While we might like to believe our pastors are infallible, this truth can actually be an encouragement each week as we sit under their preaching. We can receive their admonishment, their correction, and their teaching knowing they are preaching and speaking the same truths of the gospel to themselves each week. We can rejoice that God was so kind to give us teaching from people who understand our struggles and who know what it is to suffer in sin.
Deep in my basement, beneath totes of baby clothes, old 4-H projects, and spare light bulbs is a box of college books. Among the books is an old canvas Bible cover stuffed with a collection of church bulletins that are covered with notes I took.
In these bulletins, I’ve squeezed hastily-scribbled questions alongside bulleted lists. I’ve underlined, starred, and highlighted years’ worth of notes. Every sheet tells a story.
As I read through this secret stash, I can hear the voice of my old pastor as if he was speaking them. I hear his inflection, I hear his force, and I hear his care. His name was Don Whipple, and I had the privilege of sitting under his teaching for four years. Every Sunday, I’d arrive at church, grab a seat next to a friend, and pull out my pen and bulletin, ready to listen to what he had prepared.
I wonder now how many hours he put into those sermons. I wonder how much prayer, how much study. I wonder how many emotions he laid bare to serve his humble flock each week. His sermons never made it on television. They never went viral, and they never headlined a radio show. Instead, his faithful Sundays of preaching came and went, their only remains documented in old audio files and my mess of bulletin scribbles.
The Gift of the Preacher
If you’ve grown up in the American church, the role of the pastor might seem like a routine part of church life. It’s easy to forget that pastors are a gift from our loving Father.
God, in his holiness, not only chose to relate to his creation, but he chose people from within us to minister to us.