A brother who's ordained to pastoral ministry wrote: "I'd like to hear some real-life examples of how you and the pastors of Clearnote Church, Bloomington (or Christ the Word) are 'playing the man' for their flocks. Not the blogosphere stuff, important as it is...."
"Not the blogosphere stuff?"
The web is our lives, today--all of us. We do FB and e-mail and get our news and views there. Or should I say here?
So David and I view the web as a wonderful tool through which it's possible to bypass the suits of the publishing corporations and radio and conference ministries who will never do anything to jeopardize their moneymaking. We use the web to feed and guard and protect and admonish and warn our flocks.
The printing press was a central component to Luther and Calvin's reform of Geneva, bypassing the coffers of Rome. And the web is, we pray, a central component to the reform of Bloomington and Toledo...
bypassing the coffers of Grand Rapids and Orlando and St. Louis and Manhattan and Wheaton. This is the reason legacy publishers and denominational bureaucrats and Reformed stars and starletttes despise blogs. Pastors can preach during the week without having to pass through their acquisitions editors or conference speaker selection committees. Also, pastors can warn against the failures of legacy publishers and denominational bureaucrats and reformed stars and starlettes.
Imagine how Rome gnashed its teeth at Calvin and Luther's pamphlets rolling off the printing presses! Likely the same way the R2K men today continue to gnash their teeth at the Boston Common and street preaching (as well as books and pamplets) of the godly pastors of the Great Awakening who went outside their parishes to call men to repentance and faith.
So let's not disparage the web (what you refer to as "the blogosphere"). Like pulpits, it is often used for wicked purposes and lies. But like pulpits, it often is used for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ that makes disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey everything our Lord commanded.
Then too, think of the decline of preaching simply in terms of minutes and hours. In the Jerusalem church, we read that they "were devoted to the teaching of the Apostles" day by day, from house to house.
Calvin's consistory was able to send those under discipline to several preaching points and many sermons throughout the week. On Lord's Day alone, Edwards was able to preach twice for a total of four hours.
Today, most shepherds have to feed and guard their flock with only one sermon of twenty to forty minutes a week--and that only in the context of weekly corporate worship Lord's Day morning in full and formal worship services.
Meanwhile, the other six and a half days a week, our sheep are listening to Sean or Dennis or Laura and filling their minds with Emo/Screamo angst and skimming this and that person's personal philosophy on FB and sucking in the ideologies of Hollywood through their movie and sitcom streams and reading magazines and books (one or two still do that in Bloomington). Then there's Google News feeding them the wickedness of Huffington Post and the news/views of Politico and the heterodoxies and heresies of Christianity.com and the Escondido R2K errors of endless debate forums. And if they decide to take in some preaching on the side, they want to pay to hear the rich stars and starlettes of the Reformed conference circuit.
Meanwhile, are humble pastors to sit by and watch as wolves devour their sheep? Are we to to sit in our offices waiting for adultery or incest to force this or that sheep or ewe or lamb into our offices during the week for just a wee bit more care from their shepherd? Are pastors really expected to sit by and be content with fifty minutes a week, combined with the occassional coffee break or hospital visit with one or two sheep?
Bunk and double bunk! To the web we say!
We are absolutely committed to individual attention to sheep--that was the whole theme of our Clearnote Pastors Conference.
But beyond individual and household pastoral care, there's much the saints need in the way of love and teaching and doctrine that they'll never ever get from the rich men who control the legacy organs of safe communication that fill the owners' coffers.
In other words, you can't separate Baylyblog from our pastoral ministry. David and I are ministers of the Word and sacrament, and that's why and how we write. We are working hard to build up God's people in their most holy Faith, starting with the people of our own particular calls--Clearnote Church, Bloomington and Christ the Word in Toledo, Ohio. We also write for those pastors and elders and Titus 2 women who have gone out from us and now are serving in leadership far from us. We write for our brothers in Christ with whom we share this ministry. We write ministerially. We write as pastors. We write as grandfathers, fathers, and husbands. We write as shepherds.
Not every post on Baylyblog is a fulfillment of our calling as pastors, just as not every word spoken from the pulpit or in pastoral consultations is pastoral. But the overwhelming thrust is to call the flock of God, the Church of Jesus Christ, the Household of Faith to the Gospel of Jesus Christ taught in the Word of God, written, so that the man of God may be able to stand in this day and on That Day.
This means, for instance, the warning against John MacArthur's feminist study Bible and the sort of temptations that led him into this sin are meant for my own son-in-law, Ben, with his wife Michal and their sons Daniel and Zion. For my elders Wayne Huck and Jake Mentzel and Jeff Ewer and Lucas Weeks and Jeff Moore and Dave Curell and Lawrence Howell and David Canfield and Dan Sparks and Stephen Baker and Brian Bailey and Jody Kilingsworth and Adam Spaetti and Tim Wegener with their wives, children, and grandchildren. For all the men of Clearnote Pastors College training for the work of the ministry. For my entire congregation. For everyone I serve (and have served) night and day with tears.
Baylyblog has always been intended to serve as another place for the fulfillment of our pastoral calling. This is the reason you don't see David or me shilling for the Republican or Libertarian parties, nor mounting campaigns for this or that referendum or Washington lobby. This is not our calling as pastors. Ocassionally we'll speak of such things, but we don't ever want to prostitute our calling to schemes of political improvement, nor do we want to give needless opportunities for the world to conclude that the church is power-hungry and really cares most about the culture war because it's the path to this world's kitsch and bling.
This is also why we do not monetize Baylyblog. Our people are faithful to allow us to eat while we tread grain and we want to discipline our greed. So we haven't invited Google or Gospel Coalition or Zondervan to peddle their wares here.
Surely the commenter above didn't intend for his small mention of "the blogosphere" to prompt such a lengthy post, but it was time to explain some of David's and my philosophy of ministry in connection with Baylyblog and he was the kind soul providing us this opportunity. So we thank him.