Before coming to serve at
the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina I served a number of years as a
pastor. My years as a pastor were some of the greatest in my life. The Lord
taught me what it means to really study the Scriptures and what it means to
really love people and serve people.
However, as I learned and as
many of you can surely understand, being a pastor was one of the most
challenging experiences of my life. A great sense of responsibility comes when
you are given the task to correctly divide the Word of God and to shepherd
The demands on a pastor are
great. A recent article that came out in The New York Times talks about how
more and more pastors are facing the problem of burnout.
A researcher at Duke
University commented in the article that one pastor he met had not taken a
vacation in 18 years. Why? The researcher said it is because pastors and
clergy, “tend to be driven by a sense of a duty to God to answer every call for
help from anybody, and they are virtually called upon all the time, 24/7.”
Having had the tremendous
privilege and blessing of meeting many of our North Carolina Baptist pastors, I
know they are indeed called upon 24/7 and, because of their servant hearts, try
to do whatever they can to help those in the congregation or community. The
task can be overwhelming, and I am not surprised to read that pastors are
trying to figure out how to balance all that life demands.
Maintaining balance is very
important for a pastor. Your staff at the Baptist State Convention understands
this, and they want to help pastors in our state achieve balance in all areas
of their lives. To do this, we have hosted a one-day event called “Church Health
Institutes” all across the state. The next one coming up is on Sept. 9.
During these events pastors
work through a framework called the “Well-Lived Minister’s Life” when they
evaluate their health in various areas, such as spiritual vitality, marriage,
family and setting boundaries. I encourage you to attend one of these
institutes and let God refresh and re-energize your life and ministry.
Pastor Appreciation Month is
just around the corner. Please take some time during the month of October to
let your pastor know you are grateful for his faithfulness to the calling God
placed on his life. Healthy churches begin with healthy, godly leaders. Thank
your pastor for leading your church to be a body of believers focused on
Kingdom work. Thank your pastor for doing all the many different things he does
in order to care and to serve.
To our North Carolina
Baptist pastors, you have my sincere thanks.
brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord,
and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s
— 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13