The Thankful Pastor: Fighting for Thanksgiving

I have the privilege of playing a lot of roles in my every day life. Husband, father, pastor, brother. Those roles all include great triumphs, joys, and struggles. This week, as Thanksgiving Day approaches, I wanted to outline some of the things I am thankful for in each of the roles the Lord has given me to experience in my life.

THE THANKFUL PASTOR

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:3-6)

The primary role I play in most people’s life and the primary relationship I have with most people is as a pastor. Old Powhatan Baptist Church is a joy to lead and to love. Our services and fellowship yesterday were some of the most encouraging and challenging we have ever had. Here are just a few things I am immensely thankful for this year.

  1. Volunteers. The vast majority of ministries at OPBC are led by volunteers. We don’t have a large staff, and yet ministry continues to thrive because of the dedication of our volunteers. While we all need to strive for more and more excellence in our ministries as we seek to honor the Lord, I am grateful for the hours of work, prayer, and leadership given in so many areas of ministry. But, even more than our volunteer leadership, I am thankful for those unsung heroes that work behind the scenes all the time. Kenneth, Brenda, John, John, Hart, Josh, Amber, Sherrie and so many more. Your willingness to serve at a moment’s notice, even to drop other important things to serve is astounding. You make serving as your Pastor one of my life’s greatest joys.
  2. Obedience. Not to me… but to the Word of God. As a pastor, my hope is not that people will follow my authority, but will follow the Word of God as sufficient for their lives and completely authoritative. And, at OPBC, my joy has increased in those many moments when we all simply say… “If the Bible says it… we will do it.”
  3. Love for Children and Families. The atmosphere of love for one another is palpable at OPBC. Many visitors make it known that the warmth of the Spirit and the unity of the Body of Christ at OPBC is a major reason they return. But, what often overwhelms me is the love that is expressed for children at our church. As the children’s ministry has continued to grow, the work load of our workers has increased. They attack it with joy. Our church members of all ages have grown to appreciate the unpredictable nature of having lots of children around and have embraced the children and the changes. I am excited for the fact that that atmosphere will produce a generation in our church that will treasure Jesus even more than we do. And I am thankful.
  4. Praying, Giving, Sending, Going. I am thankful that we are church on the move. Locally, to West Virginia, Canada, Central America, Europe and beyond. But not just going anywhere… we are going to those who have never heard of the good news of Jesus. We are a church that gives so that others can go. The amount our giving has increased to missions over the past 8 years astounds me. I am so thankful that I do not have to fight to show the importance of giving and going. I love the fact that we are training and sending out pastors and missionaries to local churches and to the nations. Derrick, Jeff, Michael, Justin, and Thomas (in training)… you are a great joy to me as you faithfully serve and grown in ministry. But, I am most thankful for the fact that our church is most committed to only going in the LORD’S power, not our own. I am thankful for the commitment to prayer, and the commitment to following the Lord’s lead, not our own strategies.

I believe the Lord has great things in store for OPBC. And I am thankful.

 

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