Mind of the Missionary
“I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jeremiah 3.15)
God calls men to become pastors. Some men accept the call immediately while others are slow or even rebellious. Within time, these men take up the call and serve God and His church. Many times, this means that more education is needed which calls for families to uproot themselves from their home communities and/or leave professions that comfortably took care of their families. As in our association, many of these men continue working outside their local church just to make ends meet. This leads to less time with family, less time with the local church, less time to study, and less time to rest. Despite these sacrifices, the profession of “pastor” is near the bottom of any survey of the most-respected professions, just above “car salesman”.
Why is there this lack of respect? It’s a lack of respect from society, a lack of respect from our churches, and a lack of respect by pastors for their own call. From society and churches, it is a misunderstanding of what “pastor” means. A pastor is NOT just a preacher, NOT just a counselor, NOT just a teacher, or NOT just a chaplain to visit people in the hospital. A pastor is a God-given call that is confirmed by the local church through the man’s life and how he lives it. Unfortunately, as society and the church look at many of our pastors, they do not see men who understand their purpose. This leads the pastor to doubt his own call, importance, and influence in the communities in which he serves.
In our focus passage, God told Jeremiah that he would give shepherds who sought His heart and lead the sheep “with knowledge and understanding”. Other Biblical passages state that pastors are overseers who take care of the flock and keep watch over them. Paul says that pastors are “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up”. This makes it clear to me that the role of pastor is important to the life of Christ’s church. We need pastors who are God-called and God-led.
Pickens Baptist Association has been blessed with pastors who are “shepherds who sought His heart and led the sheep”. As you know, Brothers Glen Kennedy, Leonard Hill, and Terry Billings have left or will be leaving their flocks by September. I’ve had the privilege to work with them, and they have blessed my life. I can say that they are God-called and God-led pastors. May God continue to use them wherever He sends them!
Also, pray for our 6 churches who are or will be without pastors in the next few weeks. The pastor search teams, deacons, and church leaders have much responsibility placed on them. Pray for them as they go through these transitional periods.
Until next month,