. He said, I want you to go watch rewatch or watch the movie Patch Adams.
and I was like, okay. I mean, I remember enjoying that as a child, and. He said, go watch Patch Adams and think about it through the realm of church revitalization and renewal, especially our role from an association in serving dying churches and declining churches and, leading them to renewal. And Bob, have you seen the movie?
Have, are you a Patch Adams fan? Have you watched the movie Patch Adams?
Bob Bickford: Jimbo, sadly, I think that was during my, uh, homeschool, military sequester days when I was disallowed from all
JimBo Stewart: So,
Bob Bickford: I’m
JimBo Stewart: ha ha. Happy shiny people. Bill Gothard.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, well, I don’t think we want to go there. Derail, derail the whole episode. We might, we, this might be the last episode if we, went, did that Jimbo, but, uh, no, you know [00:05:00]what? I think it was during, I can’t remember what year it came out.
But I, I might have been in the, throes of youth ministry in a church with choir robes and handbells and fighting it out for just trying to survive.
I think that’s probably what was going on, and I didn’t have time for movies. I was just trying to survive, I think.
JimBo Stewart: Well, it’s a movie based on a true story about this guy, hunter Adams, nicknamed Patch Adams, who, had started pre-med school and then, was disillusioned by how impersonal it was and, cold and clinical and. So he went to, I, I looked into, this is not all in the movie. I, I did extra research for you.
Bob Bickford: Oh man.
JimBo Stewart: so from there he went on to be a, a lion tamer. a maintenance man. I mean, just all sorts of random things. And he became disillusioned with life. And this is where you see in the movie it picks up, is he becomes disillusioned with life and became suicidal, had suicidal thoughts, and so he [00:06:00] self-admitted into a psychiatric, inpatient place to try to help him with his suicidal thoughts.
What he experienced there was. More impersonal, cold clinical. They’re not even listening to him. and you know, when they’re, they’re counseling him. And so he finds a rejuvenated joy in life when he begins to try to just be helpful to some of his fellow patients in there. And he is able to help them.
He’s able to help them by laughing, by being funny, by being goofy and silly. and so it really kind of rejuvenated his soul and he thought, man, what if. What if we brought silliness and goofiness and joy into medicine and we’re more personal? And so he decides to go to medical school, goes to medical school.
all sorts of hygienes happen in middle sch me medical school that are hilarious, uh, in the movie. I don’t know how many others are true. and then he graduates from medical school and basically starts running a free hospital with like, 12 other physicians living in a house for like [00:07:00] 12 years and, they’re all living in this six bedroom house and like patients are coming in and out 24 hours a day and they’re hanging out.
And the point was, that I got, that made me think about an episode for today is how easy it is when we’re doing ministry to miss the people that we are serving. And we’ll just get focused on programs and processes. And Patch Adams in the movie says, you treat a disease and it’s win and lose. You treat a person and I guarantee you, you will win no matter the outcome.
and his point was that it wasn’t just about delaying death, but about quality of life and. they just got me thinking, you know, I, I’ve, I know I’ve experienced seasons of ministry where I was so wrapped up in, designing programs, running programs, processes and policies and, and all those other things that, it felt like people were in the way.
And I’m sure you’ve heard the old joke, Bob, boy ministry would be a whole lot easier if it wasn’t for all [00:08:00] the people,
right. And it’s an old joke that people laugh at, but it’s really a horrible joke. It’s a horrible way to think about it. And so, I, I wanna focus on learning a little bit from, let me emphasize, learn a little bit.
Patch Adams is not a guy you need to go learn a lot of things from, but we can learn a little bit from this idea of, Hey, let’s not miss the people in the midst of all the programs and the processes and policies.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, I think so. I, I think one of the places where laughter may occur the least is in a dying church.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
Bob Bickford: And particularly with those who are tasked with, thinking about the future of the church and the affairs of the church, that there’s a, there’s a lot of somberness and seriousness there. unless they’re just in complete denial, I’ve run into that before too.
but I think, uh, bringing some joy into a, a difficult situation is important. And so let’s, let’s jump in. Let’s do it.
