Six months ago I would have rolled my eyes. A year ago I would have snickered. Two years ago I would have laughed in your face. But I am reasonably certain God wants my next step in following him to be as a pastor of a church.
This has really been a labored point of prayer for some time now. My wife and I have been discussing it frequently. There has been some resistance to the idea and I think I figured out what it is.
You see, I grew up in rural south Mississippi. Pastors have an “image” there. Churches have a very distinct “personality” for the most part. Neither of these have I ever felt drawn to. I’ve discovered after being out of the region for nearly three years, that these churches are almost twenty years behind the curve when compared to the rest of the country. Many of them hold more tightly to tradition and the legacy teachings of their parents and grandparents than they do the actual teachings of the Bible. Many pastors fall into the “image” of the mild-mannered, suit wearing, always smiling, hand shaking, caricature of a real human being.
I am NOT and will NEVER be anything like that. And I think that’s why my wife and I have been resistant to the idea.
Don’t get me wrong. Not all churches and pastors in south Mississippi are like that. But most of the ones I grew up in were, and still many of the small country churches remain that way.
But here is what I’m called to do. And I take this straight from my new ministry resume:
I am passionate about teaching God’s Word. It is the sole reason I went to Seminary to further my education. I don’t care where I teach the Word, but I know that I am called to do so with every opportunity that presents itself. I believe the Bible is the ultimate standard for everything. I also believe that too many of our churches have fallen away from the Bible, preferring instead to pursue the traditions and beliefs inherited by them from others. Churches need a fundamental return to the Bible, and Christians need a better understanding of what the Bible means to their faith and why they believe what they claim to believe.
Pastoring a church is not about leading people, growing numbers, or “acting” the way pastors are expected to act. The pastor of a church should always seek to build disciples who go out and reach people. With Christ as our focus, the Bible as our guide, and discipleship as our objective, all of the other things will be added by default. We must return to the true beliefs of Christianity, teach the Bible voraciously, and create disciples to do the same. That is the job of a pastor.
So that’s where I am. That’s what I think God would have me do now. Teach the Bible and create disciples. Ultimately we are all called to do that, but we are not all in the same place in that journey. This is the next step for me. I’ve put my resume out there. Now it’s up to God to make it happen if this is what he truly wants.
But I can promise you this. Me as a pastor will not look like any pastor you’ve known. It will be me. Doing what I’ve always done. Just on a larger scale. Please pray for me as I seek to more closely follow God.