Our Family Forever
by Burk Parsons
In the church, many people assume that men enter pastoral ministry simply out of a desire to be pastors. But such an assumption is far from the truth. God makes men pastors. He calls us, gifts us, equips us, and sustains us. We enter pastoral ministry not necessarily because we want to but because we must. It is not as if we are incapable of doing other things for a living, but rather that we are incapable of doing anything else that will allow us to obey God and find the God-ordained fulfillment that comes from serving Him with the particular calling and gifts He has bestowed on us. Left to ourselves and our own selfish desires, we would run from God’s call upon our lives. However, we answer God’s call because we cannot help it. For just as God by His sovereign grace makes us all the sheep of Jesus Christ, He makes some of us undershepherds of Jesus Christ, our Chief Shepherd, the one and only head of the church.
Although not every Christian is called to be a pastor, every Christian is called to serve the Lord and His church with the gifts He has given them. The church is not a business organization where the pastor is the paid visionary, entertainer, program director, and CEO. On the contrary, the church is a living organism wherein each and every communing member of the church serves the church with his or her gifts. One of the jobs that pastors perform is helping to shepherd and disciple God’s people so that we might all serve one another, our families, our communities, and our neighbors as we proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. At Saint Andrew’s Chapel, one of the questions we ask professing Christians when they take their vows to become members of our church is, “Do you promise to support the church in its worship and work to the best of your ability?” In taking that vow, members are agreeing not only to support our congregation and missional outreach financially but to support the congregation with their gifts and service, being faithful stewards of their God-given time, talents, and treasures. Furthermore, in vowing to support the church, members are not only vowing to support our congregation alone, but to support the one, holy, catholic (universal), and Apostolic church of Jesus Christ.
As pastors, one of the driving passions of our hearts is to see the church, the family of God, love one another. That each and every member of the church, both young and old, from every culture, race, and socioeconomic background, would serve one another with their spiritual gifts. That God’s people would treat the church like their home, not like a hotel. That we would all see the church as our family, with whom, by the grace of God, we will love, worship, and enjoy our triune God now and forever.