Pastors are Gifts!

Pastors are special people.  Everyone needs one.  I appreciate the five-fold ministry (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers), but strongly believe that pastors are chosen to facilitate the ministry of the other four—all for the building up of the body of Christ.  In other words, pastors are heaven-assigned leaders, who are called “to tend” or “shepherd” local churches. 
Every ministry that happens in the local church needs to be filtered through the vision of the pastor (but that’s another blog!)  The Bible teaches that they are gifts to the Church (Ephesians 4:11).  It seems, however, some churches want to exchange their gift after “opening it up!”  How sad.
When I was growing up, the Lord blessed me with three wonderful “gifts.”  These shepherds loved and regularly prayed for me.  While I don’t recall specific sermons, I do remember the way they blessed my life.  I told my churches over the years that they would not remember sermons I preached, but they would remember the way I treated them.  That’s true about relationships in general.  The acid test of true Christianity is the way we treat people.
Pastor Herb and Eunice Strahsburg founded the Jefferson Assembly of God (now Covenant) in 1956.  I still hold dear his departing words to me.  He said, “Rog, stay true to Jesus.”  He modeled faithfulness and perseverance during his 17-year ministry in Jefferson.  Much of who I am and how I approach ministry is due largely to his example.  I was honored to be one of three speakers at his funeral in 2013.
I met Gary and Nannie Lentz in 1973.  God sent this precious couple to Jefferson, if for no other reason, than to encourage me.  The Lentz’s had four young sons, but still found time to include me in their family activities.  Snacks after church, visitation, hospital calls, ministry trips, babysitting, praying at the altar, a strong love for the things of God, and their “realness” impacted my life during the 18 months they were my pastors.
During high school I occasionally attended youth meetings at the Jefferson Church of the Nazarene.  Pastor Don and Thelma Hoffman hold a special place in my heart.  Both have transitioned to heaven.  His musical ministry, solid Bible preaching and love for people; along with Mrs. Hoffman’s personal ministry to me following my mother’s untimely death, cemented my heart to theirs!  Jefferson sure has been blessed with wonderful shepherds over the years.
We at Hope Community Church pray often for all the churches in Jefferson, asking the Lord to bless their pastors, to give them continued favor in the community and souls for their labors.  These heroes of the faith are “elders who rule well (and) are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.  For the Scripture says ‘You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing, and the laborer is worthy of his wages’” (2 Timothy 5:17-18).
If you haven’t told your pastor lately that you love and appreciate him or her, do so today!   



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