Yesterday, I posted on “8 Painful Statements I Still Remember as a Pastor.” As I wrote that post, I couldn’t help but think also about the many, many encouraging statements I’ve heard as a pastor. Here are some that still lighten my heart today:
- “It means so much to us that you’re here.” A family member had taken her life, and I had no idea what to say. I feared my silence made me an unprepared pastor – but I learned the power of the ministry of presence.
- “We commit to walking with you through this.” I had just broken off a marriage engagement, and I offered my resignation to the church’s deacons. Their love and continued support for me kept me in ministry.
- “Something’s happened to you.” To be honest, I had asked the Lord to break me of anything that stood in the way of my relationship with Him. He did that—in some painful ways at times—but folks apparently noticed that my passion for the Lord had changed. How I long to live that way today!
- “My son said he really enjoyed your sermon today . . . and he could tell me about it.” Her son was in his early elementary school years, and most of us assumed he never listened during church. It made my day that he understood what I said—and it reminded me to preach to the entire congregation. If children understand, adults will, too.
- “I’m ready to go home, pastor.” This saint of God told me these words not long before she passed away. That was almost 30 years ago, but I remember it as if it happened yesterday. She showed me how to die as a believer.
- “Hallelujah!” Imagine that word hollered loudly (and I do mean “loudly,” with undeniable joy) from the lips of a mother whose wayward son had just been baptized . . . in a conservative Baptist church where few people expressed any emotion in a service. If you get the picture, you know why the memory of that word makes me smile today.
- “We trust the Lord’s leading in your life, and you have our support.” I had just told some of my best church friends that I was moving to another ministry, and I feared how they would take the news. I learned that our members sometimes show more loving maturity than we do.
- “I’m ready to follow Jesus.” I can remember many people expressing the same sentiment, even if their words weren’t always exactly these. In fact, I can often remember the time and the setting of that conversation. I can see faces filled with anticipation. I still get emotional when I recall the peace and joy of a new believer, and I long every day to see it again.
Pastors, in the midst of these crazy days, I want to encourage you. You are loved. Thank you.
This article originally appeared here.