Thoughts from a Young Pastor
I’m a young Pastor. I’m not apologetic about it. It is what it is. I haven’t been through the wars. I haven’t seen all that there is too see. I haven’t been in the old fashion trenches. There is much respect that should be given to those who have. I respect them immensely. That is, I respect those who have been through the wars and come out on the other side as confessional and evermore steadfast in the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. I haven’t seen what many think should be seen to gain any kind of “creditability.” Fine. Fair enough. But the attitude that we young Pastors have nothing to offer is not only false but it is also unscriptural.
I don’t have the worldly experience that seems to be the common mandatory stigma for the synod at large. But what we young Pastors do have is an unwavering confession to the Scriptures and a Quia subscription to the confessions. Only from this platform can we young Pastors gain any experience that is worthwhile. Paul wrote to Timothy, “Let no one despise you of your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” That sounds like most of the guys that I graduated with from CTS and most of the young contributors at BJS. Okay, yes we have not yet gone through the wars. But there is a foundation here that cannot be moved. That foundation is that young Pastors, like Timothy, must be an example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. Let it be so, my fellow young brothers of the office. May God let it be so.
We don’t have the experience that some may see is required. Okay. Then what shall we do? The answer is confess. Confess the faith unabashedly and in confidence in what we have been training for, for most of our lives. Confess because the wars are coming. The experience is coming. Even Satan himself is coming. My cry here is for we, little Timothy’s, to be constant in the face of what is coming. My friend Pastor Donavon Riley gave me the best advice for a young Pastor, “Pray the Litany, a lot. Stick your nose in the Psalms, a lot. Trust that the cross and the affliction will find you without your help.” Take this to heart my blessed friends, and for you older Pastors take understanding from the same. Do we have a different confession? Do we not confession the same Christ? If you take insult from our youth, take also insult from the letter written to Timothy. Let us have no half measures.
I would also like to gift (not my gift) in the form of a letter from a senior Pastor to a younger Pastor: “I have read your letter and I don’t believe you are suffering a crisis of morality or of morale, but something more serious. You are afflicted by fear and loathing, which is not uncommon in these times that young men are taught by punks and pompous farts that pastors are people who “get things done,” and “make things happen.” What a disaster. The fact is babies are born squalling, people die neglected, and in between the parenthesis of birth, death, and new birth, human ambiguity: adolescents making an unholy mess of growing up and their parents muddling through as guilty bystanders. Then there is weather-worn holiness, stunningly beautiful graveside prayers, sacrificial love surfacing from the tangled emotions of a broken family, a hymn sung in the night, foretastes of the feast to come, the sullen betrayal of a bored spouse quietly redeemed from years of self-imposed self-worship by forgiveness and grace: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; all of this mixed together, churning, aching for that day … That is God’s will, and that is also why I shoot into the darkness at anything that moves. Sooner or later, I will hit the evil one, and feel no guilt … the war-drums roll, and the bugles howl for blood, and the fat is in the fire. So get ready for it, brother. Buckle up and watch your back at all times. We are at war, and it may last a long time, but we have Christ’s own promise, that cannot fail, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against Christ our strength and Christ our might … People go crazy from fear and loathing, but not us, brother, not us. We preach Christ, perfect love and hope, double-barreled, and we will blow the enemies head off!”
The war is coming. Be faithful, my dear brothers. But be reminded that Christ is our strength and Christ is our might. Be not afraid of the evil one nor the devil of “inexperience.” Confesses boldly and proudly. Be young. Make mistakes. But let no one despise you of your youth! Confess, my brothers! Confess. For there is no power in hell nor on earth that can overcome our Lord Jesus Christ. Confess him proudly and boldly. Confess. Let us have no half measures.
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