My uncle, Dr. John Crocker, has served as pastor of First Evangelical Free Church in Rockford, Illinois for the past 15 years. He preached his last sermon there last Sunday.
“I decided that the best way to conclude my pastoral service here is to review some of the main themes of my ministry over the years,” he said, “What I plan to say this morning is not a pile of pleasant parting platitudes. I don’t want to waste your time, or mine…I want to leave you with five signs to watch for to as you move on in the way of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
John listed five signs to watch for to stay on track:
- The priority of Scripture – “Nothing in the universe is more important than the will of God. And God Almighty has revealed to us his will with incomparable clarity and specificity in his inspired and inerrant word that we call Holy Scripture, or the Bible. That is the main thing for us.”
- Authenticity of membership – Going beyond membership in a church to genuine repentance and faith.
- The vitality of the church – “The church is primarily a living spiritual organism and only secondarily a man-made organization. The organization exists to serve the organism, not the other way round…If First Free Church is going to be healthy in staying the course, you must focus much, much more of your attention on being who God has called you to be than on doing a lot of activities. What you do should be an expression of who you are”
- Accountability of leadership – “The pastor is a fallible man. He must be held accountable by a group of godly people, usually the elders…They must have the courage to confront him if he ever starts to play politics in the church, if he caters to a certain group of people, if he tries to be a dictator, or if he ever compromises his commitment to preach only the truth of God’s word.”
- Intimacy with God – “You cannot please God if your life is wrapped up in your plans and your pleasures.”
Wise man this uncle of mine.