My brothers and sisters let me say that I know this feeling. I know what it’s like to serve with others and not feel included. I know what it’s like to be overlooked in ministry, bypassed for opportunities, and sometimes left alone as a minister.
I know this feeling Preacher; you will feel abandoned in ministry. I will not attempt to play down YOUR experience or be over-spiritual about what you’ve gone through or are going through. Ministry is not an easy life to live.
You will have some friends for life and some seasonal friends for certain terrains to get you through. YOUR process is YOURS.
Never compare your growth or development to another preacher. All preachers are in Jesus’s hands. There is no way around it…
Yet, what you may need in a pastor is not going to be a delightful undertaking. Pastors are people too. They have their own struggles and tensions in life.
Pastors deal with a lot, and each pastor is given a measure of faith, and only God knows the amount. You know this, YOU are not accessible to a pastor. Accept that as well. You have things about you that you are wrestling with daily, within, and without. You have doubts and fears too. Yet you still need a pastor Life will send you persons who will walk with you up to a certain point in your life. Everybody is not equipped to cross your finish line with you, accept that, and digest that truth. Yet you need a pastor! Every preacher needs roots.
Roots that can be transplanted in different soils take making sure that the inside of you is rooted and grounded in liberating theological truth. You need to make sure that daily you spend time in your devotion to your own spiritual well-fare. You must take responsibility for your own liberating theological education and development.
You need to empower your theological underpinnings with a genuine black scholarship that challenges you to think and grow in diverse ways. You must divest or remove as much white theological pollution that has plagued your biblical understanding and interpretations. You must have a Pastor who reads deeper than superficial jargon.
You need a Pastor who can convey the incredible truths that will guide and guard your life. You need a Pastor who reads! You must find yourself, your gifts, and your gauges. You must be honest with yourself about you, your fears, your frustrations, and your own heartaches. You must get a grip on you, the real you. Yet you will need a Pastor that will love you, guide, invest in you, and help carry you when you don’t know you need to be carried and supported. You need a pastor who will take some heat and apply some heat too.
You must strive to be a widely read preacher that brings more to the discussion of liberating those who are pushed to the very slim margins of life. You must look at yourself and accept the unique gifts God has given you to do the work of the Lord. There is a significant tragedy in not having a Pastor.
Let me say it like this; you will be hurt, lost, disoriented, fumbling, broken, doubtful, misdirected, used, abused, discarded, cast aside, not included, open doorless, never trusted, tossed about, always looked at with suspicion, and the list goes on.
Find you a Pastor, get your roots watered and your unfruitful limbs pruned, so you can bear more and more fruit!
Paris Smith, Pastor at Mount Carmel Baptist Church. Washington D.C.