If one member suffers, all suffer together... (1 Corinthians 12:26 NIV)
There was a motorcycle accident last Sunday about 7:00 PM. Renae and I seen it happen. We were the first on the scene. The young man who was injured happened to be the son of a dear couple who attend PCC. I have been sad for the last three days; but nothing compared to what the parents are experiencing. I love Ray & Linda like family – because they are family – they are part of the PCC family. I have known them all my life; since we were kids ourselves.
I have been in a pastor for 25 years; more than half of that time has been at one church – this church – Pace Community Church. Admittedly, there have been times when the prospect of doing something else for a living (even digging ditches) had a certain appeal for me. But I know God has called me to be a pastor – specifically to PCC – and I have never seriously considered bailing out. I am fully committed to this church family for the rest of my life.
I could leave PCC if I wanted to and still have a fruitful ministry by preaching on the radio, or accepting preaching engagements from time to time in other churches, thereby avoiding the hassles of leading a church. But I wouldn’t do that either. Being a moonlighter preacher is not in my DNA.
I am fully committed to being a pastor. While there are many reasons why, here are three:
1. I am directly responsible for the lives of the people God has given to me to shepherd. As a traveling evangelist, radio preacher, or spare-time pastor, I would not be personally responsible for how people apply God’s Word to their daily lives. But as the full-time pastor of a congregation, I have a relationship with people like that of a shepherd and his sheep. I watch over their souls as one “who will give account” to God (Hebrews 13:17).
2. The pastorate embraces all aspects of life. I share the joy of parents over the birth of a child, as well as the pain of children over the death of a mother or father. I grieve when families suffer a crisis or tragedy. I am able to celebrate at a wedding; and offer comfort at a funeral. I'm there when divorce occurs, and when a couple celebrates their golden anniversary. There is a certain unpredictability that accompanies my calling as a pastor – an uncertainty (or adventure) that may begin at any moment. It is at those times that I go beyond my sermons to stand in the gap for the lives of people in this flock.
3. The rewards in this life are worth it. I feel loved, appreciated, needed, and trusted as a pastor – all of which is a result of being called of God - (it’s not anything that I possess within myself). I know that the people of PCC pray for me and care deeply for me. I owe a debt of gratitude to God for the privilege of this position and responsibility. I am honored to be a channel through which the grace of God, love of Christ, and comfort of the Holy Spirit can be made real to people.
I love teaching and preaching. It is my primary gift and I could spend the rest of my life doing only that. If I had my way, there would never be another funeral or hospital visit for me to make. But I am a realist; we are not in heaven yet and life is full of hardships. I accept the fact that I will often be pulled into the midst of difficult situations for the sake of others.
Here’s the way I see it. At PCC, we are simply a group of Christians who are doing life together. We share one another’s hardships, victories, tragedies, and celebrations. Every one of us has a different role in the Body of Christ, but somehow, some way, we minister to one another in the rhythms of life. This is the mutual ministry of the Body to itself – to “care one for another” (I Corinthians 12:25).
I’m glad that I am part of the Body of Christ and a member of PCC in particular.