March 4, 2015

I just got back from a pastor’s conference.  First one since I returned to pastoral ministry in June, but reminiscent of the many pastor’s conferences I went to as a fresh faced pastor just out of seminary.  It was held at the church we attended in Syracuse before moving here last year, so it was good to catch up with old friends.  But sometimes I feel like these conferences are a big pep rally for pastors, designed to stroke our own egos.  There are the assertions of how difficult this job is and the assurances of the significance of our work.  There is the challenge not to give up and the encouragement from speakers who have all had their crisis moments in ministry when they were ready to throw in the towel but they pushed through and came out victorious.

I guess I’m just not there.  To me, being a pastor is not a burden to be borne, a heavy load that is weighing my down.  My ministry is no sinkhole of joy, no famine of purpose, no dead zone of significance.   It is my deepest delight.  Paul says to Timothy “Whoever aspires to be an overseer (church leader) desires a noble task.” (1 timothy 3:1).  This is a good thing.  Not a burden, but a privilege.  It is an honor to serve as pastor, a delight.

Recently, I was given the opportunity to move forward with Fastrac.  God used that to sharpen the focus of why he brought me here.  Even if my work week is dominated by the 40 hours I am scheduled with Fastrac, that’s not why I am here.  If it were, I would not have left Syracuse.  I moved to serve as a pastor.  So while my hours scheduled are weighted to my job in retail, my heart is weighted to my job as pastor.  The new opportunity with Factrac would have demanded more of my time and commitment.  I was afraid the church (and my family) would suffer. I declined the offer.  I feel confident I made the right decision.  And now there is a clarity in my priority.  Serving as the pastor of Inlet Community Church is my passion.  It is not a burden or a hardship for me to serve the church.  I love this community and I love this church.  I believe that God has great things in store for us.

I am excited for the future.  I’m excited for the upcoming mission trip to Mexico.  I’m excited for a spring sermon series on hope.  I’m excited for the summer crowds.  I’m excited for ideas about cultivating strong marriages. I’m excited about how we can show community leaders and influencers that we appreciate them.  I am excited about how we can engage in the numerous special events in the community.  I’m excited about partnering with SHARP (the senior activities program).  I’m excited about volunteering to help the track team in the spring.  There are just so many ways that I sense the potential for God to do amazing things.  It stirs my heart.  It is a source of joy.

I believe God is at work in our church.  There are the gentle rumblings of God’s Spirit.  I hope you sense it too.  Join me is praying that we see these rumblings continue to grow and break out for God’s glory.

Pastor Phil