Celebrate the pastorate. These words caught my eye as I scrolled through my Facebook feed earlier today. I paused long enough to see that they were projected on the screen in the Trinity chapel behind speaker Philip Griffin. This week, Philip Griffin kicked off the Timothy Series, a joint effort of the Henry Center and the Chapel Office to bring pastors and leaders to Trinity’s campus to engage with students on the issues of pastoral ministry.
The discerning reader will quickly deduce that, if I saw the images from the chapel service via the Henry Center’s Facebook page, I must not have been in chapel. True. (The drive from Grand Rapids to Deerfield is a bit long.) However, I still want to take time today and this coming week to celebrate the pastorate with my colleagues on campus and anyone else who cares to join me.
I want to celebrate the pastorate. I want to celebrate the men and women who faithfully discharge the ministry to which God has called them (2 Tim 4:5). Too often we celebrate those pastors and ministry leaders deemed to be “successful” because of their rapid church growth, hundreds of baptisms, bestselling books, and keen leadership insights. Too seldom do we celebrate the church planters, smaller church pastors, and ministry leaders who will never see their names in lights, on dust jackets, or on blogs yet who strive to nurture their flock and help them to grow in holiness.
God measures our success in ministry by our faithfulness to him. That sentence, or something akin to it, was the proposition in my senior homiletics sermon at Trinity. I kept that truth in mind as I began ministry in a church, and I recall that truth today as I think about and celebrate the many pastors and ministry leaders that have modeled that faithfulness to me.
Next Thursday, many of us in the United States will gather around full tables with our loved ones to give thanks for all that God has graciously given to us. This year, will you join me in giving thanks for and celebrating the pastorate?