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”:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 . . .).
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?