Pastors are the most important kingdom leaders. Without their effective leadership, healthy churches cannot be built. Without healthy churches, everything else – from missions to seminaries – ultimately fails.
Being a pastor – depending on the day – is either the best job in the world or the worst. Pastors regularly experience God’s power accomplishing salvation, restoring families, empowering preaching, and healing broken lives. They also see people at their worst, including Christians, who sometimes take out their anger, fears, and bitterness on their pastors. Yet, pastors keep coming back for more – like these two men.
One received a death threat. It resulted in an arrest, conviction, and imprisonment. He presses on, knowing someday the threat may return – but if it does he will deal with it as best he can. Leaving his pastoral post is not an option.
Another received accolades for community leadership, until he took a stand on biblical gender definitions as timeless aspects of God’s creation. Now he is facing blowback, all because he preached the same message God-fearing people have taught for thousands of years.
What causes a man to take on a job like this – and stay with it? Only one reason: a profound sense of God’s call. Most pastors cannot imagine themselves doing anything else. They serve selflessly, motivated by an inner compulsion to preach, teach, counsel, and lead.
We do special events and offer ongoing ministries for pastors at Gateway – not just those who are students, but others who live and work near our campuses. One of those special events this week is chapel focused on pastoral ministry at the Ontario Campus, followed by lunch and a panel discussion of ministry issues. Through events like this, we encourage, train, and motive men to stand strong.
While your pastor may not live close enough to attend this event, you can do two things to support pastors – yours and others in the future. First, do something to make your pastor’s job a little easier this week – and then speak an encouraging word to him. Second, find a young man who is considering becoming a pastor and help him pursue his calling. Let’s work together to care for today’s pastors and help the next generation of pastors step forward to fulfill God’s call.
Photo by Ben White