At the age of 16, I preached my first sermon. I have the cassette tape to prove it. The message was on faith and based on the life of Job. I will never forget the sensation of preaching it. Since that time, I have served in various churches and in various capacities. It has been an adventure ranging from a rural town to large metropolitan areas. I have been a part-time student minister and a full-time pastor. I led the education ministry in a megachurch and planted a new church. It has been an up-and-down journey.
Now, I serve as the bivocational teaching pastor for The Fellowship. It is unlike any church I’ve served… or witnessed. In many ways, we are a comeback church. The last decade of the church’s history has been filled with its own ups and downs. There have been long periods of doubt and pain. But we are now in days of excitement. Every week, there is a sense of anticipation about what God will do in our lives.
On Easter Sunday, like many churches, we had what is likely the largest crowd of the year. Both of our campuses had lots of new faces. Our leaders were filled with the Spirit. The worship teams led from the overflow of their joy in the gospel. The leaders in our preschool and children’s ministries were faithful to guide kids toward Jesus. The whole membership of our church were happy, welcoming, and ready for God to do a great work in us.
As a 16-year old, I could barely conceive of what it would be like to preach on an Easter Sunday. It is simultaneously joyful and weighty. When you lead and preach on Easter, it takes all of your will to control your emotions and all of your passion to clearly communicate the greatness of the resurrection. It is wondrous.
But now, Easter is over and you as a church leader have to do it all again this week. Preachers must write another sermon. Church leaders must get ready for another week and weekend of ministry activity. Volunteers must be prepared and trained. Facilities have to be cleaned and reset. Bulletins have to be printed. Worship music must be planned. Hearts have to be prepared.
Many pastors are doing all of this work alone. Many are trying to accomplish it in a church environment that is less than healthy and conducive to growth. Sure. Everyone means well but not everyone is faithful. They are trying… on most days. But, as a pastor, you are struggling to see your way clear to a breakthrough. You’re hoping it will come for both the church and for you.
So I want to say one thing to my friends who are pastors: Never give up.
The Bible reminds us time and time again that we are not to grow weary in the work of ministry. We are to sow the seeds of the gospel in every kind of soil and then let God provide growth. As tough as it is to accept, Jesus simply wants you to be faithful. He will provide the success.
So, pastor, on this week after Easter, just be faithful to your calling from God. Long before He wanted your work in the ministry, He simply wanted your heart.