On the way home from church yesterday, my wife and I were reflecting on the sermon we just heard and talking about one of the points our pastor made regarding scenarios where we may mistake celebrity pastors or figure heads on the conference/speaking circuit as our pastor (I personally have been guilty of this). But he went on to make the point that these individuals are great resources and should supplement the hard day to day, walking through grief, giving counsel work your local pastor does. The figure heads should be an and, not an or, there is no replacement for the work your church and it’s leaders do.
Now I know hearing this from the pulpit could be taken as a “yeah, but you’re saying that because it directly affects you,” but let me give this point some validity from someone not speaking from the pulpit.
This picture kept coming to mind for my wife during the sermon and I must agree that it is spot on. It is from the evening we knew the birth of our second child also meant saying goodbye. Pictured you’ll find my wife and I, a few close friends and both our head and assistant pastors to include their wives deep in prayer. What you don’t see here is my text to our pastor saying we are on our way to the hospital and his reply that he and the assistant pastor were out to dinner with their wives for a date night but just asked for the check and will meet us at the hospital. Or the fact that they stayed with our friends and family till 2 a.m. to make sure everything was okay when complications arose ahead of delivery and we were rushed to the operating room with no certainty that my wife would make it through. Or the number of hours spent in conversation months and years since.
You see, none of the famous pastors or figure heads that I listen to on podcasts or read blogs from would have come or continued to stay in touch past an initial conversation. That’s not a shot at them either, it’s just not an expectation I have of them because the type of community, accountability, discipleship and counsel that scripture talks about cannot found in a NY Times bestseller, a private Facebook group, or a daily vlog. It can only be found by being present and walking through the valleys and peaks with the church community God has surrounded you with.
Your pastor is vested in you, you’re not invested in them …