JimBo Stewart: Well, you know, if you think about it, Bob loving people is pretty central to this whole Christianity thing. right. Like,[00:09:00] I mean, When Jesus was asked, Hey, what is the greatest of all the commandments? And what is the answer, right? Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And then the second is like it love your neighbor as yourself.
And then John 13 was he tell us. But that, we’ll, we will be, people will know that we are his followers by the way that we love each other. And so, we can move on from Patch Adams a little bit and just realize the scriptures actually point us pretty poignantly to this idea that loving people is a pretty big deal when it comes to this whole following Jesus thing.
Bob Bickford: Absolutely. I think we, and you’ve talked about this before where we, in one of your talks where we tolerate people. and we forebear with one another. And there, there’s something that precedes, I mean, love, love, love does a number of things, like love bears all things, hopes, all things, believe, all believes all things, those sorts of things that, that it says in first Corinthians 13.
But, um, I think love, lo love like encouragement for just people in [00:10:00] general may be in short supply these days. And, particularly in the, in the Christian community, in the church and those who’ve have. Claim to have faith in Christ and follow Christ love is to be one of our most significant characteristics
in the way
JimBo Stewart: Hmm.
Bob Bickford: to one another.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I think part of, you know, to, to pull one more lesson from Patch Adam. Not even, I mean it’s partially, this is shown in the movie, but, you know, I’m a nerd and I, I don’t just glance at things. I love to research. And so I looked into the real patch items and what’s he doing today? I watched a couple videos of, uh, some talks Ted Talk type things he’s done.
And, one he has in the movie, he has this dream of building a hospital, that like. Is this goofy, crazy looking hospital. I, I still don’t think they’ve built it. Uh, I think they’ve broken ground, but like, it’s been a whole deal. But he said as they see patients, this was so crazy to me. his initial interview with a new patient in this free hospital thing that they have is three to four hours long.
and like they go to the house, they visit people, they get to know people, everything. and so,[00:11:00]I think one, we’ve gotta be willing to stop long enough to listen. and that’s hard to do. I know for me, when I’m really task-oriented mode, it’s hard for me to be good at listening. Henry Nowan says, in the midst of a turbulent, often chaotic world, ministers are called to be contemplatives, to be people who listen to the voice of God and to the voices of those who suffer. And this, you know, this I think goes to the idea of like, eliminate all hurry and manage your time well so that you can do deep work. And there’s something about when we can move away from just accomplishing tasks and getting to people, that’s gonna require a lot of good sitting and patiently listening.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, I think this makes the case for the established church and also the church that needs to be revitalized, right? this is, something that you can do, in those kinds of settings. I, as you’re reading that, A quote from now on. I’m thinking of all of the descriptions of the church planters that I know, and the profiles I know, and this is, this doesn’t show up on, their [00:12:00] list, right.
Typically. And that’s not, I’m not trying to, to cast stones at them in any, any kind of form or fashion, but man, they’re trying to start something from nothing. They’re an entrepreneur. They’re trying to, you know, shout at the dirt and raise up a church. So I think that it’s a totally different, Context in, in a lot of ways.
But what happens often is when they get a group of people together, you know what, Jimbo, this is exactly what they want. They wanna be listened to, they wanna be heard. And so I think the tension is, and all the things that you have to do, you gotta set aside time to make people the Lord, you’re number one.
and people, you’re number two. And then all the systems and all the structures and, and all the activities need to serve those two top priorities.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. You know, my dad did something really well as I was growing up. He was always really good at listening to me. I don’t even know if he was really paying attention to what I was saying. A lot of the times, I, you know, I, I feel like I, I, I, I reap a little bit of how much I talked to my dad with, with my daughter Magnolia.
She can talk, she talks in her sleep, cuz she never stops talking and, [00:13:00] I, you know, I loved playing golf with my dad, but I really think my favorite thing was the ride to the golf course and the ride home and talking to my dad, and even when there were conflicts and things that I disagreed with him or I disagreed with my mom and there was some issue, my dad would always listen to me.
