This week I was able to have dinner with a pastor who is also the father of a member in my church. I had only briefly spoke to him before at the end of Sunday’s service and enjoyed a longer conversation. The pastor was older than me and I was able to soak up some of his wisdom and experience in the short time we had. This wasn’t a stated goal of our getting together, it just happened by being around him and talking about life and ministry.
That time was very encouraging for me. But it made me realize again how much I have missed out by those kind of relationships in the past. Growing up in a larger church, I was able to work alongside one staff minister in particular. But there was never any formal mentoring that took place. After going to college, it was even more difficult to have any relationship of that kind. Through seminary there were a few professors who graciously gave some time to invest in me beyond classwork and I still thank God for them!
But looking back – and in some ways, even now – what I ache for is a Paul. I’m only 31 (!), and I wish that I had someone I could have sat under and had direction from in ministry. Like Timothy, I wish I had someone I could call a ‘father in the faith’ (1 Tim 1:2). I long for someone more mature and experienced and godly who can help me make wise decisions about my own walk with God and my service to him as a shepherd over his flock.
So, here’s my plea to senior pastors: invest in young pastors. Find a young man heading to the ministry, or a younger man on your own staff, or in a sister church. Invest in him. Follow Paul’s example and pour your life into him. This seems to the biblical model of raising up ministers and a much-needed missing key of current training for ministers. The good news is, there seems to be more of this going on now. But there needs to be more!
As I read 2 Timothy, I see Paul’s heart in encouraging young Timothy. I hope that more and more pastors will be able to use those same kinds of words to exhort and encourage younger ministers today.
Greetings my Brother!
I just found your web-site and I plan to benefit from your compilation of recommended resources and ideas for further “Seminary” study online.
It is refreshing to see your dedication to sound doctrine in pastoring your church and I pray that the Lord would bless you as you equip the saints of your church for the work of ministry.
I was indeed encouraged by your site and the breadth of resources that you draw from across the spectrum of conservative, Evangelicalism. I was grieved for you though, as I read your appeal to Sr. Pastors… it is not that I disagreed with it – in fact, I wholeheartedly applaud your plea. However, my heart went out to you as I read of your desire for someone to help you make wise decisions in your life and ministry.
If I may be so bold, I would like to make a plea to you. And my plea is this -is that you find a fellow pastor whom you can learn from and follow and then seek out a deep relationship with him – centered around Christ, the Cross and Biblical Fellowship. I know of nothing more encouraging to my own soul as a fellow pastor, as I have and do experience this blessing in my life.
Before I comment any further though, I wish to preface my next encouragement with the disclaimer that I am not recruiting you to our family of churches (with all the integrity I have)! But… I would encourage you to earnestly seek to befriend a fellow pastor who believes in the same core tenets of the Christian faith that you do – even if there are some small differences in practice (worship styles, etc.). It is clear that you personally draw from many different denominations and families of churches for your personal pursuit of study and growth and I admire you for that. Please feel the same freedom in pursuing a relationship with another pastor – whether or not they are part of the SBC.
Now, I know that you are a member of the SBC and are pastoring an SBC affiliated church. I also have many dear friends who are part of SBC churches and there are many great Baptist brothers that I admire who I have learned much from (Mark Dever, Al Mohler, John Piper, etc.). I am not advocating disloyalty to the SBC by any means, but I would encourage you to find refreshment and encouragement for your soul personally wherever God has it for you. As I said above, I know of nothing that has encouraged my own soul more than close, personal fellowship with other pastors.
Respectfully. your brother in Christ,
Thanks for checking things out and for your helpful feedback. I do have some fellow pastors with whom I try to spend time with. But find those ‘like-minded’ folks close by is a real challenge. Hope you continue to find some helpful resources here!