“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” -Hebrews 13:7
It has been 5 years next month since we had our first gathering as Redemption Church on Easter Sunday, 2012. Daniel and I had moved our family down only months before from Washington State to this unknown (to us) south Florida beach town, and here we were introducing a new church and ourselves to the community!
It. Was. Unreal.
Some of the feelings I remember vividly from that first-ever church service were excitement…for what God wanted to do, fear…that no one would come, joy…in seeing the first few strangers find their seats, insecurity that people wouldn’t connect with us, humor…knowing that only a week earlier, we didn’t even have a church, and desperation…for the Holy Spirit to come and bring power and life to our efforts in a way that only He can do.
None of those things has changed. Not one. As we have seen God come through and work in so many lives over the past several years, we remain excited knowing His ways are so much higher than ours! I still have to fight the temptation to feel afraid and insecure. We laughtogether sometimes, knowing that it is truly only the grace of God that has allowed us to be a part of this beautiful, difficult, and rewarding ministry of pastoring a church.
Pastors are real people. Hopefully you know this. And as God calls men and their families to set aside their own ambitions to pursue this unique calling, we need prayer. And not only those just starting out! Your pastor who has been serving faithfully in his church for 40 years needs your prayers too!
Pastors get to experience what I think is one of the most exhilarating and exciting lifestyles that there is. We are privileged to give God’s Word to the lost and hungry, equip disciples of Jesus to do His ministry, and see the behind-the-scenes miracle of lives being changed supernaturally by a very real and present God who lets US see Him work!
I have no idea. I do know, though, that it is an unusual life. And people sometimes regard us differently because of the place God has chosen for us. And that’s okay. I have always had a special respect and honor for my pastors. And this is good and right because God has placed them in a position of authority over His (Jesus’s) Church! But as you regard your pastor, please remember that he needs your support! There was a time he was not a pastor and probably had no ambitions of being one, then God spoke to him and changed the course of his life. Can you think for a moment if God were to call you to do the same?
So here is what I really want you to know about your pastor (and his family). We stumble. We lack faith at times. We try to hold up our shield of faith and not rely on our own strength. We KNOW that we need the Spirit of God to not only work through us to accomplish anything worthwhile, but to sustain our faith! We are where we are because God has placed us here—and that is all. We want to please our Heavenly Father and love and shepherd HIS flock well. And we NEED HIS SPIRIT to be at work constantly in us, around us, through us, and upon us.
As the verse in Hebrews chapter 13 (see above) exhorts you to look to your pastor and imitate his faith, PRAY for his faith to be strengthened! It is perhaps the most humbling part of our life knowing that God Himself has chosen our lives to be showcased as an example to follow. And we do not take this lightly.
But we do have a huge ASK for you.
Would you pray for your pastor? And his wife? And their children? Pray as you would want to be prayed for! I have joked about the golden rule of prayer: “Pray for others as you would have them pray for you!” Remember, again, that they don’t need fancy, extra-spiritual prayers just because it’s your pastor! Pray for patience and tenderness in their marriage, for growth in their own quiet times with Jesus, pray for health and protection for their children!
And THANK YOU. Because without the prayers of so many, I know that my husband and I would not be the same. We have asked for prayer from people near and far in the time since we launched that first Easter service, and God has heard and answered! THANK YOU! Keep praying!