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Pastor’s Paraklesis: Character

 

Editor Note: This issue introduces an on-going word of exhortation from Pastor C. J. Halquist. He has served as a pastor for over 35 years in the Assemblies of God, serving the last 16 years at Central Assembly of God in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Pastor Halquist has been ministering to other shepherds and those preparing for ministry for many years. He has earned a reputation of being a pastor’s pastor in his own fellowship and beyond. Please welcome the fatherly wisdom of this Senior pastor.

 

Character. Character? That topic crops up now and then. Some say character is not very important. Frederica Matthewes-Green, in The Real Issue, says she believes that character really does matter. Politicians, businessmen, and even pastors can be “successful” without character. However, we know that Biblical leadership is defined as being an example. This means that it is the holy imperative of every leader to demonstrate godly character in all of life and conduct.

Nevertheless, I have noticed trends in the years that I have pastored that run contrary to this Biblical mandate. It seems that whenever a national or political leader has been caught in a moral failure, there has been a wave of similar failures to follow in the lives of many all around us. Of course, moral failure is not just sexual immorality, for it is the “little things” that destroy the integrity of men and women. As a pastor, I have tried to stop such trends from creeping into the church by preaching squarely on the issue of integrity. Still, there are those that get caught up with this renewed attitude of “Well, if he can get away with it … so can I.”

The question I lay before you is this: Have you lowered your standards? Has the degeneration of virtue in our society had an affect on your own character? Satan is on the attack. He is trying to destroy any and all of God’s leaders if he can. He knows our undoing starts when we fall in areas that at first are not seen by anyone but ourselves. Our character is demonstrated by what we do when we think no one else is looking. Or another way of saying it, the real me is found when I am all alone. What this means is if our faithfulness in little matters is faltering, it is only a matter of time before that which is greater will be consumed in our faithlessness.

You do not have to be a sociologist to see that our culture is starving for real leaders. Our congregations are looking for quality character that exemplifies Jesus Christ. In the tough times that the people in the pew are facing, we need to show them that it is possible to stand up for what is right. We must be men and women of character. We must be standing in the Faithfulness of Jesus Himself.

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Category: Ministry, Summer 1999

About the Author: Carl J. Halquist retired in 2014, most recently serving as the Senior and Visitation Pastor at Trinity Assembly of God in Mt. Morris, Michigan. In full-time ministry since 1964, Pastor Carl has served Assemblies of God churches in California, Indiana, and Michigan and served as a Sectional Presbyter for the Assemblies of God, Michigan District for 5 years. Carl and his wife, Sandy, live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area and he continues to provide pulpit supply for the Michigan District of the Assemblies of God.

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