I don’t have it this time.
I don’t have three things that every pastor of a rural church needs to remember. In this article, you won’t find six helpful hints that will revitalize your small group ministry. All I have is a confession, a blank page and the wise words of a seven-year-old.
Here’s my confession. I’m overwhelmed. 2017 has been challenging so far. Lately, with every sermon that I preach, I imagine one of my old seminary professors sitting on the back row and giving me the Bless Your Heart Look. I haven’t felt very effective in the counseling sessions that I’ve been leading. The solutions just don’t seem to come as easy as they do in the books. And I’ve felt inadequate as a leader. I feel like I need to be more of a CEO, the buck stops here, my way or the highway type of leader but the reality is that that’s just not me.
That leads to the blank page. I’m supposed to write an article filled with biblical and practical wisdom that will inspire pastors to be better leaders, counselors and preachers, all the while knowing that I need to be on the other end of that article. I need to be the reader, not the writer. So I sat in my office, staring at a blank page.
That’s when I noticed my son, my seven-year-old, staring at me.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
I told him that I was writing.
“It doesn’t look like it,” he said bluntly.
In a short time, he was sitting in my lap. He looked at my blank screen, confused at my lack of progress and decided to help. One letter at a time.
He typed the letter p.
I told him to stop, thinking he was about to add his version of bathroom humor to my blank screen for all the readers of Lifeway Pastors to enjoy. He insisted that I let him continue. I silenced my inner editor, ignoring his capitalization, spelling and punctuation mistakes, and let him type away. When he had finished his sentence, I knew that it was just what my blank page needed. More than that, it was just what I needed.
Here’s what he wrote:
praise the lord your god with all your hart mind soul
A pastor’s schedule can be busy. The task before us can seem overwhelming. We often live under the burden of failing to meet the standards of our ministry idols. In short, being a pastor is difficult. We don’t have the physical burden of digging ditches or working on a crab boat but the discouragement and feelings of inadequacy are still there. As a result, sometimes all we have to offer is a blank page.
It’s in those moments that we need to learn from the faith of a child. Sometimes it takes a seven-year-old to remind us that all that we are and have, even our blank pages, should be used as instruments of worship to Jesus Christ.
He can do a lot with a blank page.