Pastor Tim’s article that appeared in The Evening Leader on Monday, Oct 28, 2019
One of the many great experiences I have had over the past year+ that I have been living in St Marys and serving at Wayne Street is the chance to meet the other pastors here in town. St Marys has a very active ministerial association. We normally gather once a month over at JTs for lunch. At that time, we usually meet with agencies and individuals from around town to see how we as pastors and our churches can come alongside of these projects and community-based endeavors to help improve our city. Our current project is organizing “Offer Gratitude,” which will be one of a couple of Thanksgiving events held in our community. It will be at the Union Hall on Wednesday, Nov 20 at 6:30 p.m.
I know that most people associate pastors with preaching, which makes sense because that is the most public and easily recognizable part of our job. That’s why we are referred to as “preachers” in the first place. But there is a lot more to being a pastor than just being able to talk for 20-30 consecutive minutes on Sunday mornings and most of our job is not witnessed by very many people on a regular basis.
Since we are mostly thought of in our public role on Sunday mornings, there is little thought given to the very private role that takes up most of a pastor’s time during the week. We make hospital calls to people who are ill, and that sometimes requires us to drive out of town to various hospitals around the area. We do our best to see folks in nursing homes. When someone passes away, we are usually there soon afterward and will be working with the family to plan a funeral service.
When someone faces a challenge in their personal life, they want someone to pour their heart out to and more times than not, we pastors fill that role. Most of us are not trained counselors, but we are good listeners. We hear about challenges at work, challenges in marriage, challenges in parenting or challenges that take on a wide variety of forms. I won’t speak for my other colleagues in town, but I know that many times I will be talking someone through a situation in person or on the phone, and I am scratching my head wondering why on earth would anyone think I have anything to offer in a situation as terrible as what is being described to me. In this day and age of superficial relationships, I know what a scary thing it can be when someone comes to pour their heart out to me. I count it as one of the rarest privileges one person could grant to another, to trust them with things that they wouldn’t tell anyone else. It is incredibly humbling.
Finally, we pastors pray a lot. Not only do we pray for the good people who make up our congregations, but we also pray for our community. We have a burden to make the world more like God’s Kingdom, where mercy and grace reign, where relationships thrive and where God feels close. We fully believe that is our calling and while we feel completely unqualified to usher in such a Kingdom, that is exactly what the Good Lord has asked us to do. We aren’t perfect – no one is more keenly aware of that than we are – but we are where God has called and empowered us to be.
October is Pastor Appreciation month; I know that probably seems a little self-serving for me to write an article about that. But I want the chance to say how grateful I am to the pastors I’ve had in my life, not only the pastors I work with in this community, but also the pastor of my home church while I was growing up, Calvin Waugh. In my career, I have served under some senior pastors who have helped me immensely in trying to navigate what this calling from God means: Terry Washburn, Todd Frail and Steve Bennett, who went on to become my district superintendent.
I am also thankful to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who shows me more and more mercy and grace every day as I do my best to faithfully serve Him in my day-to-day life. Responding to His call has been the greatest honor of my life and I pray every single day that I can contribute to making this world be more like His Kingdom.