Thank you, Pastor Gary

What does a pastor really do? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have seen too many pastors who I really don’t think should be pastors. Too many of them get the idea that they’re “called to preach” and don’t bother going to a Bible college or a seminary at all. They think they are qualified by their desire alone. They do a lot more harm than good and a number of them wind up becoming apostates.

Many of them also don’t really talk about major issues of the day and in Scripture, but really all of Scripture is all about practical application. Jesus is more of a self-help guru than He is the king of the universe. The purpose of the Christian life is to get you to Heaven and repentance from sin isn’t mentioned.

Also, when someone like myself shows up, many pastors get intimidated. It’s not about making sure the flock is built up in knowledge and knows all that they can about their faith and how to defend it. Nope. This is someone gunning for the job of pastor.

Too many are like this.

Not all are.

Pastor Gary at my church now is one such who is not like that. I had posted something last month on my Facebook wall for Pastor Appreciation Month, but I thought a Facebook post would be easily lost over time. Put up a blog post and it’s easier. I have an easier time searching here than I do on Facebook.

From the time I started attending the church I am at now, I have not been treated with hostility at all. My pastor, pastor Gary, has been pleased to have me. Before too long, he was having me fill in for him and teach Sunday School classes. Very rarely does a pastor let that happen.

When I have needed something, Pastor Gary has reached out to any contacts he had to see what could be done. It could be a small thing, like finding an item I was going to get for Allie, or a big thing, like a good specialist for treatment in some area. My pastor has done the work.

When word came out that I was going to debate Dan Barker, the pastor shared it from the pulpit and said he would be praying for Dan in that playful sarcastic way. When I did my debate, many people from my church were there. They have always supported me.

Speaking of the pulpit, my pastor doesn’t give fluffy sermons. I have heard him talk about many of the issues of the day and worldview thinking from the pulpit. I don’t always agree with him, but I know he takes the issues seriously. When he teaches Sunday School, he has pamphlets he has written on the topics being discussed for us to go over. This guy has worked out his doctrine.

In September, myself and another member were given the chance to lead a Zoom class for pastors in South and Central America on Mormonism. One day, I taught the academic side and my friend backed me up. The next time, he taught the side of practical application and talking to Mormons and I backed him up. This was a great opportunity and my pastor didn’t mind giving it to me.

I have called him sometimes when I have been in distress and he has helped, one time even giving me money out of his own wallet to help with the finances I was struggling with. That was nice, but really the listening is the best part. He has been there for my wife and I when we need it and I am greatly appreciative of that.

I know my pastor is looking to move on to full-time overseas missions and we will miss him. Whoever takes his place definitely has big shoes to fill. My hope is that even if he will not be my pastor, he will always be a friend.

Thanks, Pastor Gary.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

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