This book and video series began as a result of a casual conversation I had with a seasoned pastor. His name was Pastor Jim. I had never met him before, however, we were about to conduct a funeral together for a family we both served over the years. Before the funeral started, we found ourselves sitting in a back room together. I introduced myself, and we talked.
Pastor Jim was 84 years old, and had retired from the pulpit 10 years prior. He was a 50-year veteran in pastoral ministry. I asked him about the churches he served over the years, and how he started in ministry. He was sharp, and I found myself intrigued by his story. And then I asked, “So, what have you learned in 50 years of ministry?”
He thought for a minute, and then answered, “I’ve learned at my age that we all forget everything we’ve learned.” We chuckled together. But I recognized how very true his comment was, and also, how very regrettable it was. This seasoned shepherd had given his life in service to God’s people and developed a reservoir of experience, but today had no advice for me.
Fifty years is a long time, I thought to myself. I never forgot Jim’s comment, and now that I’ve reached the 50-year mark, I want to share lessons learned from 50 years behind the pulpit. But not just any pulpit. I address the challenges and questions asked by those noble pastors serving in small to midsize churches.
Since most American Christians attend churches of 250 or less, the challenges that you face are shared by many. I have pastored for nearly 51 years, and still today, I pastor a midsize church. This book and video series is my contribution to benefit the next generation of those given the name, “Pastor.”
The video series includes 37 (4-7 minutes) instructional videos geared to answer some of the most common questions asked by small-to-midsize-church pastors. “What is a pastor’s significance? How do I know I’m called to be a pastor? What will keep your wife from hating the ministry? Why do good churches die? What does God hate about the ministry? Why is the ministry so tough?” … and many others.
Indeed, you are likely to be known as a husband, father, grandfather, neighbor, homeowner, preacher, servant, carpenter, fisherman, yard keeper, diaper changer, dishwasher, plumber, writer, teacher, administrator, friend, pest controller, office manager, team builder and peacemaker. These responsibilities are a part of who you are, but none of them individually defines you.
You are defined by the name that only God can give.
The name, “Pastor”.