Listen to Your Pastor

I thank God for the Pastors and Elders that He's placed in my life. Below is a true story about my very first pastor, Bishop Don Johnson at Grey Road Church in Memphis, TN.




It was 2003, and I was 19 years old. Every Sunday night before evening worship started at 6:00, a small group of men would meet at 4:00 for the following purpose: studying and discussing The Word of God. Most of the minsters of the church attended, including the Pastor himself.

The format of our Men's Bible Study was simple: each week, a different man was asked to present scriptures that God had laid on his heart. He would take 5-10 minutes, and then we would discuss; the meeting would usually last until 5:00.

This week was my turn. I cannot recall what I presented that afternoon, but what I distinctly remember is the aftermath. When we dismissed and headed down to get ready for night service, Bishop Johnson motioned me over and asked a question:

"Brother Joel, would you like to take part in the ministry?"

This was serious. I thought about it for a moment, and then answered from my heart: "No."

He looked at me for a few seconds. I repeated, "No, Bishop, I really don't."

Brother Johnson nodded his head with the kindness that came with 50 years of Apostolic ministry and leadership. He spoke softly, "I understand you. Son, it's rough being a preacher."

But he wasn't finished. "I need you to take next week's men's class. Would that be ok? You did good this week."

I responded, "of course. I can do that."

Next week rolled around, and we had our Bible discussion. As we were finishing up, he informed me that I needed to go again next Sunday at 4:00. When that Sunday rolled around, he put me presenting the class one more time.

I had presented 4 weeks in a row to the Men's Bible Study. This was new. I was excited to be asked to do this. After that last class, he told me, "could you take some of what you talked about and bring that before the church on a Tuesday night?" That was our midweek service. I was nervous, but I agreed, "yes, Pastor. I can do that."

He scheduled me for Tuesday night 2 weeks ahead. Service rolled around, and I was ready. I had my notes lined up. When he called my name to come to the pulpit, I felt the weight of where I was. I knew being in the pulpit was an honor - one service can be life-changing for a soul, so I put my whole self into it. Afterward, the saints told me they appreciated what I had to say.

Some time passed, then Bishop Johnson called on me to take 15 minutes at the end of the Adult Sunday School class on Sunday morning, and I did. Not long after, he asked me to take the whole adult class one week. Around then, it became normal for me to be asked to preach a service or teach the adults. Most often it would happen when I returned home for break during my college years.

I don't know exactly when, but one day I was thinking about this and realized that Bishop Johnson had worked me into the ministry. He had ignored what I told him!

I had said 'No' - twice! I had not sought this out, or asked repeatedly to be used.

He ignored my "no", and I thank God that he did.

I learned that Pastors can see things in us that we sometimes cannot yet appreciate. We observe life by our effects in our immediate vicinity, but I've grown to understand that our men of God intercede for us. They are praying prayers of blessing in our lives during seasons where we feel no one is looking - but they are.

Bishop Johnson never asked me if I was called into the ministry - this defies common wisdom. He never asked me because he ALREADY KNEW the answer to that question. He knew what The LORD had showed him - I was called to preach. He was just, as a good Pastor, weighing whether he was going to work me into the pulpit "officially" or "unofficially".

I was fighting my calling, but he was patient. I could not see what lay in front of me, but he was praying for me. Thank God for Bishop Johnson. Thank God for Pastors. Thank God for all of you who make our ministries possible!

Comments

  1. So glad that God knows the end from the beginning. He has called & He has chosen whom He will use. Amen to you obedience.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So glad that God knows the end from the beginning. He has called & He has chosen whom He will use. Amen to you obedience.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So glad that God knows the end from the beginning. He has called & He has chosen whom He will use. Amen to you obedience.

    ReplyDelete
  4. So glad that God knows the end from the beginning. He has called & He has chosen whom He will use. Amen to you obedience.

    ReplyDelete

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