Q&A with Author and Pastor Stuart Briscoe
Paul Mac: In a recent address, you brought out how the Apostle Paul’s sense of the great privilege of being a minister of the new covenant was one of the key things that stopped him from giving up in the face of great difficulties. Would you care to reflect on your own experience, and what has sustained you, through the years of ministry as a pastor and a teacher of God’s word? Stuart Briscoe: I have been incredibly blessed in the ministry that I had. For 11 years after I left the business world, I was on the staff of Capernwray. They were challenging years. They were years full of opportunity, where I was given the chance to minister all over the world, things that I never expected. Then, after 11 years, we were invited to pastor a church in America, and for 30 years we were there. It was a blessed time. It was a growing, expanding, exciting church. We had a kind of a love affair with that church. It was like a healthy marriage. The pastor and the church just enjoyed each other. We were cooperating together. Then, after 30 years, when I was 70 years of age, I decided it was time to step aside, but they asked us to stay on staff as ministers at large, free to minister around the world. It’s now 15 years that we’ve been doing that. All this to say, we have … Well, we’ve had 11 plus 30, that’s 41, plus 15, that’s 56. We’ve had 56 blessed years of ministry, and by no stretch of the imagination, have I gone through the sort of things that Paul went through, but there have been, obviously difficulties. People have often said to me, what was your biggest problem in the pasture? I said, that’s an easy question. People. But ask me what my biggest joy in the pasture, and the answer is people. If we could just get people the way we want them, the way we think they should be, just like me, then we would have a paradise. I don’t think so. We’re always going to have tensions, we’re always going to have difficulties. When we do have difficulties, and we experience discouragement or personal hurt, or people turn on us, or people reject us … These are very personal things, and Paul certainly went through that, big time, and was deeply hurt by this whole thing, but what he said was, we do not lose heart. One of the reasons was, because of his enormous sense of privilege, that the new covenant had been revealed and explained to him. He bought into it and then God had said, now go and teach it. Now go and preach it. He said, what an incredible privilege. I’ve always focused on the privilege when I’ve run into some rough waters on occasion, but it’s been very, very, very infrequently.