Well, I must say it has been far too long between posts. I feel like the past couple of months have been a blur. Time seems to melt away so quickly. Things around here are about to change though. I am stepping away from the interim youth position at FBC Lebanon at the end of this month. Annie and I are embarking on the next step in our journey. The details of this step have yet to be determined but we are trusting the Lord to guide us.
This past weekend we spent a few days in Michigan. We got to see our mothers and express to them how much we love them on Mother’s Day weekend. Annie was a part of one her best friend’s wedding as well. It was a great reminder of the blessing of marriage and the symbolism that is provided by the marriage covenant and relationship. Of course any weekend that involved Michigan also involves quite a bit of driving. And we all know that road trips can produce some of the best conversations. This trip was no exception. One thing (among many) that I love and appreciate about my wife is her sharp mind and ability to challenge me as a Christian. As we were driving home Sunday, we began a four hour conversation about the church. We discussed everything from starting a church plant to denominational connections. One aspect of the conversation consisted of Annie drilling me with practical scenarios that a pastor may encounter. We talked about false teaching, disagreements on minor issues, polity, and community impact. One thing I took away from this engaging discussion was the fact that I have so much to learn about being a pastor, leader, or even a Christian. As I have been wrestling with my vocation for several years, I have come to feel a longing desire in me to see Christ’s church, the body of believers, become the hands and feet of Christ to the world around it. I can envision an authentic community of Christ followers who consistently pursue God in their own time and who consistently make it a point to reach out to their co-workers, families, the homeless, the struggling, and so on. But then I think about myself as a pastor and the weight of such a task overwhelms me. So there is this healthy tension between the drive to be a pastor and the overwhelming weight of the responsibility.
What is a pastor? A pastor has taken on many forms in our post-modern age. Today, a pastor is a CEO, savvy businessman, senior developer, and many other corporate business terms. This is not the case for all pastors but this certainly seems to be the popular trend. The encouraging aspect is that this trend may be slowly fading. So what should a pastor be? A pastor is a shepherd of souls. When you consider those words and the weightiness of the calling, it is no small thing to be a pastor. A pastor will someday give account for the souls that he watched over. The responsibility of the pastor can be summed up by Jesus when he charges Peter to “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:17) It is a tall task and requires great perseverance and submission to Christ. And what I realized this weekend was that I look forward to the responsibility with fear and trembling. I know that I have nothing to offer but mere willingness. I know that all that I have was given to me by the Lord. I know that I have a lot of growing to do in order to be prepared to be a shepherd of souls. I have a lot to learn about consistent, authentic, godly living. I know that I need to listen to the words of Paul when he tells Timothy to “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” (1 Timothy 4:7) May we all pursue godly living so that the world around us may clearly see Christ living through our lives. Praise be to God for wives who challenge and encourage their husbands.