We tend to overlook the “ordinary” things in life.
We don’t watch a keynote speech live online to see the unveiling of a new model of an ordinary mobile phone.
We don’t buy expensive stadium tickets to watch ordinary athletes compete.
And ordinary YouTube videos never “go viral.”
The common, the everyday, the routine, the uneventful, the garden-variety…none of it grabs headlines or our attention. We notice the extra-ordinary, and when it comes we will watch it, buy it, and spread it.
Yet the honest truth is that most pastors do not think of themselves as exceptional. Most pastors are ordinary pastors, and normally they are the first to admit it. These ordinary pastors often face particular struggles and temptations, especially the temptation to compare themselves unfavorably to extraordinarily gifted pastors and preachers.
This is the beginning of a 12-part series of posts entitled “Ordinary Pastors” and is based on a message I preached at T4G 2010 and a chapter in compilation of messages from that conference entitled The Unadjusted Gospel (Crossway, 2014). In these posts, I hope to address some of the common temptations ordinary pastors experience and set a realistic vision for successful pastoral ministry that honors God and faithfully proclaims the Savior.
The ultimate goal of the series is to encourage ordinary pastors, men who are laboring faithfully in their ordinary churches and who seek to honor the extraordinary Savior. In the words of an older mentor to a young pastor,
“What is important at the end of the day is the church—ordinary churches trying to live faithfully in a rapidly changing society. Ordinary churches pastored by ordinary people like you and me, knowing that we cannot do everything, but trying to do what we can and seeking God’s face for His presence and blessing so that His dear Son might be honored and His people strengthened.”¹
May this 12-part series, “Ordinary Pastors,” play a small role to that end.
This post is part of a series entitled “Ordinary Pastors” and is adapted from a message I preached at T4G 2010, which was published in a compilation of sermons from that conference entitled The Unadjusted Gospel (Crossway, 2012. Used by permission.)
¹D. A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge, Letters Along the Way: A Novel of the Christian Life (Crossway, 1993), 226-227.