Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Becoming a pastor...

I am a church planter.  The farther along I go in this adventure of planting The Pathway the more I realize that God created me to be a church planter.  Maybe more specifically he created me to be a missionary.  I love lost people.  I have a Master of Arts in Missiology for crying out loud.  I naturally connect with the unchurched, know how to find them and enjoy talking with them and helping them move closer to Jesus.  I love leading people to be the church.  I love casting vision and finding open doors in a big city for the cause of Christ.  I love being sent and helping others learn to live intentionally.

However, at some point on this crazy journey I became a pastor, a shepherd.  At some point when God started to bring growth to this beautiful thing we planted called the church, I realized that while I'm still very much a missionary and a church planter, I'm also called to be a pastor.  And boy is it hard... maybe hard is not the right word.  To be a pastor is to struggle with things that are heavy... both spiritually and emotionally.  Shepherding, overseeing, encouraging, counseling, comforting... it's just heavy, often agonizing and as far as I can tell, there is no manual.  I guess the point of this blog is to ask for your prayers.  I love being a church planter, but God has called me to be more than that.  He has called me to be a pastor that plants churches and I'm still very much a student in all aspects of this calling.

Let me tell you about today and ask for your specific prayers.  Today I spent time in the morning preparing a sermon, part of my pastoral role.  Teaching the holy Word of God to the body of Christ is an awesome responsibility.  Yesterday I spent time at Tacoma General Hospital with a family in our church.  The husband/father is fighting a terrible disease and had to undergo emergency open heart surgery yesterday.  Today I got to visit with him and his family and pray with them.  I had the joy and challenge of being their pastor.  It was such a difficult & sweet experience.

This afternoon I got a call informing me that our Kids Ave Director, a young woman who has become a part of our family, lost her dad today.  She needed to be loved, encouraged and at the same time needed to figure out how to get back to Texas while covering all her roles and responsibilities here.  I got to be a pastor to her as I visited her at her apartment.  My heart was breaking.

Then, right after we figured out how to get her to Texas I got a text that the grandfather of another one of our Leadership Team members passed away.  I called just to check on her, tell her that we love her and see how we could support her.  She was sad and struggling and just needed someone to listen and point her to Jesus.  Something a pastor has the privilege of doing.

Being a pastor.  I never realized how crazy the shift is as planter becomes pastor while remaining planter.  It's amazing really.  But it is scary, intimidating and lonely at times.  Your prayers are appreciated as I try and trust God to make me the pastor and shepherd that he desires me to be.  He is the head of his church.  What a joy to be an undershepherd of the King.

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