There are some things I believe every sincere, Bible-believing pastor desires people to know. I speak here for myself, but I think a great many of my colleagues in ministry will resonate with these sentiments. I share this because I want my motives to be clear, not because I am responding to any criticism or making a defense of myself.

When I preach, I am preaching to myself first. The Word of God has the power to convict us of our sins and convince us of God’s wise and good remedies for our sins and failings. I am never singling anyone out when I deliver a sermon. My job is to declare what the Bible says and means, to help people understand how God’s Word should be expressed in their lifestyle. I endeavor to be very clear when I say anything that is just my opinion. I was not called by God to preach my opinions; I was called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ as found in Holy Scripture. I dearly love those who come to church and only want God’s best for them and that sometimes means that I have to say things that make some people uncomfortable. This is what love does when it seeks God’s best for others. I take no joy in declaring something that offends anyone. I truly want every person to know Christ and escape the ruin of sin.

I don’t see it as my job to judge anyone. That is God’s exclusive domain. I do know that true encounters with the Word of God will challenge our opinions and preferences, and this will make us uncomfortable. We need to wrestle with what we’ve always thought and with what God commands because only God’s truth is correct. Sin in us and in the world means that most of what we think we know is not to be trusted. I dearly want all of us, myself included, to be set free by God’s truth.

Because I care about the people God has sent me to pastor, it hurts when people stop coming to church. But I don’t stop caring or praying for them. When someone ardently disagrees with me, I am willing to listen. Getting people to be all that Christ desires them to be is the most important thing. I truly see fellow believers in Christ as my brothers and sisters and I do not think that I am better than any of them. We differ only as to roles. Every Christian is essential to the functioning of the church. Some have more obvious roles, but all roles are important.

Finally, as a pastor I want you to know that I’m still learning and growing in Christ. As much as I want to help you, I also need you to help me. There is only one savior, our Lord Jesus Christ. At the end of the day, I want to please Christ. My greatest joy comes when anyone grows into a deeper relationship with Christ. I’m not here to build an institution, administer a bureaucracy, become famous, or get wealthy. I’m here because Jesus loves you and He has put His love in my heart so that I love you too! If I am not presently your pastor, I’d love to become so. If you have a pastor, I urge you to pray for him/her and encourage her/him.

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