I Appreciate Being a SDA Pastor

I Appreciate Being a SDA Pastor

Dana C. Edmond

This month is Pastor’s Appreciation Month. Wherever you are, I hope that you will tangibly demonstrate your appreciation for your Pastor(s).

I know that not everyone is appreciative of the Pastor that they have. Pastoring is a divine calling that is given to people who are quite human. The tension between what Pastors are expected to be, what they should be, and what we sometimes are can produce tension in the places where Pastors serve.

Being a Pastor is one of the most difficult of all professions-and it has gotten more difficult over the years.

But as I enter into my 46th year as a Seventh-Day Adventist minister, I recognize that despite the difficulties, the financial pressures, the wounds-both the ones inflicted on me and the ones I inflicted upon myself-that I have been highly blessed and favored to have spent nearly 50 years doing what I have done. I wouldn’t have wanted to do anything else. And if I could turn back the clock to August 7, 1978, when I boarded a plane in Huntsville, Alabama for Miami, Florida and then on to San Juan, Puerto Rico and finally, on to St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands-the place of my first pastoral assignment-I would do it all over again (except I would ask the Lord to help me to do it much better).

In fact, now that I know that my time is almost over, I wish I could do it all over again. So-in this Pastor’s Appreciation Month, I would like to flip the script and give 3 reasons why I appreciate being a Pastor:

  1. I Appreciate the Privilege of Preaching the Word of God: It is a wonderful privilege to be God’s instrument. God could have chosen zillions of other people-but somehow, He chose me.

I have absolutely no explanation as to why He chose me. But I am privileged beyond what I can explain or what I deserve that He did.

And then, He has given me so many wonderful opportunities to preach His Word-in places large and small. I remember preaching one time in a place where it was the Pastor, two little old ladies-and me. The church was small anyway-but there was a funeral that day and a number of members went to the funeral.

I must admit that I changed my mind about preaching to two people. I settled on a Bible study-like I would give for a Wednesday night Prayer Meeting. But the Holy Spirit read my mind and though I never told the Pastor what I intended to do, he leaned over and whispered to me just before the time for the sermon, “The people expect you to stand behind the pulpit and preach.” So-I did.

Those two little old ladies were moved by the Spirit to get into the message so much so that I soon forgot there were only threN people while I was preaching in that room that day. I learned a valuable lesson that day that I never forgot: The presence of the Holy Spirit is not determined by the presence of a large number of people.

In going on 46 years, I would guess that I have preached over 2,000 sermons (my wife and children would say that they have heard some of them more than once!). It has been an awesome privilege to preach every one of them.

  • I Appreciate the Opportunity to Study the Word of God. Recently, I spoke to a group of people at a Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting about the importance of having a personal devotional life. I talked about the need for having a time for personal devotions, having a place for personal devotions and having a plan for personal devotions.

But for me as a Seventh-Day Adventist Pastor, studying the Bible is not just my joy-it’s my job. I get paid to do what I enjoy doing-how blessed is that?

This morning, I was studying the Sabbath School Lesson in my office and my eye caught a totally different text and I went off in another direction in the Bible. I get paid to do that. That is a wonderful privilege.

      3.  Lastly…I Appreciate the People of God. In these past 45 plus years, I have had the privilege of pastoring, leading, and working for and working with so many wonderful people-all over the world. Yes-there have been some people who I would describe less charitably (and some who would describe me the same way), but for every one person with whom I have had problems, there have been many more who treated me better than I deserved. Who prayed with me, supported me, who worked hard to help me to achieve things, who treated my family kindly and on and on.

The hard part is that after nearly 50 years in ministry, so many of those people are now sleeping in Jesus-and what has been harder still is having to preach some of their funerals. More than once, I have had to try to hide my own tears at the funerals of people who have been such a blessing to me in my ministry.

The older I get and the more of those people I lose, the more precious are the words of that old MV song, “We have this hope that burns within our hearts. Hope in the coming of the Lord.”

I am writing this from my office is our new building. They designed the lights in my office to go out if no motion is detected. Several times as I am sitting at my desk, the lights in my office have gone out-because I am sitting at my desk, writing.

The contractor who built our building told us that the way to get the lights back on is wave our hands so that the sensor detects motion and turns the lights back on. So-that’s what I have done.

After nearly 50 years in ministry, I know that the lights of my ministry are almost about to go out. There is a part of me that wishes I could wave my hands, or wave some kind of magic wand, and the lights would come back on, the clock would turn back and I could be that young Pastor in St. Thomas or in Kentucky or in Memphis or Youth Director again.

But time does not wait for anyone. Soon it will be my time to-as we used to say in my Youth Director days-“ride on off into sunset”.

But as I get ready for that ride, I am thinking of how blessed I have been these past 45 plus years and how much I appreciate the privilege of being a Seventh-Day Adventist Pastor.