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The Ministry of Donnie Stewart

Donnie Stewart is the founding pastor of New Wine Church on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland.  In 2007, I had the privilege of sharing some thoughts with his congregation about his ministry.  The following are the notes used for that message.

Romans 13:7 (Give honor to whom honor is due)

Much is said about Paul and other historical and famous contemporary ministers.  I want to share some about your pastor, Donnie Stewart.

What Has Donnie Done?

  1. Preached the truth
  2. Stood as a voice crying in the wilderness
  3. Loved the unlovely
  4. Opened his home to many, many people
  5. Given of his time freely
  6. Forgiven personal injury
  7. Prayed for his enemies
  8. Worked to promote unity
  9. Studied scripture for hours
  10. Been faithful to write what he has heard from the Lord
  11. Promoted the ministry of others unselfishly
  12. Created an atmosphere of opportunity
  13. Led people into worship
  14. Lived what he believed for others to see
  15. Not been afraid to try
  16. Worked crazy hours at the cost of h is own health to have the privilege of doing all this
  17. Been blessed by God as a sign of God’s faithfulness to His believers and servants

What Has Donnie Endured?

  1. Been in numerous car wrecks
  2. Been abandoned by people who were called to stand by him
  3. Been rejected by people into whose lives he has poured time and energy
  4. Been ostracized by other ministers because of the stand he has taken concerning the Spirit and power of God
  5. Been criticized simultaneously as being too harsh and too soft on sin
  6. Had to watch as his peers from the Church of Scotland advanced in rank, prominence and finances while promoting a system they disagree with in their hearts
  7. Gone without proper money for food and basic necessities (who WANTS to be fed by ravens?)
  8. Been lied about, gossiped about, verbally abused in secret and to his face
  9. Been kicked out of a church because he believed in living a life of love
  10. Been disowned by some of his own spiritual children
  11. Had to watch those who have heard the truth of freedom in the Spirit return to formalism and bondage
  12. Been attacked financially for years in a systematic way
  13. Had to watch his wife struggle with financial crisis
  14. Had to see his children grow up without all the things he would have liked to have bought for them
  15. Lived this way without a pension plan or retirement fund
  16. Been battled every step of the way by demons who oppose the Spirit of Christ
  17. Has been hammered in the areas of his own weaknesses and insecurities to try and cause him to give in, slow down or back up

Why would someone do all of this?  Would you work a secular job for long hours, low pay and in the context of verbal abuse?  Would you do it for 16 years?

You have to either be crazy, have absolutely no other options, or believe passionately in what you are doing.

Deut 25:4 says the ox should enjoy his work as fully as possible.

There are some practical ways to give honor to whom honor is due:

  1. Respect what he says even when it is hard.
  2. Increase his pay.  Read 1 Cor 9:1-14 and 1 Tim 5:17-18.  Ask yourself, “Would I want to live and house a family of 6 — plus a continual flow of guests — on my pastor’s salary?  Remember that Paul was unmarried and had no children.  How much should he be paid?  Biblically, I think we can say “enough to pay the bills, save for the future and be able to give to others.”
  3. Bless his family.  Help his children in practical ways.  Any parent knows that if you bless someone’s child, you honor and bless the parent at the same time.
  4. Use your time and your skills to meet his needs just as he uses his time and skill to meet yours.
  5. Defend him publicly and privately.
  6. Follow him and his teaching as he follows Christ.  No man is perfect on this earth.  But each leader in the body is worthy of respect because of the position filled.
  7. Pray daily for him and ask God how you may shoulder the load.

Encouragement to Donnie and his son David:  Deut 29:29

June 17, 2007

If you’ve read this far, ask yourself if you are honoring your own spiritual leaders.  People who serve in such capacity in the body of Christ are always targeted for special attacks from the enemy simply because they serve as an example to the believers.  Do something today or this week for the people who serve your spiritual needs!

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