Wise words from a Doctor of the Church in praise of pastors you never hear about.

Small-Country-ChurchAs Dr. Gard wrote this while serving as a military chaplain deployed oversees, let us all remember to pray for our Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who serve and God uses to provide for week after week of relative peace and quietness in our country.

Dr. Daniel Gard, one of the professors at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana currently deployed as a Naval Chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba wrote:

I posted this on an on-line forum today in response to a pastor who laments what he perceives as less pastoral presence in the community than he himself has in his. I post it here to say thank you to the pastors who are the hands and feet and voice of the Babe of Bethlehem in places nobody seems to know even exist.

“Pastor X is a pastor in a large urban area that has seen more than its share of mass tragedy from 9/11 to Hurricane Sandy to the day to day, less publicized acts of violence and social conflict, poverty and a host of other ills. He and other pastors have been there to bring Christ to those who are suffering.

Pastors in Anytown, USA are also there with those who suffer whether those people are members of the parish or not. The national press pays no attention to the routine events of smaller towns and rarely are they the scene of the same mass tragedy that New York has suffered. But to the people affected the pain and suffering is their whole world at the time. And our pastors are there. If an event such as 9/11 happened in some small town in the Midwest, the local LCMS pastor would be there just as certainly as NYC pastors were there 11 years ago.

But just about everything a pastor does is under the radar. A parish pastor, for example, may bring the Altar to a member in a nursing home. While there, he will probably engage other residents and speak of God’s love to them. He will be in the homes of people and minister to them, their families and friends when tragedy strikes. He will attend a high school football game and sit next to the local town drunk, atheist or someone else. He will do these things and a thousand others. But no one will know outside of his parish.

With all due respect to DPs, they do not and cannot know what goes on daily in the ministry of every pastor in the district. To be sure, there are pastors who lock themselves away – but these are not the norm. They are the exceptions. Unfortunately, they often become the focal point of attention by the DP as the inevitable problems arise in their parish because they have isolated themselves. What does not draw attention is the simple, humble, dedicated work of the vast majority of parish pastors who serve in small and unnoticed congregations throughout the Synod. They seek no publicity and their names are not known outside of the places they serve. They will never be mentioned in a history book, even in a simple footnote. They seek no other honor than to someday hear the Savior say, ‘Well done good and and faithful servant.’These men are my heroes and I am humbled by the privilege of knowing them.”


Wise words from a Doctor of the Church in praise of pastors you never hear about. — 9 Comments

  1. “They seek no publicity and their names are not known outside of the places they serve.”

    Unlike others who lament what they perceive as less pastoral presence than they themselves have in theirs…

    “Let your light so shine among men that they may see your good works and glorify you to high heavens, while judging others…” No, wait! Matthew 5:16

    Thank you, Chaplain Gard!

  2. This is so true!!! My hero’s growing up, were my Dad & my Pastor. I was blest to see growing up, what elders did, publically & privately & Pastor’s, in public & private. My Dad & my Pastor, were peas in a pod. Brothers, from different mothers, so to speak, lol.

    Our Pastor, refused to leave, my Mum, at the hospital, when my Dad had a massive heart attack, ’85, at 52yrs old. Dad died twice that night, praise the paddles, Dad sure did!
    2 elders my Dad served w/came the next day, Pastor Schaefer had been there for over 24 hrs w/Mom. Our Pastor, flat out, refused to leave my Mom, or my Dad. Refused.

    Those elders had to “escort” Pastor to his car & made sure he drove away. I could always go to him, call him, ask him questions, or send friends to him. That is the bar set for me, as far as shepherds go.

    All Shepherds are Pastors, but not all Pastors are Shepherds. Thank you all, for all you do & who you are & for all the world never sees. Don’t doubt for one second, it isn’t remembered for all time, it most certainly is, gentlemen, it most certainly is.

  3. Thank you, Dr. Gard.
    And thanks to all faithful Pastors,
    especially the ones I’ve known and needed in my life.

    Blessed Christmas, “all y’all!” 🙂

  4. But no one will know outside of his parish.

    And most inside of his parish will never know, either.

    ars est celare artem – True art is to conceal art. The art of tending souls is no exception.

  5. Blessings on the Nativity of our LORD to all His faithful servants. At least HE didn’t place you on some island prison populated with jarheads, terrorists, sand crabs and the occasional hurricane. For this honor, HE sent his very best – a double blessing to Dr. Gard and all our faithful chaplains.

  6. Thank you all for what you do. One thing I have been reminded about while here is that the most important work takes place in the parishes of the Church where Word and Sacrament are present. The young people I serve come from across America. Some are grounded in the faith, most are not. That child sitting in the pew might one day be here or somewhere else and nothing matters more than the gift given by the Lord through His congregation.

    Pastors, never doubt the importance of what you are called to do. People of God, never forget the importance of what God has called you to do in your vocations. May the the Incarnate Lord bless all of you and keep you in His peace. It is all about Him.

    A Blessed Christmas to all. Christ the Savior is born!

  7. Is there room for HIM in the INN at LCMS?


    A blessed Christmas to those who are faithful in doctrine and practice to the point of giving all for HIM-THE BABE IN THE MANGER

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