The month of October is widely recognized as “Pastor appreciation month.” I am not sure how pastors of other churches were treated, but those of us who serve at Hollywood Community Church were overwhelmed by the demonstrations of love and support. The words of encouragement that we received via cards, letters and conversations were both humbling and encouraging. Please know that we love serving our HCC family!
All of the special attention we received this month got me to thinking and reflecting on the joys and responsibilities of being a pastor. Here are a few of the thoughts that came to my mind…
1. The expectations are high.
In Luke 12:48 Jesus said, “…When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” As pastors, we must admit that God has given us much. The opportunity to serve in full-time ministry is wonderful! And, then to get paid for serving the Lord and His Church is something that we must not take for granted.
Thus, as called and chosen leaders of Christ’s Church, we recognize that with privilege comes tremendous responsibility. In I Timothy 3:1-8 and Titus 1:5-9 Paul lays out the spiritual qualifications of elders and pastors, the most stringent being that pastors must live a blameless life (Titus 1:6). Admittedly, those are high expectations, but we commit to live up to them. Please hold us accountable!
2. The challenges are huge
Often, people think that pastors spend all of their time reading their Bibles and praying. Admittedly, that must be a major part of what we do, but that is not all that we do. Simply stated, the demands of ministry are great. As pastors we are expected to preach and teach God’s Word, visit and pray with the sick, give biblical counsel to those in need, visit new families, be involved in the community, train leaders, organize the church’s programs, administrate the finances, correspond with missionaries, marry the living and bury the dead. Whew! Must I go on? That is only a partial list of what pastors must do.
Yet, the greatest challenges are not administrative, but spiritual. As God’s grants us the privilege to work in the lives of our parishioners, we struggle with them in their spiritual battles. We cry with them as they suffer and we encourage them when they fail. We teach them God’s Word to mature in their faith, and we train them to become disciples and leaders for God’s Kingdom. Those are huge responsibilities that can only be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit!
3. The blessings are many
Although there are many demands in ministry, the blessings far outweigh the burdens. I am not sure if I said that emphatically enough. Let me say it again… THE BLESSINGS FAR OUTWEIGH THE BURDENS! Here are just a few of the blessings that I have received in recent weeks. I have been blessed to see…
- Several people give their lives to Christ
- New believers follow the Lord in baptism
- Former addicts being free from their addictions and now serving others that struggle with addictions
- Couples that were living together getting married because they want to please God
- Volunteers dedicating hours and hours to the ministry
- God’s people giving sacrificially and generously to God’s work
- New volunteers stepping up to serve
- Members of our faith family being Jesus to their neighbors
- Area pastors and churches working together to reach our community
I could give specifics about each of these individual incidents, but suffice it to say that God is at work at Hollywood Community Church. We are so blessed to be a part of this! As your pastors, we thank you for allowing us to serve you and our HCC family.