Yesterday at my church we honored my former pastor, Rastus Salter. He served as pastor of Second Baptist Church in Warner Robins, GA for almost 50 years. Did you hear that? Almost 50 years pastoring the same church. And now, I have the privilege of occupying that same pulpit.
What an encouragement! What a blessing! What an example! What a legacy!
I remember walking into my pastor’s office as a 17-year-old preacher boy asking for a bit of advice. The question went something like this – “If you could tell me anything about ministry, what would that be?” I wrote his answer in the front of my Bible. And yes, I still have the Bible. More importantly, his advice is etched upon my mind and heart. Here it is.
1. Be yourself. I love this advice! Every pastor faces the temptation to mimic or imitate another successful pastor. Don’t do it. You have to learn to be who God created you to be. Honestly, I’m not smart enough to pretend to be somebody else. With four small kids I barely have enough time to be me!
2. Love the people. It’s easy to forget that ministry is really about people. Policies, projects, processes, and philosophies all have their place. But they should never replace our love for people. A pastor is called to be a shepherd. The shepherd is to lead and love the people. I wrote about this in a previous post when discussing the role of the pastor.
3. Take time to study. Any pastor knows that this can be a challenge. Ministry demands much time and energy. Balance is a must. With all of the pressures that a week of ministry can bring, you must make your time in the study an absolute priority.
4. Preach the Word. Pastor, the most important thing you get to do when you stand in the pulpit is to declare “Thus says the Lord.” What an incredible privilege! Don’t waste it. Preach the Word.
I’m so grateful to have a pastor who loved the Lord Jesus Christ and preached the Bible. This was an incredible example for me as a young preacher-boy. What a blessing to occupy the pulpit of my former pastor. To this day, I try to live by his advice. I want to encourage you to do the same.