The Mind of the Pastor

I pray you had a blessed weekend.  I had a wonderful time this past weekend.  Yes, I missed you!  But, Devin and I attended a conference at Capital Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C.  The conference brought 185 pastors and lay leaders from across the nation and around the world. There were pastors from Singapore, the Philippines, Canada, Romania, Switzerland and Albania.  It was an intense few days of meetings, talks, seminars and conversations centered on the gospel and the work of the church.  In addition, we sat in on the meetings of Capital Hill Baptist Church.  We sat in on their elder’s meeting on Thursday evening.  We attended Sunday School and morning worship on Sunday.  Then lunch in the homes of various elders immediately after the service for an hour and a half or two.  Then evening worship at 5:00 pm and their member’s meeting (business meeting) at 6:30 pm.  We ended the evening at the service review with the elders and dinner.  We finished up about 10:00 pm.  From the time we left our room in the morning until we were back to our room that evening, it was a 12-13 hour day Friday-Sunday.  We finished up Monday morning and arrived in Tulsa at 6:30 pm that evening.  It was exhausting, exhilarating, challenging, encouraging, and convicting.  I was one of the few “old guys” there.  Most were in their 30s.  One evening they had everyone stand.  Then said, “If you’ve only preached once, please be seated.”  Then it was 2, 3, 4, by the time it got around 100, I was one of a few still standing.  The leader of the session said, “Rod, how many times have you preached?”  I said, I didn’t know but that I had been here at Trinity almost 32 years and that I preach usually 3 times a week.  He said, “Let’s say 3 times a week for 50 weeks, times 32.  What is that?”  Someone yelled, “4,800.”  He smiled and said, “Anyone want to challenge Rod?”  I was given 2 books and felt very old and tired.

I came away from the conference both encouraged and challenged.  Reflecting on things today and looking back over 38 years of pastoring, I feel good about much that I’ve done and grieved by much that I have not done.  I pray that I have served you well but feel there is much more I should have done.  I’m not at all despairing over this but I am determined to strive for greater faithfulness.  My desire is to love you better and lead you more faithfully.  By God’s grace and with your help I think we can do better as a church.  We live in challenging times, our world grows increasingly dark, spiritually.  Gospel faithfulness is challenged on multiple fronts.  Our response is to be biblically faithful and joyfully expectant.  Believing our God is ever-present and always working.  We must maintain doctrinal purity while exhibiting and extending grace and mercy to those who struggle.  It is not a matter of being faithful or loving but both.  I genuinely believe we are well on our way.  But we cannot, we must not, fail to press on.  We must not grow weary in well doing.  My desire is to press on to greater faithfulness, greater love and better leadership.

Now, I will be gone again Sunday – this time for a few days of vacation.  Devin will be preaching Sunday.

Have a blessed week!