Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hey Pastors

I used to be one of you.  For 16 years I was a pastor too.  Currently, I am not.  I sit in a pew instead of stand in a pulpit on Sunday.  But my heart is still very much with you church leaders.

Preaching the gospel and loving the people is serious business. You're making a real difference in this world, so never ask yourself, "Why am I even doing this?"  Even if you can't see the results right now, know that doing the work of The Lord is always a worth while endeavor that makes an eternal impact on the souls of people.  

It's a privilege to be a messenger of The Lord.  I know some pastors privately say, "I'd do something else if I could", but think about it:  you are the mouthpiece for the Creator and Savior of humanity.  Think about how important that is.  So celebrate your calling into pastoral ministry.  Thank Him for allowing you to be a part of His kingdom's thrilling and vital work.  

If it's ok with you, I'd love to share a few quick things I've learned along the way about ministry:

1.  Keep your own personal relationship with God top priority.  Read scripture.  Pray.  Sing to Him and worship Him.  Remember to maintain your own walk with Him.  

2.  Hold on to your family.  If you're married, invest time in that relationship with your spouse and keep it healthy.  If you have kids, give them attention and assure them they do matter to you.  Your connection to The Lord ought to be the only thing more important than your bond with your family.  

3.  Love the congregation you serve.  They are the flock, and you are their shepherd. So learn their names, listen to their stories, and get to know them.  Pray for them publicly and privately.  And forgive them when they do you wrong.  I know the deal:  some church members are easier to love than others.  But they all still need to be loved.  So just let God's love flow through you to them.  

4.  Let some trusted, mature Christians get involved with your life.  Be transparent with them.  And invite them to hold you accountable.  Share with them your private joys and sorrows.  Be real with them about your struggles.  Let them help you along your journey of life and ministry.  You need people to speak truth and wisdom into your life.  So surround yourself with good people who can do that.

5.  Be up-front with people if you do wrong.  If you make a dumb mistake, just come clean, take responsibility for it, and work through it.  Don't hide it and try to sweep it under the carpet like it never happened.  That will only make things worse.  People can forgive a mistake quicker and easier than they can forgive a lie.  So just be real and own up to things when you make a mess.

6.  Remember that you are a sinner saved by grace.  Don't let pastoral ministry make you cocky.  Don't think you're better than anyone.  The truth is, you need Jesus just as much as your congregations does.  So stay humble.  

I've learned some of these things the easy way and some the hard way.  I've had thrilling victories and miserable failures.  So I share these thoughts as someone who knows from experience.

As I write this, I do hope to one day get back into church work.  I would love to re-join you, pastors.  Time will tell if God allows me that sacred privilege.  His will has to prevail in what happens in my life.

Just think about these things, ok pastors?  I appreciate you.  And I respect you.  What you're doing is really important stuff.  So keep at it.  Know that God is there with you, He loves you immensely, and He will help you.  

Always and forever, God is good.  So serve Him and be blessed.

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