Why am I a pastor? I've often asked that same question. As a young boy I don't recall thinking, "I want to be a pastor when I grow up." I know God had called me into ministry. Of that there is no doubt. I don't recall a time when I wanted to pastor a church yet I've served as pastor of three other churches in the past. Each time, under God's leading and anointing. Life is certainly easier when I'm not serving as pastor of a local congregation. Yet here I am pastoring a little country church.
After leaving my last pastorate back in 2000 I truly thought my pastoring days were over. I even got rid of most all of my study books keeping just a concordance and several Bibles. Back in 2000 we "took the church home". We left the building and began meeting in homes in our community. We felt this was a more biblical way to meet. After all, the church isn't the building, its the people. There were four different homes we were meeting in. It's amazing just how attached we get to a building. Even more amazing is how sad it is to be attached to a building. Some people left to return to a more institutional church setting that was meeting in a building and had various programs. We felt good about leaving the pastorate and what it has evolved into. Yet here I am pastoring a little country church.
I believe believers can and should gather. There's no question about that. However, I don't believe we need a church building or the expenses associated with a building to have a church gathering. We don't need a platform to stand on or a pulpit to stand behind to share God's Word. We don't need the structured services or scheduled times to have the meetings. Yet here I am pastoring a little country church.
We was busy singing for the Lord with our gospel music group, New Jerusalem Singers. God was opening doors and we were truly enjoying the opportunities we had to share the gospel through music where ever those doors opened. We're all about edifying, exhorting and encouraging God's people where ever they are. Yet here I am pastoring a little country church.
I don't believe a pastor is an "office" in the church. It's a ministry gift along with apostle, prophet, evangelist and teacher. These are gifts Jesus gave to His church for he work of the ministry and the edifying and maturing of the His people until He comes. Man has taken this ministry gift and made it a position in the church today. Not just a position, but the chief position in the church. I don't believe this is what God intended. Being where I'm at and doing what I'm doing is not something my wife and I wanted to do. Yet here I am pastoring a little country church.
What happened, you may wonder? GOD HAPPENED!!! We came on several occasions to this local church to encourage the people after they had been through some periods of what I would call pastoral abuse. We would sing and I would preach. Then we began filling in on Sunday mornings as we could for a couple of months. I was asked several times if I was looking for a church to pastor, and I said an emphatic, "Oh, NO!" God had delivered us from the bondage that goes along with being a pastor of an institutional church. I had no desire go go back to that. Not me! No way!
Then God began dealing with my heart. There was group of sheep who had no shepherd. There was a group of people who had known a good deal of spiritual bondage and abuse. God desired to free them! It seemed He was calling me to this local work. He wanted to use my wife and I to accomplish this work. I sat on the small deck of our second story apartment and was praying. My wife, Cindy, came out and asked what was wrong. I told her with tears running down my cheeks I felt God was leading us to shepherd this congregation. It wasn't something I wanted to do, but it was the leading of God. I do want to obey God. In a nutshell, we are here to obey God.
Looking back, we can see how God has brought this congregation out of spiritual bondage. I reiterated time and again that this is not a one man show. The church functions best when the all members of the body function. Each of us has a part in the service. There are no "Big I's" or "little you's". We are one body. Each of us are free to minister as God leads. After nearly four years, we are seeing the people enjoy their spiritual freedom that life in Jesus affords us all. They sing. They worship. They share. They minister. They pray for one another. The ladies have been liberated to serve God in the church and in the meetings. The body is functioning together. The love this congregation has for one another is like nothing I've ever seen in a local church. It's the way it's supposed to be. There is harmony, unity and a good spirit in this church. Others pick up on it when they come and usually comment on it.
I accepted an interim pastor position that was to last for six months as we encouraged the body and lead them as they searched for a new pastor. Six weeks later I was asked if I was looking for another church? I told them, "I wasn't looking for this one!" It's been nearly four years that we have been here now. Looking back, six months would not have been a long enough time period to bring this congregation to where it is today. God knew that. God had a plan and still does.
I know we won't be here forever. There's a part of me that looks forward to that time God releases us from here. For reasons He only knows, God has not yet released us, so here we remain. The spiritual freedom the people enjoy has excited them to the things of God. We still meet in a building and have regularly scheduled services, but everything else we just do as we feel led to do when we feel led to do it.
I thank God for the ministry gifts He has given to His church today. I also thank Him for the freedom that comes in knowing Jesus. Be encouraged in your walk with God. God may plant you some place you never thought you would go. Flow with God and He'll do a great work through you.
Until next time...
Enjoy the Journey!
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