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More than one day a week

Full disclosure. I am a pastor and it is pastor appreciation month. I am not soliciting comments and cards myself — I have been well greeted already. Rather, I invite you as neighbors to consider the pastors you know and to give you a “glimpse behind the curtain.”

Over the years, I have known hundreds of pastors in my own denomination. I have also gotten to know people serving other denominations around me. I have listened to their stories, learned from their experiences, and been inspired by the vast array of God’s gifts given to them. I have cherished the partnerships we have forged and the challenges through which we have come.

First let me say, we are human. With the early Christian leader the Apostle Paul, I can long to be a lead-by-example type, yet know that my own life is full of faults (he declared himself the chief of all sinners in 1 Timothy 1:15).

Pastors aren’t perfect; instead, we pray that through us people will see Christ, who is. Do not follow me … but join me as I seek to follow God.

Second, let me declare the obvious. A pastor is not “the church.” As gifted as any of the great pastors I’ve known have been, they couldn’t do it all. They needed the rest of the body. As Christians, we are all called to ministry. To be Christian is to be part of a larger body, in community, guided by Christ. We may have a variety of spaces into which we each go, but we are also tied back to each other by the Holy Spirit. Staying connected is vital to our personal spiritual health, and to the health of our shared responsibility to be Christ’s body together.

Pastor’s haven’t always done what they do today. I spend more time now with a computer or smartphone than a horse and saddle. I have more bible commentaries on my bookshelf than my fore-runners, but often search the internet or listen to a podcast as I reflect and prepare to preach and teach. I catch people as much by phone, Facebook and email as I do face-to-face.

Life is dynamic and constantly changing. Ministry and the ways we do church change as well. But the love of Christ endures. Join one of our area pastors this Sunday and help share it.

Rev. Michael Kendall is lead pastor of Farmville United Methodist Church. He can be reached at mkendall@farmvilleumc.org.