And he always made me feel respected. Now, I cannot remember a single time Bob, when I ever changed my dad’s mind on anything. as much as he listened to me. I don’t think I ever convinced him of my side on anything, but I still left feeling loved and respected. And I think even in conflict resolution, this idea of listening well, In order to understand is such a key skill, like, man, if we could just sit and listen and really try to hear people, and where they’re coming from, because there are, listen, there are conflicts, there are issues and there are things to be dealt with and there are sin to be confronted and there are traditions to be challenged.
And if we’re not careful, then it, it can feel like the people have become the enemy. Of what we’ve been called to do, [00:14:00] and that’s where Ephesians six is such a great reminder that it’s not flesh and blood that we fight against, right? It’s, and, so these people aren’t people we’re fighting against and part of.
Focusing on them is we have to listen to them. and I think, Bob, there’s a lot of ways we could talk about listening. Like, are your sermons even, like, are your sermons effective? Are your, are, people understanding what you’re saying? Are, are they helping them? Well, you don’t know that until you ask some questions and you listen and you create ways to get feedback.
R. The programs you’re doing, leading people into deeper maturity and, and onto mission, and, and the things that aren’t as easy to measure, right? Which we talk about a lot on this podcast. The importance of things that aren’t easy to measure. Well, the, you can’t measure ’em, but you can ask questions and you can listen.
And then the last thing I thought about it was with this listen, was one of my favorite things I’ve ever learned on our podcast. Was sitting with Johnny Rumba and him, him talking about just the power of when he doesn’t interim, and he’ll sit [00:15:00] down with these groups of two to three people at a time and he’ll ask him just a few questions, right?
One, tell me your Jesus story. How did you come to know the Lord? two, tell me your church story. How did you come to be a part of this particular church? And then his, his last question, did anybody else know any of that about these
Bob Bickford: Mm-hmm.
JimBo Stewart: Right? I mean, I think about that often, just how powerful of an exercise that has to be.
Bob Bickford: Yeah. and people wanna be able to share the, I think we, we live in a culture, and particularly I think the Baptist culture has been, we have times for conversation, but meaningful in depth conversation about your story with God and your story with a, a group of people, we don’t really. Get to, to do that often.
And what we find out, a lot of times is when, I was around, a family friend and they, their daughter went to camp recently and one thing she said is, it was so great to actually get to know people and not have a phone in your hand. Right. There’s a novel idea right there. But I would say even for our, our older folks, our older generations, it’s so good to get to know people [00:16:00] and hear stories outside of the.
Limited time for discussion before the Sunday school lesson or before the church service starts, and all those sorts of things we’re, we’re oftentimes in a circle listening to one person or we’re sitting in rows listening to one person, and we don’t make time necessarily to listen to one another deep deeply about.
Important things and asking good questions. So I, I think, I love this idea of, bringing that back into the church and into the community, particularly as a practice, as a pastor, like really hearing some somebody and then asking the follow up question. I, recently connected with a guy, and he always says this when you’re talking to him, he says, Hey, tell me more.
Like, tell me more. And it was like, oh, okay. And then you find yourself like really sharing, more about that. And he’s learning and you’re just, he’s discovering and he’s getting to know you and he’s also understanding who you are, that sort of thing. So I, I think listening is a, uh, an important practice for all of us as brothers and sisters in Christ, but particularly as pastors.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I mean, nothing makes you feel more unloved [00:17:00] than basically being ignored or not heard.
I mean, I dunno. I’m sure Bob even. Hundred people that like, they talk so much and it, and that even when they were, when when you stop talking for a second, they jump in and you can tell they’re not even responding to what you were saying, like you were just in their way of their monologue.
And they just keep go. Like, and man, that I, I always notice that when that happens to me. And it, it makes me feel disrespected and unloved and like, and at the very least I’m like, This is probably not somebody I’m gonna be like really good friends with. Like, if every time we talk, you’re not actually even listening to me.
