They Call Me "Pastor"

September 14, 2016 by Robert (Bob) W. Jones

Being a pastor is not something to which I aspired.

It certainly wasn’t a childhood dream.

By nature, I’m a loner. (My teenage ambition was to be a hermit. Really)
By nurture, I’m a people person.

I’m like a turtle on a fence post. When you see a turtle on a fence post you know it didn’t get there on its own—someone put it there.

My fence post is a platform for sincere respect and genuine love for the people God has entrusted to my care.

Like most pastors, the most common connections with people happen…
on a Sunday in the foyer of our ministry campus,
preaching/teaching,
praying,
supporting volunteers,
meeting for a plethora of purposes,
participating in community outreaches,
answering seekers’ questions,
or officiating a wedding, a baby dedication or a celebration of some sort.

My most enduring connections are with people…
in crisis,
going through a divorce,
facing debilitating distress,
who are suddenly bereaved,
who have a loved one in need of help,
who have been given a terminal diagnosis,
who don’t know where else to turn and call for help.

We cry together,
struggle together,
pray together,
mourn together,
heal together.

Those circumstances create timeless connections.
We bond because of the shared pain and mercy.
We become like “family.”
We are warrior/brothers/sisters because we have shed sweat, tears and blood together.
We can pick up a conversation after many months or even years of separation as though it was only a matter of minutes.

Every so often, one of those connections does not stand the test of time or trouble.

Seemingly out of the blue there is a change.

When my leadership,
spiritual insight,
ministry,
vision,
friendship,

are no longer adequate for their
preference/need/circumstance,
and a close friend/co-worker/congregant
chooses to no longer be an ally,

I have to say,
“Ouch,”

and then,

“Grace and peace to you.”
…and continue to nurture and focus on the people still in my care.

I am inclined to say that I have learned not to let such experiences of loss affect me, but I haven’t.
I’ve concluded that pain is the price of caring and vulnerability.
Jesus understood that.
After all,
who was it that experienced the first, “Judas Kiss?”

My pastoral ministry has spanned thirty-five years, however in many ways I feel like a rookie.
I suppose that’s good because it means that each day brings new
challenges,
complexities,
opportunities,
ways of doing things, and
ways of dealing with life.
The newness compels me to lean hard into Jesus.

No two days of ministry are EVER the same.
Variety is the spice of life and my pastoral experience is 5-pepper spicy.
There is nothing I would rather be doing in this season of my life than being a pastor.
For someone, someday, to say that my life helped influence/inspire/motivate them to open their heart to the calling of pastoral ministry, would be of highest commendation.
Til then,
I will keep the faith,
fight the good fight,
run with perseverance,
long for His appearing,
forget what is behind, and
press toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me.

About this Contributor

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Small_bob_jones

Robert (Bob) W. Jones is a recovering perfectionist, who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks Iced Tea. His office walls are adorned with his sons’ framed football jerseys, and his library shelves, with soul food. He writes to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose.
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