This past weekend I went with my wife to a retreat/conference for bivocational pastors and their wives. It was sponsored by the Tennessee Baptist Convention and was held in Pigeon Forge, TN.
Believe it or not, not all pastors fly jets, have mansions, drive new cars, or wear $1,000 suits. Most pastors drive used cars, live modestly, fly only when they have to, and get their suits only when they’re on sale.
Even though the pastors most people see on television have thousands of members in their churches, the average size of the typical congregation is only in the 80’s or less. The average pastor has to work a second job, does not have a secretary, and can’t afford a personal hair stylist.
The men I spent time with last weekend were the real deal: humble, hardworking, men of God. They were the real deal, the genuine article.
One thing that people tend to forget is that pastors are people, too. They have families, bills, and a list of their own issues. They have problems like the rest of everybody, it’s just that it’s hard to share them with the congregations they serve.
A lot of people accuse Christians of thinking we have it all together, but we don’t. As a matter of fact, what makes us better pastors is when God allows us to go through struggles and trials and all the associated pain in order for us to have first-hand knowledge of His grace.
On the first night of the conference I attended, in a breakout session for the men, one particular pastor poured his heart out about his wayward 19-year-old son. He wept as he said, “What I need is some hope.” It didn’t take long before this brother, this wounded spiritual warrior, was brought up to the front of the room. There, as he knelt beside a table, the rest of us wept with him, prayed with him, and encouraged him.
How did we encourage him? It’s because we were real people fighting some of the same battles, feeling some of the same hurts, and he knew he was not alone.
THESE are the REAL pastors. These are the real deal. These are NOT the men wanting your money; they’re the ones who’d give you their last dollar. These are the men who care for your souls. These are the real men of God you should get behind and support.
I am so thankful to the TBC and all those who made this minister’s and wives retreat possible. I’m also thankful for the grace of God. We are not alone, even when no one else will stand with us.
But when we do stand, and kneel, and weep, and rejoice with each other…oh, what a formidable force we are!
“Shepherd God’s flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s will; not for the money but eagerly; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. “ – 1 Peter 5:2-4 HCSB
5 responses to ““Real” Men of God”
As a Baptist deacon, I have found it very important that my Pastor takes time for two things. First is his personal relationship with Jesus. Secondly is his relationship with his family. We As a group of deacons also make certain that we take time to listen and pray with him and for him regularly. Men like yourself who are called to Pastor face many challenges that the rest of us don’t. It does my heart good to see a group of Pastors praying together for one of their own.
I apologize for the length of this comment, but this is a subject that touches my heart on a strong way.
You still have a couple hundred more words left if you still want to use them 😉
Rt’d this–fabulous post and thank you so very much. I absolutely love this photo. I would love to hear what your wife has to say about being a pastor’s wife. You guys all go through so much, and that with targets on your backs. Thank you.
Maybe when she’s done with tax season she’ll send you some thoughts.
Brother Anthony, great post. I don’t think people really understand just what you pastors go through day in and day out. I have actually heard people grumble that the preacher must be lucky to only have to work on Sundays and Wednesdays. But, you know that is far from the truth. We are very blessed with a very generous congregation, so our pastor doesn’t have to struggle, but is certainly not flying a jet either. And, his wife works.
It’s not easy, and people ought to lighten up.