Pastors kind of creep me out. They posture like prom queens and brag like a used-car salesman, tell lies like a politician and they do impression management like they are rock stars. They also tend to be namby pamby, soft-in-the-middle wimps. Other than that…
However, a few years ago God began to reveal to me that I have a role to play in the lives of other pastors. And, more importantly, I need them to inform my vocation as a pastor. So, I began to invite young pastors to coffee or lunch. They are busy and they have growing churches and growing families. But I would try to meet with these men for some face-time. It’s a good thing I like to read for I have been stood up waiting at a coffee house for a young pastor to keep an appointment for an hour and then get a text that they forgot.
And some are too busy to meet. (or they don’t like me)
But I keep trying. And the reason I keep trying is that today’s young pastors are very smart. Many of them are deep. And a few of them are living out their faith in existential ways that blows me away.
In my day, being a pastor meant visiting the sick, marrying and burying and growing the nickels and noses of the Church on Sundays. We visited the sick, married the young, buried the dead out of vocational obligation with a pinch of compassion. But the real deal, the reason for the season was to grow the organization. Grow the size of the Church. Put butts in the seats. Grow the budget. Grow the staff. Get on the radio. Be known.
To be sure, that is still the organizing principle of many pastors today. They still hero-worship like I did. My heros were men named Adrian Rogers, Joel Gregory, Charles Swindoll and Bill Hybels. Today’s younger pastor worship Mark Diriscoll, John Piper, Perry Noble, and Andy Stanley.
But there are a few young pastors are interested in serving in obscurity and making significant Kingdom impact in lonely places. The smartest pastor I know is a barely thirty six year old guy named David who is faithfully raising a family and advancing the Kingdom in the Redmond. The most relentlessly obedient pastor I know is a guy named Tim who is loving his wife and raising his children in ways that humble me and his fierce pursuit of holiness is contagious.
The most humble pastor I know is a guy named Keith. Who is serving “the least of these” down on Aurora Avenue and making the community notice Jesus through his and his Church’s selfless acts of kindness. I know a man who is working at a warehouse for an hourly wage so he can minister in one of the most multi-cultural congregations found this side of glory. And you know when that group sing praises the Father is smiling and whispering “well done” to the pastor with a funny name.
There are happy pastors like the one who just texted that he had prayed with a biker gang member to receive Christ into his heart. “…multiple gunshot wounds…very rough gentleman…but I just have to tell someone.” I am honored that he sent that to me. I rejoice with him and texted him so.
I need these brothers. These aren’t your Daddy’s pastors. These are edgy, smart, earthy men who take their faith and their walk with God very seriously. I sometimes wish we could have been colleagues when I was their age. But that would tear a hole in the space/time continuum and alter all of our futures not to mention undermine the sovereignty of God, so I will content myself with being their older brother.
I ask them questions. I listen to them. I listen a lot. I pray for them. I wait for them at coffee houses. Being with them is the most important thing. I almost always leave that coffee house with a smile because I know that tomorrow’s church is going to be better than yesterday’s church.
The man of God may diminish, but nothing of God diminishes and the Kingdom is right on schedule. We have each other we few, we happy few, we band of brothers.