I had such an incredible experience this summer preaching to over 3000+ students and adults leaders. I have preached sermons which the Lord has used to bring conviction, salvation, restoration in relationships, and other types of visible fruit. These experiences have been great, and the people I have met and worked beside have been fantastic. But at the end of the day, while preaching to these large groups of people, my heart finds more joy in pastoring and shepherding the congregation in which God has made me an overseer.
I do not say this to minimize the opportunities to preach to others, but I say it to express how blessed I am that God has given me such a love for the people I pastor. I want to see them discover the riches of Christ more and more each day. The difference between being a pastor and an itinerant, is that I get to continue to walk with those and shepherd those I preach to. I enjoy this part of it more than the hour (sometimes more LOL) I am standing and exhorting them from God's Word.
We need itinerants, so this is not a knock against them, but we need more men who love their congregations, not use their congregations as stepping stones to something greater. I never want to prostitute the congregation I shepherd so that I can have more "opportunities" or a bigger platform to speak to others. I want to walk with a group of people who know me, warts in all, and still love me, and still love for me to use my gifts and calling to lead them.
I am first and foremost a pastor. I love shepherding people. I love discipling new Christians. I love sitting down with families who's marriages are struggling and pointing them to Christ and to the gospel. I love marrying people and doing their premarital counseling. As our church has grown, I have not been able to do these things for every single person, but these things still matter to me. This summer, and the opportunities I have experienced, have served to make me grateful for the Lord's favor and opening of doors to preach the gospel, but it has also served to show me that the Lord has called me to be, above any other ministry role or opportunity, a pastor. I never want to abandon the local church and her ministry for some larger platform. Regardless of what doors the Lord does or does not open for a larger platform to teach others, my heart is always to be a shepherd of a local church, who are learning together what it means to live out the gospel together.
I thank God for this. I love you Journey Church.
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