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I Am the Assistant Pastor

September 18, 2012

Gospel:  John 10:9-16

I go through these moods in ministry: Up and down. Energtic then apathetic. Deeply spiritual then shallow and convenient.

At times, I worry about my parish. I guess that’s part of my role. I wonder how the shut-ins are doing, what’s keeping the youth in line, how are the little ones doing. I’m concerned about our married couples and how can I help them build stronger marriages and I’m concerned about our unmarried couples and how I can help them find their way to marriage.

Often, I pray for the people of my parish. In my mind, I go down the pews, row by row, according to who usually sits where. I think about this one’s job situation or that one’s grandchildren. I ask God to help that family that has a financial problem, and this other family where the love has grown cold. Then I worry about the ones I’ve forgotten.

I sometimes get frustrated that I don’t have the time that a congregation like ours needs. There isn’t enough time to visit like I should. I can’t follow up with visitors like I need to. I can’t keep up with our many inactive members and their lapsing families. I can’t run the programs and ministries that other clergy in other congregations can.

My job keeps me busy enough, so to be pastor “on the side” is fraught with limitations.


When I start feeling like this, I remember that, in truth, I am the assistant pastor.

I’d like to think that I’m not as bad as the hirelings the Lord describes in John 10. I’d like to think that when the “wolf” comes, I won’t flee, as Jesus Christ describes. I hope that I care about the “sheep” enough not to run away when trouble comes our way.

But, I am a hireling nonetheless. The sheep aren’t mine. Even the sheepfold isn’t mine. As much as I love and care for the people at Peoria, there is One who loves them far more than I ever could. In fact, He owns them. He paid for them with His life. That is a price I am unable to pay. I know everyone at Church, and many who are not at Church, but Jesus the Shepherd knows them from the inside out.

I have my ups and downs, my moods, my prayers and my frustrations. I don’t have the time, the money, the energy. I can’t be everywhere for everyone.

But that’s okay.

There is One who is the Shepherd. He has no ups and downs, no moods, no frustrations. He doesn’t need more time because He transcends time. He needs no money because He owns it all already.

And I am happy to simply be His assistant.


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  1. That was wonderful, Brian!

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