This past weekend has been something else. Essentially it has been my first week functioning as a pastor (albeit a part time one), and thus far my experiences have greatly strengthened my confidence that God has called me to this place in time, being here with these wonderful, (and messed up… as we all are) people at the NL.
What are these experiences I speak of. Great conversations, great people, good times with God, preparing a sermon that I’m passionate about. (The disciples call to follow Christ.) On Wed I went out to breakfast with some of the other pastors here, great conversations. Today I spent three hours with a guy that is in the process of giving his life to Christ. While that was happening, several cars were being fixed with free labor at the NL. This evening I was able to preach, room for improvement, but it went well. Yah, God is good! Having said this, I’m pretty sure that any number of my good friends that are pastors would say, “enjoy it while it lasts”. But they would add that even when it’s hard, very hard, when your where God wants you to be there is no better place.
Let me mention how I got to this place (the NL) emotionally. I have really gone back and forth on this sense of calling, when it comes to being a pastor. I really believe that being a pastor is not in any way some kind of a pinnacle of Christian maturity. I am a big fan of what some have called “market place ministry” or what I would call, “living missionally”. Ask yourself for instance, “what would the world be like if no one did what I do?” And then seek to do this very important thing that you do to the glory of God, and not just by giving some of the proceeds, (tithing) but by conducting your affairs in an ethical manner, both in the big picture, and in the details. But anyway, I’m preaching now, so I’ll shut up. Suffice it to say that given how passionate I am about people serving God through their vocation, I really have questions about sequestering myself in the comfort of a parish. (how about if pastors not do that) All of that said, for various reasons, I know I am called to be a pastor, and that here is where I am supposed to be. Being in this place emotionally, is great. Getting here has been very difficult. It is accurate to say, “I don’t want to be a pastor, I have to be one.” And that is probably the way it should be.
Let me add one other thing. The fact that people are giving money directly to this ministry and to me frankly, that really grounds me. I suppose I should simply not want to let God down, or the people I am serving. But the fact is I’m really great full for the people that have been called to stand behind me financially, and I don’t want to let them down. They are making a sacrifice on my behalf, and that is not something I take lightly.
Reading over what I have just written, it all sounds somewhat cliché. Like this is what I’m supposed to write. I don’t like that, but for now, things are the way they are, and for that I thank God. (yet another cliche)