Pastor to Pastor

I’ve sat down with three different pastors this week.  They have wildly different personalities, life experiences, and circles of friends.  They don’t know each other and are only tied together by my own story.  One was a church planter.  One was a retired professor and pastor of large churches.  One watched God grow a church from a small and hopeful bunch to a booming metropolis.

What they share in common is war stories.  They thanklessly though still passionately sought vision for their churches and paid for it.  One rose higher.  Two fell and got up again.  All three are now vessels of grace because of it.

I love these three guys, and I love that they are so different.  One is whimsical and warm.  One is quiet and matter-of-fact.  One has the grizzly charm of a veteran.  All bow before the same God, and that God looks at all three in their diversity and is more than well pleased.

One told me about trying to plant a church and raise money on nothing but faith, only to have God deliver unexpected gifts on exactly the day they were needed.  God could do a better job of planning ahead, we both agreed.

One tells me when he calls, “I greet you in the majestic name of Jesus!” If it were anyone but him, I might think they were being corny.  But his voice is golden and bright, and has the sound of a General on the day after the armistice is signed.

All three prayed for me without me having to ask.

This week, here in sabbath rest, I got to experience something that I haven’t experienced in a long time as a pastor.  I received pastoring.  Pastoring is not so didactic as advice-giving, not so sentimental as nursing, and not so casual as hanging out.  It’s somewhere in between those three.  Pastors, especially the ones who have been around a long time, work a kind of magic that you don’t pick up on until you’ve walked away.  Suddenly you realize that you are comforted, or inspired, or perplexed, or even bothered, and you don’t know for sure whether or not they meant to do it, you only know that you are in a new and unexpected state.  There is very little in this world as comforting as telling a pastor your sorrows only to come up laughing together, as though you had dived into a pool you expected to be icy only to find out it was as warm as a bath.

The Holy Spirit and a pastor’s words can meld like epoxy and become active.  I’ve missed being able to receive this.  It makes me want to find a little church with dusty pews and an iconic steeple and volunteer to help.  When the last of my three friends offers to pray, I rest my head on my folded arms at the table and close my eyes.  I don’t catch exactly what he’s saying, but I feel the afternoon breeze blowing over my head and shoulders like kind hands, and when he is done, I am somewhere different than where we began.

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7 thoughts on “Pastor to Pastor

  1. Jim,
    My mother, 75 years old, and I were looking for a church nearer to her home in Covina over the last year. We visited and researched churches in the surrounding areas. It’s a bit difficult to find a church and pastor that both of our generations enjoy and feel comfortable at. A couple of the churches that we went to looked like they were dying. We could tell why when not one person welcomed us and there was not a visitor center to provide information. We found Glenkirk by a friend and thought it may be “too big”. I don’t know how but you have made this “big church” welcoming and it felt like a family church! My mom and I both loved the sermons and the worship as well as you opening the door for us and greeting us every week! Glenkirk seemed to be the place for us! We have missed you so much and don’t know why you haven’t come back from sabbatical but know that we miss you so much and am praying for the church and especially you. My mom has said she would like to follow you to another church. So if you find that little “little church with dusty pews..” and do not return to Glenkirk please let us know where that church is.
    Praying for you during this most difficult time for you and our church.

  2. Jim
    I pray that Glenkirk might be that “little iconic church” for you. It has been that for me in the past. A place where I have experienced the warm breath, soothing touch and encouraging words of Jesus. You are an inspiring preacher! God wants you to be an equally warm, soothing and encouraging pastor! I have seen that in your heart.
    Tim 🙂

  3. You see Jim. Sometimes it IS about you and what you need from Him. You need pastoring too. You need time to reflect in your journey with Jesus too. It is ok for you to take time for yourself instead of focusing on your job as a pastor 24/7. I mean real time to reflect and really relax. Your church doesn’t want you to inundate yourself with so much that you do not get your own spiritual needs. I pray that you have many experiences like this during your time off so that when you come back you are as you say “somewhere different than where you began.” You may be a Senior Pastor leading a fairly large organization but you are still a child who needs time alone with his Father.

  4. Brother Pastor.

    I’m in Phoenix (visiting) reading this post and feel an emotion that few understand. By your words, I know that you are one of those few. Since we last spoke I somehow have become a church planter, ordained minister, now Associate District Supervisor covering 220 churches, 900 pastors, their marriages, their councils and congregations. I did not plan it. Never strived for this and it’s the best job I ever had.

    Most of all I get to play encourager, coach, confidante, and fellow sojourner. It really is play though we face real issues, real challenges, real prodigals, and real brokenness. It hurts and I love it. There is freedom and joy and I can’t get enough.

    Just wanted to tell you I read every one of your posts. I enjoy your views, your wit, your eloquent and articulate perspective. I’m thankful for those three who sat with you and prayed for you. I add my prayers as well, for you, your marriage, your children, your church, your call.

    Kaleolani and Hō`ikeāmaka are still on my weekly prayer list.

    Love you Jim. My aloha to Yo!

    Kahu Kiha Pimental (808) 561-5967 Kpimental@foursquare.org

  5. We love you and pray for you. You are what the church needed and we needed. God bless you. Yolanda

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