An impromptu conversation at the back of the church; I wondered how things were going, the update is appreciated; sometimes these kinds of conversations are the most meaningful. In any given week there are multiple conversations like this -- it's important for me to ask, to be informed and to provide support, even if it's just listening and praying.
Supporting the team; I don't really need to be here, I know things are in good hands, but we serve together and it's important that I am doing my part. And besides, we serve as friends and outside of a few minutes of my time, most of the preparation is already done; we're getting ready for another Sunday Worship Gathering.
A scheduled phone call during the short drive; only a few minutes, but very meaningful, a potential community partner for a ministry opportunity we are pursing is excited to join us. Maybe this was a divine appointment; we never know how God can use these opportunities to open doors.
A quick 'check in' in the parking lot, "how are you doing?" After a brief conversation, a hug, words of encouragement, "your in our thoughts and prayers" and then off to make hospital visit.
I've made many of these visits before, sitting on the edge of the bed, just listening, getting the latest update and seeking discern how everyone is handling this latest concern. A word of prayer, a handshake and "we'll check back to see how you're doing," and I'm off to check in on another friend -- a quick call, "I'm in the area, would it be okay to stop by?"
It's been a challenging journey over the past few months, the decline in health and loss of a loved one and now a health issue that has complicated matters -- it's a lot to have to process. We talk, mostly I try to listen and offer words of encouragement -- sometimes it's hard to know what to say; sometimes it's best not to say anything. We share a moment in prayer, trusting God will continue to provide grace and strength -- it was just good to be able to connect face-to-face.
It's been a full afternoon after a good morning in which I was able to finish my message for Sunday, my PowerPoint presentation for the message and some other little tasks to get ready for Sunday. A few more emails to answer and a some to send to follow up or just to encourage; this has become a regular part of my day -- just another ordinary day in the life of a pastor.
You see me on Sunday, sometimes we connect during the week at a small group or as we serve together.
Some days are quieter than others; sometimes I have to withdraw just to get done what I need to do to be prepared for Bible study or for Sunday or to give a talk or lead a meeting. Opportunities outside of church ministry can be both incredibly enriching and also draining. And there are times when the call comes late at night, times when the schedule becomes more demanding and ministry as a pastor just can't wait.
But in all of this I am richly blessed to serve a church that understands and honors the office of pastor. For me pastoring is not a job, it's a calling -- in and of myself I would not have chosen this path but I must follow the path He has laid out for me. I often remind God that this pastoring thing was His idea, not mine! But in following, I have been able to experience His goodness and grace in ways I would never have expected. I have been able to share the journey with brothers and sisters in Christ who have build into my life as we have participated together in His service and for this I am deeply grateful.
Just another day? Every day with our Lord is a day of blessing and grace. Thanks for sharing these days with me!
He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-12)