Friday, October 19, 2007

The Blessings and Challenges of Ministering in the Small Church (Part 6).

Blessing: Being able to “know” the people your church family.

Large church pastors cannot “know” the people of their church--there are just too many people for the pastor to be able to connect with. By “know” I do not mean in the biblical sense of having an intimate, sexual encounter. What I do mean is to be able to know most of the people of the church family in a fairly deep manner. Such knowledge builds a bridge between the congregation and the pastor and assists the pastor in preaching messages that will speak to the needs of the congregation.

Someone… somewhere… has decreed that October is Pastor Appreciation Month (It could have been a pastor with low self esteem!). I have received many cards and letters expressing thoughts of appreciation. A Bible study group invited me to have lunch with them the other day. They wanted to say “Thank you” to me. One man started by sharing a very personal experience he went through that involved the intensive care unit of the hospital and my daily visits to see him. A woman spoke of the time I was “late” to church because I stopped at her house because I had seen the ambulance was at her house. A woman spoke of the numerous times I had been at the emergency room and regular hospital rooms with her and her husband. A man told of the time his grandson (a young teenager) was experiencing a medical problem that could have ended his life. The doctors were able to identify the “syndrome” – but they have no idea what causes it and they have no tried and true way of treating it. He commented on how I had made it to the emergency room, late at night, before most of the family members could make it there. He knew that for the next several days I was with his grandson every day until he was better. The stories went on and on. To tell you the truth, it was a little embarrassing sitting around the table with the Bible study group as they shared those intimate details of their lives. Later that day I reflected on how fortunate I am to be a pastor of a smaller church in that I have the opportunity to experience the joys and difficulties of life with the people of my church. The pastor of a larger church can experience the same type of things, but they really have to work at it. (Steve Starr, Pastor of Sumner Presbyterian Church, is one such pastor.)

So… if you are the pastor of a smaller church please take advantage of the opportunities to get to know the people in your church. Be with people in their good times and in their difficult times.


At 11:05 PM , Blogger Principal Mr. Malone said...

~~Crap...Pastor Appreciation Week...I hope Tami sent a card.~~

Did I just say that out loud?

I love you Lance.

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