Someone told me that October is “Pastor Appreciation Month.” I know this isn’t what they had in mind, but it got me thinking about what I appreciate about being a pastor.
Unfortunately, it’s not difficult to find people in ministry who poormouth the ministry. But I am so grateful for God’s calling on my life to preach the gospel and that Terrie and I have been able to serve the Lord and Lancaster Baptist Church for over thirty-one years now.
Here are just a few of the reasons I love being a pastor:
- The privilege to preach the gospel—The gospel is “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16), and I get to stand and preach it every week—even multiple times each week.
- The joy of serving with God’s people—I get to invest in and labor alongside people who love God and are serving Him.
- The opportunity to teach and train generations of Christians—This past Sunday, a group of men played in a brass ensemble for the offertory. As I watched and listened, I saw men who I led to the Lord three decades ago, younger men whose parents I led to Christ and then held and dedicated them to the Lord as infants, and men who have come to Christ in the years in between. I’m thankful God has allowed Terrie and me to stay in one church for over three decades.
- The responsibility of equipping saints for the work of the ministry—As a pastor, I not only get to share the gospel personally, but I get to train others as well. I not only get to serve the Lord, but I get to equip our church family to do the same.
- The excitement of seeing young Christians grow—From our early days in Lancaster when Terrie and I had new members to our home for unofficial new members classes, to the CORE classes I get to teach for new members throughout the year, to discipleship meetings, I get to help build the faith and teach basic Bible doctrines to young Christians. And, just for the record, basic doctrine never gets old!
- The responsibility of training spiritual leaders for the next generation—One of the responsibilities of spiritual leadership is to commit what we have learned to others and to teach them to do the same (2 Timothy 2:2). It is a joy through discipleship, preaching, and mentoring to watch God raise up teens, young adults, and growing Christians who become spiritual leaders in their families, work, and church ministries. And then, of course, through the ministry of West Coast Baptist College, to get to train these and others who now lead and serve in local churches around the world.
- The opportunity to lead in great evangelistic events—This week, hundreds of Lancaster Baptist Church members are investing extra effort in inviting our community to Game Changers this Saturday and Sunday. In February, our church will host Spiritual Leadership Conference Asia as we pray for laborers in the 10/40 window and throughout Asia. Whether it is here in our community or on the other side of the world, it’s a tremendous opportunity to be able to encourage others in spreading the gospel.
- The joy of leading in observing the two ordinances with our church family—It’s incredible to lead our church family in the two ordinances Christ gave the church—baptism as a picture of the commitment to follow Christ, and the Lord’s Table as a picture to remember His sacrifice.
- The ability to rejoice and grieve with God’s people—Over the past few months, we’ve had several funerals for multi-decade members of Lancaster Baptist Church. Although I miss these loved ones greatly, I’m thankful I get to be in a place to seek to be a blessing to their families during these times. Being a pastor gives many opportunities to “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15).
- The blessing of studying and teaching the eternal principles of God’s Word—Every day, I have the incredible privilege of studying God’s Word and preparing to preach and teach it to a church family who is responsive to it. I get a front row seat to seeing the eternal Word of God change and transform lives.
Yes, I love being a pastor.
Are there burdens? Sure. But are there blessings? More than I can say.
If you’re a pastor, this is a good month to thank God for His calling on your life and to focus, not on the pressures, but on the privilege.