“How are you, Pastor?” That’s what she asked me. I had called a former parishioner whose husband of seventy-two years had died. I was calling to see how she was and in the midst of her grief she was concerned about me. I have to say I was taken aback. I didn’t expect her question. We talked for over an hour. She shared intimate details of their lives that I listened to intently with great honor. I shared with her about myself and family because she really wanted to know. We ended our time with prayer and after the call, I sat for a moment in quiet reflection. I thanked God that He called me to be a pastor. With all the headaches that can come with serving a congregation, the Holy Spirit reminded me through this call of the joys of caring for the body of Christ.
I haven’t served a congregation for over four years, but I have served you, my fellow pastors. I have listened to many of you share the highs and lows of what your role as a pastor brings. It has always been a great privilege that you trust me in this way. Pastors, you are my brothers and sisters in Christ and I love you. I don’t know all of you but I know many of your names. I pray for all of you just like I prayed for those in my congregation. Why do I say this to you today? Maybe it’s because some of you need to know you are loved and appreciated. Some of you need to hear that someone is praying for you. Some of you need to be affirmed in your calling. Some of you need to be reminded of the great love God has for you.
As we move into this new year with the same challenges of serving God, His people, and our communities through a pandemic, you need to know you are not alone. You need to know you are cared for by us. We care for you and your relational health. We care for you and your emotional stability. We care for you and your relationship with God. If you are in a group, then be courageous to be honest and open with your feelings. If you are in a group, then regularly check in with one another, even outside your meetings. The only way we are going to get through the current challenges is by facing them together. Let’s commit to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
In closing, my prayer for you is Paul’s for the church in Rome from Romans 15:13: “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Together we will accomplish God’s will.
Leaders at Barnabas Ministries take turns in writing these Pastors4Pastors articles for distribution to pastors connected to Barnabas Ministries. These are challenging times for leaders in the body of Christ. Our desire is to highlight some of the thinking we have coming out of our John 17:23 pastoral support groups and to encourage us to make our groups an even better environment in which the Holy Spirit can guide and fashion us. If you would like to submit an article sometime to encourage and challenge the rest of us contact one of us and we’ll work with you on the possibility.
Rob Woods, Global Group Development Director, Barnabas Ministries, Inc.
©2021 Rob Woods