As I type these words, I am a little less than two months into my “retirement.” The reason for those quotation marks is that retirement has not meant that I am sitting on a beach, hiking mountain trails, or going on extended road trips or cruises. At this point, it appears that the Lord may have had another phase of ministry in mind for Donna and me.
The phone will ring or a text will be received. Another preacher – or maybe a preacher and his wife – “just needs somebody to talk to.” He – or they – wonder if one or both of us can and will spend some time with them.
The fact that I am no longer preaching full-time means that it is easier for us to be more available than was previously the case. The fact that we love the Lord, His church, and those who preach means that we are eager to help if we can.
Since I no longer have an office outside of our house, I – or we – have spent time with people in our home; in restaurants or coffee shops; in somebody else’s home; and other places. I really believe that a casual environment, rather than the more formal environment of an office, may be more conducive to what we are trying to do.
What exactly is it that we are trying to do?
We are trying to minister to ministers (and their wives).
I’m wondering if you might be able to join Donna and me in that ministry. There are no special qualifications. You do not have to be a retired preacher. You do not have to be a current preacher. You do not have any special training or wear any “official title.”
All you need to do is realize that, like you and your family, your preacher and his family are people.
Take it from one who knows. A man does not become superhuman merely because he is a preacher. There are limits to his endurance, ability to schedule, and patience.
A minister is not protected by some sort of shield or bubble. Neither is his family. They all live in the same world as the rest of us.
Your minister and his family have the same struggles that you and your family experience. They have the same emotions as you and your family. They have the same desire/need as anybody else to be loved and accepted for who they are; not what somebody expects them to be.
Like you, your preacher tries to make sure that he and his family do not run out of money before they run out of month. They actually do get sick from time to time. They grieve when they lose loved ones. Insults and snubs hurt them just as much as they hurt you.
Do you need somebody with whom you can “just be yourself” and have a good time? Your minister, his wife, and their children (if any) do also.
Do you need a true and trusted friend? Specifically, do you need somebody with whom you can share some very personal things and know that what is shared will stay between the two of you? Your minister and his family need that, too.
If geography, divorce, estrangement, and/or death has separated you from your physical family, do you appreciate those who really make you a part of the church family where you worship? Guess what? Your preacher and his family would appreciate that as well.
Who benefits if a minister has a minister? Obviously, he does. If you understand how important it is to know that somebody cares, why not let your preacher experience that as well? Only the Lord knows how many good men have left a local congregation or have totally given up on preaching because they thought nobody cared for them, their families, or their efforts.
The preacher’s family could benefit both directly and indirectly should you choose to accept my invitation to be a minister in this way. If you choose to “be there” for his wife and/or children, you will be helping them directly and him indirectly. If you choose to minister to him, your efforts will have an impact on his wife and children. You and your efforts could help change the entire dynamic of a family.
Your efforts could also change an entire congregation. It could very well be that the atmosphere, enthusiasm, and involvement would improve because the man who stands up to preach on a regular basis knows that the people love him. He also knows that they know that he loves them. When those times come when he must preach “unpleasant subjects,” they know that he is not trying to “pin somebody’s ears back.” He is trying to touch their hearts.
The “new commandment” given by our Lord was that His followers were to love each other. Not only was that the case, but He also said that others would know His followers by our love for one another (cf. John 13:34-35).
The context of that passage has Jesus washing the feet of His apostles. As many have pointed out in the past, He was doing something that nobody else either was willing to do or had thought to do.
Maybe nobody else is willing to minister to ministers. Maybe nobody else has thought about it.
AUTHOR: Jim Faughn