part three: Those first months at first baptist church, altoona, kansas
Now as I look back to those yonder years, those first few months as Pastor of FBC in Altoona, Ks.
Tozer wrote: Failure and Success: Tune the Strings. Which describes those in ministry that have been gifted, but have to confess total failure from year to year! He mentions Christians who have not exercised their spiritual gifts, and talents and capacities. Tozer says they have yet to exercise the discipline of girding up the mind and spiritual potential in order to make the necessary progress in the Christian life
Tozer thinks they have abilities but they are not disciplined. "They have a fine mind but it is not sustained . He is like a man with a treasured Stradivarius violin that has never been put in tune. He has never taken time to sit down and tune that priceless instrument, therefore he gets no melody and harmony from it."
Success or Failure in ministry is often viewed differently. You could be successful as a Youth Pastor and be fired. And you will encounter the concept that you are a failure.
You can be successful and get lazy in your preparedness. You can get lazy to maintain the discipline that helps you become successful The reverse is true, you can have failure, and then become discouraged and stop the discipline of girding yourself up to discipline yourself to successful ministry.. You can think you are successful and stop the process of growing in your giftedness, and in your field of ministry.
But living the Christian life, as well as in any field of work, you continue to discipline yourself to learn and grow.
I WILL LIST TEN DISCIPLINES I HAVE DISCOVERED I NEED TO REMEMBER
I am sure there are many more disciplines I need to continue to check out daily.
NEVER GET DISCOURAGED WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT A CHURCH.
Now the Whisnant’s have been in Ceder Lake Indiana, I have a two jobs in the secular world. My son Eric is in a great Christian school. I am having a blast going to Hyles-Anderson’s College, some 3000 students, and we love FBC of Hammond, a church of 20,000. It’s addictive for sure.
We arrived for ministry in Altoona, Kansas. It was a church with about twenty people in a town of 500 people. (twenty attending , membership was higher) Once it was a very prosperous town, but now it’s run down.. The church building needed a lot of work.. The parsonage was very old, and the salary is about 80% less than what you were getting. You learn that the last five men who came to check out the church left as early as they could.. Mrs. York recorded those events very well.
My first point of view when I arrived in Altoona, those first few months, much changed in the next year.
You arrive and discover that, for the most part, you have little in common with the people in the church. I am totally a city person, in a totally farming environment. I don’t fish, hunt, shoot, pick corn, or drive a Chevy or Ford truck. I wear a three piece suit and do not wear farmers’ bib overalls. I preach from the Bible for an hour, and the content is full of theological significance.
The people are used to very lay terms and fifteen minutes sermons. I take notes to the pulpit, and they are thinking, "what is he talking about" And none of these people are really Kansas Rednecks! I thought maize was short corn. I didn’t know what soybeans were. I had no idea what alfalfa was-- well I knew he was that boy on the Little Rascals. Oh I could go on this same line I am sure for another page or two. But you might get the impression of what I am saying.
I was a take charge person. Let’s get this project done now! Consent to doing it right and the best that is reasonable. I am in your face with the truth as I know it. Here are the plans for growth and getting the building up to standard. Shall I go on? I sounded like a football coach who has taken over as coach for Kansas. I said, "we will have a record of nine wins and one loss, (to Ohio State) in the next year." Funny.
I am now the pastor of a twenty five year old church program that has averaged seventeen people in those years. They topped out with thirty-five people one year when they had a group of people who were a split from another church. And I am going to bring this church program up to par in the next year. This church has had how many coaches, oh preachers? Ten I believe. What did I know that they didn’t know!
When you attend the Hyles Pastor’s School several times, and the TRBC Super Conference, you will get this disorder. "Hyles Growth Disorder".
Maybe if I had gone to Roanoke, Virginia, or coached Virginia Cavaliers Football team which has eleven assistant coaches and say "next year we will be nine and one," that would be possible. Maybe if I had pastored a church in Roanoke like Fellowship Baptist, I could believe an attendance of over 500 plus.
The people in FBC Altoona would say, "Charles, this is not FBC in Hammond, this is not Hammond, Indiana. You are thinking bigger than we are." You are reaching over our heads with all your teaching and preaching and ideas." .
Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant
Checked by Charity Whisnant