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Life of a Pastor

It was shaping up to be a long, draining Sabbath an Adventist pastor experiences quite often. I got up around 7am and didn't finish the day until 10pm (I did get a chance to sneak a nap in so that helped). Although too long, it provided a lot of thought-provoking experiences that made it manageable.

The week turned out to be filled with good news. On Monday, a member had a baby so that was exciting. Another member had back surgery on Tuesday that went well. Wednesday, one of our members' sons was had a very rare and serious surgery. It literally took all day but by late afternoon we got the great news that everything had gone well. So, we were coming to church in a celebrative mood. Then, before Sabbath School started, a mother and daughter-in-law were crying and hugging each other because another daughter-in-law was given bad news about her cancer. The doctors have told her she has two months to live. This actual is quite typical in church. You have people coming full of praise and thanksgiving for God's care and healing and others distraught over bad health reports. Needless to say, minstering in this context is incredibly difficult. One second, you have to smile and celebrate, the next moment cry and mourn.

I was starting a sermon series on Psalm 23 and focused on verse 1. All week I was really struggling wtih the line, "I shall not want." I believe we should be content, but doesn't God also call us to have hope in things we don't have yet? Shouldn't we want the second coming? I had some thoughts but didn't really have it figured out and I told the people that and opened up the floor and said, "Help me out here. I don't know how to understand this." We proceeded to have an amazing conversation. No one dominated. Some of the people who I thought would drive the conversation didn't say a word. Young people shared, older people shared, it was amazing. We wrestled with the text together and left feeling like we understood it better. I've been really wrestling with the passive nature of worship services and particularly the sermon. I'll try this some more in the future since it went so well this time and preach the sermon as a community.

That evening I went to a nursing home to do communion with a member who isn't able to make it to church anymore. It didn't go well. He was confused, distracted, and while he had a few moments of clarity, overall I don't think he knew what was happening. It got me wondering about when you stop doing communion for someone who doesn't really know what is going on. Is there still something special that happens when you do it even if it appears they aren't fully aware?

I won't even mention anything about nominating committee, visitor potluck, and Richmond Academy graduation which also took place that Sabbath. Needless to say, it was an interesting day of ministry providing a lot of food for thought.


The Writer said…
Trevan, I know exactly what you mean! In fact, I said this very thing to my congregation last Sabbath: "The range of emotions I feel in a typical week is overwhelming. This past Sabbath we celebrated graduations - one major one in particular, rejoiced over one member recovering from a stroke, sent another member off on a mission to S. Korea (bittersweet), and mourned with a young lady who's mom has a serious case of cancer.

Thanks for sharing this typical week in the life of a pastor. We really need strategies to manage our emotions and cope with all this that comes our way. I love being there with people, but I find if I take it on too much, it really gets me tired and depressed. Sometimes being depressed is the right way to feel, but we need to experience our own lives, too.

Peace to you!
Erica said…
Nicely stated. Thank you for posting this...
Anonymous said…
I stumbled across your blog by "chance" today. I just wanted to let you know that the work you do is so much appreciated. While I haven't had the opportunity to learn from you as much, the energy that Pastor Banks has put into showing me (a non Adventist)the love of Christ I hope makes every exhausting moment well worth it! What a wonderful movement, and what an amazing calling. Thank you for everything you do to spread the news of our greatest hope.

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