I love being a pastor. I just love it.
Is it hard?
Oh, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m not built with the same emotions and empathies that some of you possess, but God has called me and enables me day by day. His strength is made perfect in my weakness, and every week exposes some kind of weakness in me.
I love being a part of God’s plan called the church. It’s an incredible plan.
I LOVE YOU
I love you, the people of Calvary Baptist Church. I love your friends and family that you bring to church. I love your heart for souls.
I love that you worship. You really worship God. Sundays are your day to gather with other worshipers and fall down before him. You love God, and it shows. I love that.
I love your quirks—and believe me, there are plenty. (Of course, I mean only YOU… surely not ME too!) Staying in one place for a while, you learn people, and I love it. Each of us relates with the world in our own way, and we are all weird. I am weird, and you are weird, and I love it.
I love your problems, because if I know about them, it means you’re working on them. I don’t love problems, of course, but I love the grace that God shows you through those problems. Grace is always messy, or else it’s not all that impressive. Do you have problems? Good. Welcome to the family. Join the club. You’re in good company, because we all need God’s grace.
I love your stories, and I love being a part of them. We get to live this life together, and that’s a beautiful experience. I’d sure hate to be going through this life alone, but we get to see God working in other people’s lives. Some of us even get to be the conduit—the pipe—that God uses. What a privilege! What a joy. What a powerful thing to see God moving in you. I hurt for those who refuse to connect, partly because we never get to see God working in them long term.
I LOVE OUR CLASSES
I can’t connect with everyone deeply, nor can anyone connect to everyone, but I love that our Sunday school classes help break down the crowd into smaller groups. I love our Rooted young adults class—it’s been incredible to see them stay true to God. I love our nursery—those kids are precious. I love Mrs. Erika’s class and seeing her love those 2’s and 3’s.
I love that Ms. Naomi and Ms. Aliyah care for those precious 4 and 5 year olds, and the kids love their teachers. I love Mrs. Judy’s class—my own daughter is learning the Bible from someone who loves her, writes her notes, and encourages her to follow the Lord. I love Mrs. Maricela’s class—again, my own daughter is in those years where she’ll have some of the longest-lasting memories, and I love that she looks forward to Sunday school. I love Mrs. Theresa’s class—my own son is growing in his faith through the excellent guidance and nurture of his teachers, and he’s learning to grow up in ways beyond the lesson. I love our other kids classes like Master Clubs and Junior Church—both programs generate such an eagerness in our kids to love and live the Bible, and that’s discipleship! Glory to God.
I love our teen class. What the Saldanas and Románs are doing with our young people is shaping them into mature Christians. The youth ministry is purposeful and rich with good preaching, good relationships, and the right kind of models. I love that.
I love our Merry Hearts ladies class. I hear them every week next door to our class—singing, sharing testimonies, praying together, and opening God’s Word. Week in; week out. It’s a blessing, and I love them dearly.
I love our Lively Stones class. A guest told me last week that they were so pleased to see such a variety of ages in our church, and the Lively Stones class is a HUGE part of what keeps our church vibrant. With so many young families in similar stages of life, our church services (especially Sunday nights) are abuzz with the life of youth. I love it.
I love our Fellowship class. A former member recently texted and said something like, “I’ve moved to a lot of states over the years and been to a lot of Baptist churches. I’m realizing how little doctrine most people have learned, and it makes me so thankful for Bro. Jim Wilson and Pastor Rench’s (Sr.) teaching.” The established families of the Fellowship Class represent some of the longest-termed members of our church—those who have been there to help be and grow what we enjoy today. I’m indebted to the people of that class, and I love them deeply.
I love our Ambassadors class. Bro. Stan has generated an excitement for moving forward like I’ve never seen, and they are most definitely moving forward! They come out of that Sunday school hour fired up to charge the world, and they’ve generated a fire that more people ought to get around!
I LOVE OUR SERVANT-LEADERS
I can’t think of one person who has an entitlement mentality: “This is MY area and you stay away.” Not one. And I appreciate that of our ministry leaders.
Every leader I know is a servant, and I love that. That’s what Jesus taught, and I love seeing people be like Jesus.
I counted up 49 people who are involved every single week in one of more ministries. About four of those might “only” be scheduled two or three weeks per month, but the rest serve every single week. I know the Pareto Principle says that 20% of the people do 80% of the work, but by my count, we have a higher involvement than that.
By the way, I’m only counting the leaders. I didn’t even factor in servants like nursery workers, choir members, retirement home volunteers, maintenance crew, ushers, greeters, musicians, tech teams, office volunteers, and more! You can see that there’s a high percentage of involvement, and that’s how it ought to be, biblically. I love that.
I LOVE OUR RESOURCES
It may seem like a strange thing to love, but I appreciate the hunger for content that you show. People that love the Lord will desire to grow in Him, so they get around preaching, books, and articles that help them grow.
I finished 41 books last year, and many of them made it to our Resource Desk. I love trying to gather resources that can help you in any area—family, marriage, depression, anger, burnout, soul-winning, the Bible, your daily walk with God, finances, and more. We are always adding more, and I love that you want it.
Beyond the resource desk, I love when you read anything we put out. I love writing, but if I were just writing for myself, I’d feel like it’s wasted work. I love that you read what I write—including this! I know it’s a lot of words, but I feel like a lot of my greatest communication comes through writing, and I put a lot of heart into bulletin notes, Wednesday sheets, sermon “Additional Scriptures” handouts, quarterly newsletters, booklets, and books.
I want so badly for us to be a place that brings the Bible home, and that happens when you continue with the content throughout the week.
P.S. I’m positive a grand total of zero people have read every word, but these are the numbers of words from the notes portions (not the announcements, hymn stories, etc.) of the printouts from 2022:
* 71,867 – Sunday Bulletins
* 57517 – Wednesday Night handouts
* 36,521 – Additional Scriptures Handouts
I LOVE PREACHING
I saved my favorite for last: I love preaching God’s Word. I love the Bible, and it’s been a dream of mine since I was young to have the privilege of opening His Word every week and declare the Gospel. I say it’s my favorite because it’s the one area that reaches the very heart of a church—that touches each member weekly, and I take that intensely seriously.
I love it.
I love the study. I love the proclamation.
But I love it the MOST when someone says, “I learned…” or, “This hit home with me…”
I’m amazed at how often it wasn’t even what I emphasized. That’s when I say, “That’s the Word. That’s the power of the Word.”
God’s Word changes lives. I believe that deep in my soul, and watching it blossom in people has been the greatest joy of 2022. I try every week to get better at my part of it, but no matter how “good” I try to be, I trust the Holy Spirit to bring the power. Without Him, it’s empty air, but with Him, there’s no telling what He’ll do in 2023.
SEE YOU TONIGHT
Tonight’s Vision Night service will be encouraging and exciting. I can’t wait.
Thanks for letting me rant, and for making it all the way to the end.