9 Pastors for Whom I’m Deeply Grateful Today

I’ve previously written about why need to be praying for pastors in these continuing days of the COVID-19 crisis. Yesterday, I thought much about pastors who are trying to lead their churches to regathering – and those thoughts brought to mind pastors who through the years have blessed my life. To these pastors, I say “thank you”:   

  1. My home church pastor who gave me a strong trust in the Word of God. To be honest, I’m not even sure how he did it. He just preached the Word every week, and I caught his passion.
  2. The pastor who first invited me to preach in the pulpit in his church. I was 16 years old, and he didn’t know me well. He knew only that I thought I was called to preach, and he was willing to take a risk on a young guy.
  3. The pastor who recommended me to my first church. He, in fact, had been the pastor there several years prior to my coming. He encouraged them to call a rookie pastor (and, actually, they couldn’t afford anything else . . .).
  4. The pastor who introduced me to benefits of being a Southern Baptist. I admit we can be a messy bunch, but that pastor told me years ago about the cooperative giving of Southern Baptists. In fact, my first paycheck as a pastor consisted of funds from my church, my local church association, my state convention, and the Home Mission Board (now NAMB).
  5. The pastor who had stood up to the troublemakers in my first church before I came. He wasn’t at that church for long, but he would not tolerate how the congregation had treated some previous pastors. By the time I arrived, the trouble people had moved on to other churches.
  6. The pastor who challenged me to go to seminary. To be honest, he himself did not have a seminary degree – and perhaps that’s why he pushed me in that direction. Whatever his reason was, his urging changed my life.
  7. The pastor who invited me to join him in a weekly lunch and prayer meeting. I was a lonely, struggling young pastor, and this brother leading another church in my community reached out to me. I’ll always remember his grace and hospitality.
  8. The retired pastor who allowed me to spend time with him. I didn’t meet him until after he had retired, but he still took me under his care—and until he died, I made every major decision in my ministry with his input. I still miss him.
  9. All the pastors who are today leading their churches with joy and anticipation in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. I’ve met so many of them that I can’t name them all—but their commitment to fight against discouragement and trust God in faith has stretched my own faith.

Thank you again, pastors! For whom are you grateful?  


  • Jerry Watts says:

    Hey Brother,
    Thanks so much for your ongoing words to the God’s people (I.E. pastors, staffs, and congregations), as they are always thought-provoking and helpful. Many of these 9, I can identify with. However, #5 causes me heartache. After reading your article, I kept and keep coming back to that one because of what I’ve seen, see, and personally experienced inside the church. What follows is something that I wrote in my private journal after reading your words. I wrote about this blog today…This is shared, not necessarily for response as much as for provoking thought…Response is okay, but CERTAINLY not expected or required. Be blessed.

    “His two-sentence explanation caught my attention.  He wrote, “He wasn’t at that church for long, but he would not tolerate how the congregation had treated some previous pastors.  By the time I arrived, the trouble people were gone.” (emphasis mine)

    When I read that all kinds of questions jumped out in my mind.  Here are just a few of those questions:

    Just exactly how did he do this?

    Did he simply face them down or was he able to employ Matthew 18 (I’m thinking of the carrying 2 or 3 witnesses part, as in would anyone go with him?)

    Did the congregation at-large stand behind him or is that why his stay was so short?

    Did it come to a business meeting “showdown”?

    (The Big Question) How long did it take for the congregation to get ‘over’ this conflict?

    Those are but a few of my questions about the process, but a larger question permeates my mind in matters like these.  

    “How does a person or group of people, who profess to worship and serve God, become ‘trouble people?'”  Having lived through some of this type of trouble, this question always perplexed me.  I understand that destructive conflict is always of the devil, but to become what is known as a ‘troublemaker’ among God’s people is something which I have a difficult time getting my mind and heart around.  It happens, I know it all to well, but that doesn’t make be understand it.  

    Once again, these are my personal thoughts…THANKS…

    • Chuck Lawless says:

      That’s a fair question, Jerry. In this case, the church did stand behind this pastor who had a strong backbone. They were grateful for his willingness to tackle the issues.

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