I’m an ordinary pastor. Believe it or not much less than 100 people call me “pastor” because they see me every Sunday – though I’m grateful that others I see less often still call me pastor. I’ve never written a book, though I am trying to do so. I’ve never spoken in a conference, though I’m open to invites. I sit around pastors with much much larger churches and feel completely inadequate to even be in the same room.
I’m friends with a not so ordinary pastor. He pastor’s one of the larger churches in the city just twenty-five miles north of me. I love to sit down to coffee with him because he doesn’t treat me like I’m less important. We dialogue. We share the types of conversations that every pastor knows about and he claims he appreciates me as much as I appreciate Him.
But still, I was greatly encouraged when I came across this phenomenal post by the gospel coalition which forms the beginning of a project honoring the ordinary pastors. By name when possible.
There is much more at the site, but here’s the part that made a lump form in my throat today.
Be encouraged. Be encouraged in the midst of ministerial duties that are mind-numbingly mundane. Be encouraged in a world drunk on the sweet nectar of the spectacular. Be encouraged when you preach the gospel clearly. Be encouraged after years of faithfulness, even if you don’t have numbers that impress conference organizers. Be encouraged in the tedium. Be encouraged when you see the same faces week-in and week-out. Be encouraged as you marry and bury, counsel and speak at the local lodge’s spring pancake breakfast. Be encouraged.
Be encouraged when dreams of thousands have careened against the retaining wall of reality with hundreds. Or dozens, even. Be encouraged when no one has heard of you, your church, or your town. Be encouraged in the midst of decline. Be encouraged when you must stop preparing your sermon to clean the bathrooms. Be encouraged, because you stand before God redeemed and loved because of Christ’s righteousness credited to you. Be encouraged, for this right standing before God is not based on the success of your ministry, loved no less because it is ordinary. Be encouraged, ordinary pastor.
Be encouraged when growth is slow and measured by generations. Be encouraged when guilt, fear, and the specter of failure form an unholy alliance against you. Be encouraged when young men grown fat on the feast of podcasts question your every move. Be encouraged when no one knows your name; it is written in blood in the book of life. Ordinary pastor, be encouraged: Your faithful labor in the darkened forest of obscurity is heroic..
—Be Encouraged: Introducing the Ordinary Pastors Project – The Gospel Coalition Blog
After reading the “front matter” so to speak and then being inspired by Tony Jones I’m eager to see the rest of the series.
I’m an ordinary pastor, and I’ve been encouraged.