But then I always try to flip that and think, am I doing that? Am I not listening? How am I, well, am I doing that? And so that leads to one of the things that Patch Adams really wanted. this comes out in the movie, but it it, comes out in some of his other stuff that I saw later. he really desires this idea of community.
I, I am going to assume [00:18:00] Patch Adams is not a believer. just based on some things I’ve heard him say. but there’s something, he has this like thing in his heart where God puts this in all of us, this need for community and, and, and belonging and. I don’t know that patch ever really found exactly what he’s looking to him.
He’s still alive from what I know. And, you know, Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, Christian community is like the Christian sanctification. It’s a gift of God. We cannot claim, we, we can’t just proclaim community. We can’t just say, oh, we’re like, you know, a lot of churches will say welcome home, or We are a family here or, but in reality, we don’t listen to you and you just need to listen to our lecture, and we don’t actually build real community.
And part of that is Bob community’s inefficient.
community is a slow burn, compared to a really good program, a really good thing that can blow up and build real fast. Community is slow and it’s bumpy and it’s [00:19:00] circuitous and it’s completely inefficient, but. I honestly think this ought to be one of our greatest goals in church renewal is building deep community joy with each other, loving each other, laughing together, and just enjoying being in each other’s presence.
and I’m not trying to simplify or you know, or chicken soup for the soul, this thing, but there, there is something to like actually enjoying being around the people that are part of your biblical community that is so important. If you look at, you know, acts 2 42, and then later in 44th and 47, they, they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship to the breaking of bread into prayer.
And then it says, all the believers were together and had everything in common, and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. This is, it’s, there is, there is this need for us to not just gather together on a weekly basis and listen to, you know, one group sing songs and one guy talk.
but to actually really have community [00:20:00] together.
Bob Bickford: A hundred percent. and c communities, not necessarily assured just because you’re doing those things that, that are,
tilling the ground to create it, right? But you, but you’re going, you’re talking about something that is, the, inborn need of every single human being that’s ever walked the, the face of this earth.
And, and it goes back to Genesis, where the creation, is, is done in community, father, son, and Holy Spirit. men and women are created in the image of God, right? And, and so, and that Godhead is that trinity, that holy trinity that lives in community. And so, what I would say is you gotta fight for community.
And you gotta, you gotta realize that it’s not a given. And it’s, it’s one of those kind of two-edged swords, Jimbo, that you work really hard to achieve it. And then once you get it, you gotta work really hard to protect it. And value it, and you’ve gotta be, and part of being in community is you learn that in every single one of us, we bring something into a relationship that blesses, but it also works against the relationship at the same time.
[00:21:00] Right. So there’s, there’s part of me that you are gonna love and there’s part of me that’s gonna frustrate you and true, true community is when love rises above the part that frustrates another person, right? I love you enough to, I’m gonna stick with you and I’m gonna be with you, and I’m gonna endure with you because I love you.
And, and that’s what community’s all about. And it calls, Calls forth the best in people, and it also calls out the parts that are not the best and seeks to bring those into, a place where the Lord can work on that. And the Lord works on you in community, right? He, he makes you more of who he wants you to be.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, that’s part of it. I mean, like, so Hebrew says that we stir one another up into good works and that idea of like stirring is, you know, almost like rubbing up against each other. And, and so part of real community, part of really loving each other and part of focusing on people. Rather than programs and processes, or at least more than those, is the idea of it’s okay to not be okay, but it’s not okay to stay there.
And loving people means leaning into their sanctification and leaning into your sanctification and pursuing maturity. And, and like you [00:22:00] said, loving it is in community, is also calling out where things need to be called out and helping people become who God has really called to be. Guys. This is, this is so much fun doing this podcast for you guys.
With you guys. We want to hear from you. One of the things we wanna do is we wanna listen. and so how has this been helpful? How could it be more helpful? What are other things that you want us to address? You can always reach us Replant firstname.lastname@example.org. We would especially love to hear from you this week, as quickly as you can.
We would love to, to bring it into episode 200 and, and have you celebrate with us. and we want to keep serving you guys and serving with you guys. And so, let us listen from you, let us learn from you, and let us know how we can keep serving you well.