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7 Things You May Not Know About The Pastor

submarine_with_bgAt first, this was supposed to be funny—with things like how I have no willpower against ketchup chips or how my wife often discovers me walking around the house talking to myself.

Then I thought I’d throw in some self-trivia like how one of my brothers is a Grammy-nominated country music star or that I was an extra in a Nicolas Cage movie when I was 9.

But as I started thinking about it, I realized there are actually a few things you may not know about me (or your pastor/minister) that are more directly related to what I actually do!

I know this may not apply across the board for all pastors, but maybe.

1. I Have Questions Too

The pastor is sometimes thought of as an answer-person. And although I am sought for assistance in many ways—and often to help navigate some of Father’s deep mysteries—it’s not all about answers. (And they haven’t all been granted to me.) I have my own questions, and I too am not satisfied with shallow answers that tend to crop up in the notes of some Study Bibles which trivialize the complexities of modern existence. Think less pristine park and more rugged jungle. I too am on a journey and sometimes need four-way flashers on my A.T.V.

2. I Need Prayer

I pray a lot for other people. But I also covet your prayers. And please be specific. There are no invincibility jackets here. And when you look at the Bible, those who have been set apart for a special calling from God are rarely signing up for a cake walk. Servants are asked for significant deposits of trust and trial. So please pray for me. (And for your pastor if I’m not he/she.) There are several people at Westminster who pray for me and my family every single day. It is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received, and I would be closer to bankruptcy without it.

3. God has voluntold me

To be “called” means that God has contacted you and said, ‘I want to enlist you.’ In this process I have prayed, spent years in study, and consultation, and time negotiating the requisite twists and turns that go along with following a torch in the dark. Father has given me (and continues to give me) gifts to do this. I’m not here for the great dental plan or to be liked (although those occasional pats on the back sure do help!) The primo reason I do what I do is because God has voluntold me (Volunteered + Told). I’m here in joyful obedience.

4. I work for God (and so do you)

I hear this mistake in the vocabulary of other pastors: “I serve such-and-such congregation.” In my view, that’s misguided. It’s more like: I serve God in the context of such-and-such congregation. That change in emphasis makes a huge difference. God’s the Boss, not the majority voice of the congregation (or even the few). It’s also what helps me keep perspective and my family at the top of my priority list. I serve God first. Just like you do (No congregant serves the minister.) I sometimes intentionally recall the liberating fact that the church isn’t God. Together, we’re praising, loving and serving him first.

5. I’m broken

I’m not perfect. (Not that that isn’t obvious, but it’s a good reminder to put out there!) Despite the fact that I usually seem to have it “together,” I can make mistakes too, and struggle with the sin-factor like you. Those corrupting snakes muscle their way down the aorta and into my heart as well. The process of purging is frequent and humbling. I like what Nelson Mandela said: “I’m not a saint—unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

6. I really, really care about you

I pray for you, try to live acts of love, and long for your life to be in the liberating clutch of a Saviour. I wonder and work toward helping God take hold of your life with an eye to flight. My heart sometimes breaks with yours, and I rejoice like fireworks when you find victory.

7. I love Jesus (and what I do for him)

Love. Joy. Whereas happiness is an awareness of your blessings, joy is an acute and unswerving awareness of the Blesser. Happiness is a roller-coaster of ups and downs depending on circumstance, while joy is more constant with an eye fixed on the steady gaze of a loving Father. Yes, there are really hard days. Days of dark places and inner turmoil that can make you physically ill. But there are brilliant moments which transcend what I thought possible in this life. Days when you reaffirm that Jesus is Alive, and where you get to live a foreshadowing moment of the kingdom come. Light blows dark out of the water every time.

Wrap Up
I’m troubled by so much of the vanity and violence out there in our bruised and bruising world. Hear what an Entertainment Weekly writer penned about the Dark Knight Trilogy:

It… “has captured the unease of our times—the post-traumatic stress of so much catastrophe, the ominous dread that there’s more and maybe worse to come; the worry (and denial) that we’re handling the whole thing wrong and becoming worse for it… I’m ready to leave the dark night behind and make a better, truer future.”

That’s what I want be a part of in my own broken and God-inspired way.

What about you?

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7 Comments »

  1. Matthew, I constantly wish I could express myself as you do. I listen attentively to your Prayers of the People during service and admire the depth of feeling you create. I often feel God has put the words in you to express the meaning of the prayers in all of us. Your sermons are very easy to understand and put to day to day use. Thank you for being you.

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    • Hi Corry, thanks for sharing your thoughts and for that expression of encouragement! I’m glad that the Sunday messages are helpful to your daily life. With respect to prayers, I find they’re a really important part of the service, especially as we gather as a community to pray for God’s direct intercession in our lives. And thanks for being you too!

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