The Use of a Pastor

“He called churches in the area to see if anyone has a room to rent for the summer! Plus then he said he could worship with them!” We shouldn’t have been surprised at this wise move, but when a college student seeks out exposure to God’s church most of us are impressed. I was delighted to hear of this smart approach and knew immediately that it was either a direct or indirect result of the guidance of our pastor.

From birth to high school graduation I had the same pastor in my church. He was incredibly smart and his sermons were excellent. But there wasn’t a lot of interaction outside of that. He was employed part-time, a common occurrence in rural America.

In the last decade or so I’ve been fortunate to have pastors who see their jobs extending far beyond the pulpit, regardless of the number of hours they worked per week. Not because they put in overtime (though many do), but because they have found ways to encourage a Spirit-led walk in their members; one that weaves in and out of their daily lives.

As a result I have learned how advantageous it is for one to have an effective pastor who seeks to shepherd his flock in all aspects of their lives. I’m eternally grateful (literally) for the absolution of my sins given each Sunday morning. But I’m also grateful for the interest pastors have taken in my children and the efforts they have made to have conversations with them about what is happening in their lives. The sacraments given faithfully at the altar feed my soul and my faith. Likewise, one-on-one advice about finding a church in college or how to handle a family conflict also help to shape our lives and our faith.

An open door policy (within set hours of course), an invitation to ask questions at Bible study, a lesson on family worship – these are all valuable pieces to a puzzle you might not even realize you are missing until you have experienced them. Currently our church is without a pastor and while the pastors who are filling in for our shepherd have been a true blessing, I am anxious for our vacancy to be filled.

I know there are many churches who are without leadership and my heart goes out to those congregations. But I wonder if those who have a shepherd could maybe use a reminder of the gift they have in this spiritual leader. Take advantage of the valuable resource you have in your pastor. Ask questions, seek counsel, send your thanks. And recognize the wisdom of God’s instruction to give each flock a leader from whom they can seek guidance and be taught. Trained and called pastors are human, yes, but their impact on our lives and our families goes far beyond what us humans can see.

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