This past Sunday, one of my mentees (Trevor Forbis, who’s written for this blog) preached his first sermon in a church. As I listened to him, it occurred to me that it’s good for pastors to occasionally remember some things from our ministry:
- The first time we preached. My first sermon was horrible. It was about six minutes long (as I recall), and I extended the invitation about 20 minutes! I pray the cassette tape has been burned . . ..
- The first time we baptized somebody. We may not have known what we were doing, but we were privileged to help a new believer illustrate his or her faith. Not many people get to do that.
- The first time we led an observance of the Lord’s Supper. There’s a seriousness to that task that I’m sure I didn’t understand at the time (and, by the way, this is one thing I miss the most in not serving as a full-time pastor now).
- The dumbest thing we ever said from the pulpit. I was 17, and I still remember what I said. It was so dumb, in fact, that I’m not putting it in print. To this day, I wonder why God didn’t retire me from ministry then . . . .
- The last time we led someone to the Lord. If that memory is just that – a memory from too far in the past – my guess is that this exercise will bring on us the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
- The first time we led a funeral. To be honest, I had never even attended a funeral before I led one. I do remember, though, realizing then that what pastors do has eternal consequences. That’s a weighty recognition.
- The time we inadvertently and unintentionally most hurt someone else. Recalling that event might be painful, but it’s a reminder to me that I can make dumb decisions and say dumb things when I don’t think and pray enough.
- The first time a church member put his arm around us and said, “I’m with you. I’ve got your back.” To this day, I’m grateful for the deacon whose loving support kept me in ministry after a tough day. He, like so many other church members, was a gift of God to me.
What’s my point with this post today? None of us deserves to be a pastor, but God calls us anyway. He puts up with us, grows us, convicts us, and changes us. We’re loved and blessed indeed.