Chevis Oaks Baptist church called me to be its pastor in June of this year. Since that time I have learned a great deal (I hope) about pastoral ministry.
The following are 8 things I've learned while serving in this capacity. I'm sure these will not be new ideas to all who read this post; in fact, they are pretty basic. Additionally, most of these are not new to me. They have, rather, become things that I can now understand better through experience.
1. Pastoring is a great honor. I continue to be amazed that I am in this position. Clearly, God does not select pastors based upon any merit of their own.
2. Pastoring is a great joy. In Philippians 4:1, Paul refers to the Philippian church as his "joy and crown." I feel the same way about Chevis Oaks. The people here have welcomed me and my family with open arms.
3. Pastoring is a great burden. Although we are all individually responsible before God for our own spiritual state, I do feel a weight of responsibility within the church. Since the people listen to me preach and teach the bible each week, I am directly affecting their understanding of who God is and what He expects of them.
4. Pastoring can be a lonely position. Since sermon preparation requires quite a bit of time, this means quite a bit of time alone in study. While I greatly enjoy this, it also means a lot of time alone. While this is offset somewhat by visits to homes and hospitals, it still remains, at least some of the time, a lonely position.
5. Pastors get too much credit. When things are going well in the church, the pastor gets too much credit. When things are going poorly, the pastor gets too much blame. Since the church is a body, that means it is made up of many parts. The pastor is one of those parts, but he is not more important than the others. When things go well or poorly (however you define that), the body needs to look at all the parts.
6. Pastors will make mistakes. I've already made a few of these. The pastor is a normal, fallen individual who will do things incorrectly. The church family needs to accept this and be ready and willing to kindly rebuke the pastor when necessary. The pastor needs to be humble enough to accept this.
7. Pastors need the help and support of the body. I have been spoiled by the amount of positive words I have received so far at Chevis Oaks. I hope I have responded in kind. The New Testament makes it clear that all that is done within the church should be done for edification. This must include words that go to the pastor and come from the pastor.
8. Pastoring is too big for any individual. The New Testament is painfully clear that the biblical church model is to have a multiplicity of pastor/elder/overseers. A muliplicity allows for accountability, shared ideas, shared workload, and protection from pride. The tasks and responsibility are too great for any one man.