We have a number of pastors who attend Good Shepherd.
Some of them are missionaries who have returned from overseas and are in the midst of discerning their next steps in ministry.
Others are pastors-in-training, studying either at bible college or seminary and in search of a spiritual home while preparing for a lifetime of service.
Still others have left vocational ministry and now work in the marketplace.
And a few are in between ministry assignments, praying to discern where God would send them next.
They bring with them stories of how they have seen God move in dramatic ways.
They also bring battle scars from the times God’s people behaved in ungodly ways.
They also bring a variety of assumptions about how pastoral ministry should be carried out.
Most remarkably, they bring a desire to serve the Body of Christ in this particular context . . . a setting where they will receive few accolades as “pastor,” “leader,” or even “servant.”
What they may not know they bring to me personally is an enormous resevoir of grace. Because preaching to fellow members of the preaching guild is a uniquely stomach churning experience.
“Has he used that same illustration before?”
“Is he going to notice that I used some liberty in interpreting that passage?”
“Will she think I’m sacrificing depth for breadth?”
“Can I possibly speak something fresh into his life when he’s been through so much?”
Yet in spite of my nerves, this group of pastors-as-congregants is unflinching in their support and their encouragement.
I suppose that’s because they know better than most what my shoes feel like.