They don’t have to hit me over the head with a Bible. The Holy Spirit, however, obviously is at work through them to speak to my heart—and to lead the congregation in New Testament living.
The pastors in my life are men to be admired. They range from my own husband—whose sermons have included lively dissections of Scriptural anomalies—to my current pastor whose command of history, theology, and contemporary culture make a home run every week.
These men of God who are exhorted in 1 Peter 5:1-5 to be as shepherds of God’s flock and as humble servants and examples—are also to be encouraged by those of us in the congregation, according to Romans 10:15. Indeed, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news” (ESV).
My first pastor in California was the one who led me to Christ. Sensitized to my need for the Savior by observing my mother praying with a woman in a Laundromat, I was challenged when the woman’s pastor and a deacon came to our home and shared the Roman Road. After sharing Scripture, the pastor stopped me dead in my tracks by asking me if I had a personal relationship with Christ.
The pastors I have connected with through the years have taken that extra step. They’ve gone beyond sharing to connecting in a way that teaches, admonishes, strengthens, and encourages. The pastor in our living room didn’t just declare the God of the Bible to me, who I already knew about—but He showed me and explained how I could connect with Him, if I was willing.
The Holy Spirit did the heavy lifting, but the pastor was willing.
When I was a teenager, the pastor of my mega church not only delivered fiery evangelistic messages, but preached against the usual social vices. Years later, I used the same rationale with my children, asking, “why drink alcohol?” instead of giving them reasons for “why not.”
It was that same earnest pastor whose voice I heard the Sunday before I was about to make a huge life decision—“Be ye not unequally yoked.”
As a young married adult in a church overseas that catered to military and their families, I had a pastor who was a doctoral student at a seminary that was embroiled in controversy over its liberal-leaning teachings. Earnestly asking my pastor one day what he thought about my decidedly conservative theological views, I was hugely shocked when he did not arrogantly argue with me or try and dissuade me from my convictional position, but assured me that the Holy Spirit would prompt me as to the correct attitude toward Scripture.
I have been blessed to attend and report on pastors’ conferences literally around the world, with some of today’s greatest preachers, but there is no place like my home church or my own pastor when it comes to Sunday.
Each week my own pastor Mac Brunson preaches a God honoring message at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville in the same manner of thousands of others across our state. I hope you remember to honor your pastor on Pastor Appreciation Day, October 13.
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