Tom Kroessig is an Ambassador Field Director volunteer for Promise Keepers, serving Fayette and Coweta Counties and beyond. His mission is to be a resource for local Pastors and their men and to act as a liaison between them and the national Promise Keepers ministry. The goal of Promise Keepers is effective ministry to men.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Church: Battleship or Cruise Ship?

At the Friday morning Log House Bible Study for men, we are working our way through John Eldredge's book EPIC, using the companion video series. In this morning's lesson Eldredge cautioned us to remember the reality of Satan in "the epic story" in which we find ourselves. One man posed penetrating question, "Is the Church a battleship that we have converted to a cruise ship?" Have we so little regard for the Enemy that we have set about to make the time on the ocean comfortable? When trouble comes, do we resort to rearranging the deck chairs? (adding new programs?) If we do encounter the Enemy and a battle is inevitable, will anyone remember how to fire the guns?

Coach Bill McCartney, one of the founders of Promise Keepers and former President of PK (Dr. Tom Fortson has been the President for almost four years now), once said that one of the most serious problems affecting the Church was that "we are in a war but most men are not at war!" How about you? Are you at war? If you are not, then you can be sure that others as well as yourself are at risk.

What to do? Well, as any good military leader knows, troops need to be organized, trained, and equipped and they need a chain of command (competent leadership). It would be utterly foolish to enter the battle alone, which is why you need your (band of) brothers (fellow warriors) to be next to you. The training and equipping comes through discipleship and spiritual disciplines, including prayer and Bible study. Don't go before you are ready, but get yourself and others ready, put yourselves under the leadership of the Lord, and then go! Then when the Enemy confronts you, you'll know how to fire the guns!

Friday, October 19, 2007


OCTOBER is Clergy Appreciation Month (as if they needed a month in which we should show them our appreciation!)

1 THESSALONIANS 5:12-13a instructs us, "Now we urge you, brothers to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in highest regard because of their work."

I have seen a number of surveys about pastors over the last 10 or 12 years that indicate that in any given year, up to half of all pastors seriously consider leaving the ministry. I believe this can be trace back directly to their congregations, particularly the men, not respecting, supporting, or encouraging these pastors. It's become popular in some churches to call the pastor by his (or her) first name. It does sound humble for a pastor to say, "I'm not anyone special. Please, just call me by my first name." Unfortunately, this can lead to the perception that the pastor is "just one of the guys." The problem is that this is not Biblical. The pastor is special because he is called by God and appointed to oversee a local church. Pastors are also tasked with preaching the Word of God, which distinguishes them from the rest of the church.

Pastors are not perfect, but do not be too hasty to criticise them. Here's a rule of thumb: You should spend at least twice as much time praying for your pastor as criticising them. My guess is that that will lead to much less criticism and much more empathy (appreciation, support, and encouragement) for your pastor. For those of you who wonder how to begin to pray for your pastor, start with these areas:

  1. Pray for you pastor's protection from attacks from any and all sources. This includes praying for his family, too!
  2. Pray for his safety, health, and rich and abundant time in study and in prayer.
  3. Pray that your pastor would "boldly preach the Word of God."
  4. Pray that the Lord would "bless the work of" your pastor's hands.
My prayer for each pastor is that they will be respected, supported, and encouraged by members of their congregation. If you want to make your pastor's day, walk boldly up to him and tell him that you are praying for them. See if he doesn't act like he's appreciated.

Remember that showing appreciation for your pastor is really a year-round opportunity, not just for October.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Out of the Boat?

Perhaps you have read or at least heard of John Ortberg’s book, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat. It’s a good one, and I highly recommend it.

The story of Peter leaving the safety of the boat to walk on the water toward Jesus was the inspiration for the name of the men’s a Capella group from Peachtree City Untied Methodist Church. Out of the Boat performed Sunday at Grace Evangelical Church at the Fayette County Christian Fellowship’s Fifth Sunday Celebration. Their music was a big hit and they shared their testimony about how forming the group and then performing was an out of the boat experience for them.

Sunday was an out of the boat experience for me, also, as it was definitely the largest gathering at which I have ever spoken. It was definitely several steps beyond the normal men's retreats or men’s breakfasts where I have spoken in the past.

I don’t know what out of the boat experience God has in mind for you, but when you are faced with it, I hope that you will have enough courage to take the step of faith required. In His divine wisdom He chooses to work in and through us for the advancement of His Kingdom.