A Pastor’s Encouragement

 

How the years have flown by! I cannot believe that as of July 1,2020 I have pastored at DSC for 30 years.  I am not that old!  

 

What memories I have – all of them centered around relationships with people.  Thinking back through the years, what I hold dear has nothing to do with cultural markers of success such as a big church or big buildings, or books written etc.  (These were all things I thought were important when I first started).  No, what I hold dear are the relationships I have had along the way.  

 

I have come to realize that everything that matters most in life is tied to relationships and especially as a pastor I have come to realize how much God has put a love in my heart for the people I have shepherded over the years – the ones who are here and the ones who have moved on.  

 

The next couple weeks I would ask that you would humor me as I share from my heart about three things a pastor feels deeply.  I identify with Paul in so many ways as a Pastor and in 2 Thessalonians he shares the three things that I resonate with.  Will you sit with me for a few moments over the next couple of weeks and hear from my heart?

 

A Pastor’s Encouragement

  • 2 Thessalonians 1:3-6 (NLT2) Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing.  We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering.  And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering.  In his justice he will pay back those who persecute you. 

 

Nothing encourages a shepherd and pastor more than seeing the people they are pastoring flourishing in their faith.  Our goal as pastors is to help facilitate transformation; helping people be made in the image and likeness of Christ.  We want to see your faith flourishing – that is we want to see you choose to obey God’s Word even when the times are tough and it seems counter cultural and counter intuitive.  I recently had a person that I have been shepherding for a long time say, “I know it is wrong but I don’t care.  I know God does not want me to do “this” but it is too hard so I am not going to try.”  

 

These kind of statements cut deeply because you have spent so much time trying to help people understand and obey God’s Word.  You have walked with them and taught them God’s Word patiently and it can be so discouraging when they still choose to disobey.  You don’t love them any less, mind you, it is just so heart rending to see them choosing not to trust and see God’s best for them.

 

The encouragement is great when we see people’s faith flourishing – when we see them choosing to trust and obey God regardless of the circumstances.  It makes all of the hard times and disappointments worthwhile.  

Pastors are encouraged when we see your love for one another growing.  

We are encouraged when we see you trying to work things out and keep relationships intact instead of fighting and dishonoring one another and giving up on relationships.  

We are encouraged when you stay the course in spite of hardships you are suffering.  We boast about you to others because it encourages us so much.

 

For me as a Pastor of 30 years in the same location, I can say with all integrity that my goal is to see the people I shepherd grow into all that God has for them.  I love you all deeply and desire God’s best for you and when you choose to obey God I find such joy and encouragement to go another 30.