I recently read a post from a friend of mine who is a pastor. After reading it, my immediate thought was how “spot-on” it was. In fact I liked it so much that I immediately reposted it on my Facebook. I left it up for a couple of hours but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I could not simply post it and not say anything about it. So I deleted it. I have copied it here because this gives me an opportunity to reflect on it and speak directly into it.
The post is from a different pastor that is evidently a friend of my friend. At first read it can appear to be rather whiny or even defensive. That is the part that made me hesitate. One of the biggest blessings (and challenges) of my life is being a pastor. Being at COTHA has brought out the best in me and caused me to remember that my ministry, if it is to make a difference, must begin and end on my knees. God has called me here for a reason. I face challenges but I also experience joys. I have met many pastors over the course of the many years that I have served as a pastor who have not had the same experiences as me. They have struggled and have more bruises than anything. Even so, over the years I have faced disappointment and have battled disillusionment. There were times in my distant past that I wondered if I could continue the ministry into which God had called me. I never expected a pastor’s life to be easy but I was surprised how difficult it could be.
As I write this, I am able to say with confidence and truthfulness that God has blessed me through it all. I have been reminded countless times that I am not in the people-pleasing business. Indeed, people-pleasing has little to do with faithfulness, whether or not one is a pastor. I am also aware of the privilege and honor it is to be a leader among God’s people. I continue my ministry with humility and an understanding of the importance of what I do. I do feel God’s pleasure, despite the challenges and disappointments.
I repost this to help everyone see how it important it is to pray for your pastor. If you are reading this and go to a different church than COTHA, I urge you to support and love your pastor. If you are part of COTHA, I thank you for your love, support and prayers. Here is the original post that the Rev. Shane Philpott wrote:
"The pastor is a last line of defense right now. There is no other office, not the apostle, the prophet, the evangelist or teacher, that when personally struck causes the sheep to be scattered. It is the high-called shepherd, whom at great self-peril navigates the very core of humanity’s struggles. Pastors are regularly bruised, mauled, brutalized and cannibalized. They suffer, bleed, weep and lose sleep for those they have the oversight of. They reject opportunities to leave, become offended, or throw in the towel while others in their very churches seek out those opportunities. They are lied about and lied to without hesitation. They are maligned and their reputations assaulted without mercy, many times by the very sheep they answered the call to safeguard. They serve in one of the highest stress, suicide prone, burn-out prone occupations in the nation, and many times they pay for it with their health, marriages and family. They are expected to take it and neither bend nor break. They do it because Jesus Christ wrapped His own shepherd’s mantle around them. They do all of this and so much more, laying their very lives down, so that you might hear these two simple words at the end of all things: "Well done." If you have a pastor like this, drop to your knees tonight, lift your hands to Heaven, and thank God for him. Treat your pastor differently from this day forward. Put away the knife to your agenda and bury your ulterior motives. Swallow your pride and help them. Really help them. Don’t hurt them. Don’t abandon them. Don’t betray them. And don’t ever take your pastor for granted. Because without a pastor in your life, according to Jesus Christ Himself, the best you will ever be is just scattered"
I seek to be the kind of pastor that continues to be faithful no matter what I face. I can be that pastor if you commit to pray for me and for our church. I know with all my heart that God is good. All the time. May God continue to bless us at COTHA as we continue to grow into the kind of church that will bring Him glory.