My dear son,
Stay true to the Word. Remember your predecessors and how they have rightly divided the Truth as they formed our Message of the Brethren Ministry and Statement of Doctrine. You and I both have adhered to those teachings as we have ministered. Do not be swayed by the teachings of the popularspeakers of the present or future age if they divert from the Truth we both understand to be what God has declared in His infallible Word.
Be available to your flock. You have been entrusted with the care of those in your ministry. Do not Lord over them but encourage them to follow you as you follow Christ. Paul realized when he wrote that advice how much of a responsibility it will be to be consistently following Christ. There will be those who look for weakness in your life and be certain that they must look long and hard to find any. The only way that is possible is for you to daily surrender to Christ in your personal devotions. In that, you can always be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit as trials and temptations come about in your life. Regarding technology, use it wisely to make you more effective in your ministry and do not let it be a distraction. Be certain your flock can reach you at all times but use wisdom when they abuse that privilege. You are their caregiver but not their slave. Be a slave to Christ and His Spirit will help you in the discipline of being available. This is the only way you can effectively execute the next point.
Guard your family. You are first of all accountable to God with the way you nurture your wife and children. If you cannot be effective as a spiritual leader in your home, it will be difficult for the flock to see you as an effective spiritual leader in your church. Do not cheat them of your time, your love and your attention. You may question how you can both care for your flock and care for your family. You can’t! (on your own) You must consistently seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in these areas. Satan will use your indiscretion here as a wedge to compromise your ministry for Christ.
Guard your heart. The perceived power of your position may cause pride to cause you to fail in the above responsibilities. Remember that Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. You must be a servant to your flock not their Master. He is Christ. Be careful about the technology of the day. Even in this present time, pornography, social media, sinful entertainment is one click away on your computer. Guard your heart at all times when using that tool. Protect yourself from the inappropriate attention given by needy, lonely women who try to use you to fill the void of insecurity and loneliness in their lives. Satan will use this trap to compromise not only your relationship with Christ but the ministry of your local church.
Remain in Christ as the first goal of your life. Never leave your first love. Keep that emotional tie with Christ even as you mature in your understanding of his grace, and mercy. Avoid the snare of religious routine and tradition and enjoy the pure passion of being that Child of the Most High which gives you and all you serve the joy of knowing you are headed to an eternity win heaven.
May God bless you as you serve Him,
Pastor Jake Snyder