This year has been a different one for me. Ever since I’ve begun the process of church planting, I’ve been an itinerant preacher. Most Sundays I’m visiting a different church and sharing God’s Word, as well as the ministry of Liberty Grace Church.
This has been a mixed blessing. On one hand, I’m very encouraged by what I’ve seen on Sundays as I visit different churches. If you believe the press, you would think that there’s very little good news in churches, especially in a place like Toronto. I’ve found the opposite to be true. We’ve discovered that God is at work in incredibly diverse churches. We’ve visited downtown churches, suburban churches, young churches, old churches, ethnic churches, big churches, small churches, Anglican, Pentecostal, and Baptist churches, and have been surprised at the depth and richness of what we’ve experienced.
I’ve enjoyed visiting churches because it’s given me a window into what God is doing in our city.
But I miss pastoring! Here is some of what I miss:
- being part of the rhythms of community life, with all of its highs and lows
- preaching to a congregation of which I am a part
- preaching on days like Easter, when guest preachers generally are benched
- time devoted to study the Word in preparation for preaching
- the accountability of being part of a particular church
In short, I miss the unique relationship that a pastor has with his congregation.
If you’re a pastor, you probably sometimes long to be free from the burdens of your particular congregation, just like parents of teenagers look forward to the day the kids leave home. Here’s my advice: Enjoy it. One day you’ll miss the highs and lows of being the pastor of a particular congregation. It’s not glamourous work, but there’s nothing like it.
But I’m encouraged. I’m encouraged because I’m discovering churches that are alive all over the city. And I’m encouraged because I’m looking forward to the congregation that will grow as God gives grace in our church planting efforts in Liberty Village.