I’ve been thankful for the Ordinary Pastors Project going on at TGC. The stories have been encouraging, touching, and humbling. Let me throw in my two mites.
To all the pastors who may read this blog, to all those praying through the Scriptures each week, praying over your people, and praying down divine favor for your congregation, I say: God bless you and may your tribe increase. I don’t know how to say this without sounding as syrupy as Aunt Jemima, but ordinary pastors are my heroes. They really are. I don’t know exactly what makes a pastor ordinary—I certainly feel ordinary (and worse than that on some days). But I suppose when people talk about an “ordinary pastor” they are talking about the pastor who flies under the evangelical radar, the pastor who labors in an ordinary place with ordinary people who don’t give a rip about the evangelical radar or if their pastor is on it, so long as he is with them.
I think of pastors who see a hundred faces stare back at them in the pews, maybe 130 some years, maybe 85 in others. These pastors can’t help but wonder if they’ve gotten something wrong or if they just aren’t as gifted as other men. Both are possible. But more likely, it’s just one of those things, one of those “the Spirit blows where he wills” kind of things. I know of pastors who work just as hard as I do. They preach good sermons. They love their people. They probably shepherd better and counsel better and visit the widows better than I do. They endure more hardship and face more obstacles. And yet they keep rowing their spiritual oars Sunday after Sunday, elder meeting after elder meeting, budget after budget, funeral after funeral, all the while with little fanfare and perhaps even little visible fruit. Who’s ordinary now? Are not they the extraordinary ones?
My definition of a hero is someone who does the right thing in the right way for a long time whether people notice or not. Thousands of unheralded, unknown pastors personify this definition. They marry and bury, preach and teach, hold hands and pat backs, attend open houses and attend meetings, pray like they believe it and sing like they mean it. Even if the coffee is bad, the pay low, and the church music so-so, these brothers keep loving and keep on proclaiming the same gospel. Some say insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. But that goes out the window when what you’re doing is the very thing God has called you do.
Faithful, humble, diligent, reliable, gentle, courageous, compassionate, teachable, imperfect ordinary pastors—of them the world is not worthy.
Got a good pastor? Then tell him you think so.
P.S. If you go to University Reformed Church, this is not a beggarly attempt at cards and cookies. I feel much loved already. Just keep on doing what you’re doing.