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The Essence of a Pastor

The Essence of a Pastor

Five pastors share stories about the core of their calling.
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Why are you in ministry? At times it's hard to remember, isn't it? Especially when you're bogged down by dull or difficult tasks. Sometimes it takes a little reflection to remind you of what's truly important. We wanted to rediscover the core of the pastoral calling.

So we asked five church leaders to each describe one experience that illustrates the essence of being a pastor. We trust their stories will prompt you to do some reflecting of your own, and reignite your passion for ministry.

Perry Noble

The Call to Care

People are not ministry interruptions.

I was irritated. All I wanted to do was enjoy a cup of coffee in silence. Now this young lady, who I didn't even know, was talking to me. And it wasn't interesting stuff. She was asking me random questions and telling me all about her life. I didn't want to hear it. Lord, why can't I just have some peace and quiet?

Jesus cared about people. Period. He did not view them as an interruption of his ministry but as the purpose for it. This is the biggest lesson I've learned as a pastor: embrace every conversation as an opportunity to fulfill the Lord's command to love him and love others.

Shortly after that, I was reading Mark 6. In the passage Jesus is performing miracles and giving teaching unlike anyone had ever experienced. His popularity was overwhelming—so much so that he told his disciples to withdraw with him to a solitary place for some rest. Yet when he arrived at his intended destination, the Bible tells us a crowd of people was waiting for him. What was his reaction? Anger? Frustration? "Just leave me alone"?

I would have likely reacted with all three! But not Jesus. We see how he responded in Mark 6:34: "When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things." Jesus cared about people—period. He did not view them as an interruption of his ministry but as the purpose for it. That is one of the biggest lessons I've learned over the past few years as a pastor: embrace every conversation as an opportunity to fulfill the Lord's command to love him and love others.

-Perry Noble, pastor at NewSpring Church, Anderson, South Carolina.

From Issue: Ministry's Core, Fall 2012 | Posted: November 12, 2012

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Displaying 1–5 of 5 comments


December 28, 2012  2:22pm

Ironic and others , we all expect pastors to be 24/7 social workers , the thing about this article isn't tthe writer being some high tech celebrity , or whether you know better how to run church. An unpaid pastor in a small country town runs into this same problem regularly. A pastoral care worker in a disadvantaged neighbourhood also cries out for just a bit of time out from people and their problems . Being able able to care , prevent compassion burnout ,spend time with your kids is a balancing trick we all find hard. Getting it wrong is why so many good pastors are lost ,they go to normal jobs where they're not expected to be God.I like the truth in this article . Remember to care .

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November 19, 2012  3:32pm

@David - I didn't say he wasn't right in what he wrote. And humble? Sure. I'm glad he admits his bad attitude. But it's still ironic that he is writing on interruptions, given the approach of that ministry to elevate him personally. It's like saying, "I have such a bad attitude about this constant paint on my pants. By the way, I'm a painter."

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November 14, 2012  12:50pm

My dad was a pastor, and he taught me that the interruptions ARE the job. Good reminder.

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November 13, 2012  11:01pm

I'm really sorry thats what you got out of this article. I dont know Perry. I've never heard him teach. I don't live within a thousand miles of him. And yet I do know that when a man or woman in a position of leadership has the humility to admit, "I'm human and sometimes I have just a plain old bad attitude...but I'm overwhelmed and humbled (and compelled) by Jesus' example", I believe a more fitting response is to glean what you can from their wisdom, and let the rest pass. To use this admission as a chance to jump up and say "Ah ha, see, I told you so!!!" is both unfair and unnecessary. Can we not celebrate the life change that's happening at NewSong? Can we not simply worship the God who uses us even when we miss the mark?

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November 13, 2012  3:43pm

I find this to be ironic. The apparent philosophy of NewSpring is that each venue they've established in the Upstate of SC should broadcast Perry Noble himself onto their stage via HOLOGRAM when it comes time to teach. So when a young lady interrupts his quiet coffee time, it should come as no surprise, should it? If you're planting churches all over the state spending hundreds of thousands on the ability to hologram ONE GUY onto all your stages (as if someone else isn't competent to preach the gospel in the flesh), you're a celebrity. Expect coffee time to be interrupted. Can we all relate to untimely interruptions in our communities? Sure. But we don't all feel the need to be holograms.

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