I Will Give You Pastors After My Own Heart –
I preached, played the harmonica and sang Sunday at the New Covenant Community United Church of Christ in Baltimore, Maryland. The pastor is the Rev. Brian Murray. His church is a “New church start.” Denise and I are in town for the church convention of the United Church of Christ. I was pleased that several persons who heard I was preaching at the church showed up to worship with us. These persons included: Ella Davis, who is the vice moderator of the Plymouth UCC; her husband, Deacon Wade Davis; Mamie Coakley, who is serving as a delegate for the UCC convention in Baltimore; my wife, Denise, who is the parliamentarian for the church convention; Dr. Gina Orton, who is a friend and classmate of my wife and me from college; Don Hill, who is a former staff person for the United Church of Christ and now a consultant; two women who are members of the Heritage UCC in Baltimore, who learned from a friend, Yvonne Carter Bridges, via Facebook that I was preaching there and Denard McClary, the musical director for our Wednesday Noon Worship Service.
New Church Starts tend to begin small, and this church was right on target. The Spirit was high, the music was tremendous and the pastor was full of energy. It was clear to me that those in attendance love the church and really love the pastor. One older gentleman had just been released from the hospital and contacted the pastor that he was remembering the church in last will and testament.
As I think back to my experience at the church on Sunday, and my experience here in Baltimore at the church convention, I have been interacting with pastors from all kinds of churches all week long: black pastors that I have known for years, black pastors I am just beginning to meet, white pastors, ethnic pastors from around the world, young pastors, old pastors, female pastors, author-pastors, yes, I have two books for sale at the church convention, and pastors of all shapes and colors.
I met two pastors from South Africa and many others. This experience has reminded me of the tremendous responsibility God has put upon pastors. The prophet Jeremiah shares the Word of God that the Lord will provide pastors after his own heart to heal the land and bring Judah and Israel together as one nation. The pastor is charged by God to feed the flock with knowledge and understanding. Through the convention, I have found myself meeting with pastors, encouraging pastors, fellowshipping with pastors and thanking God that I am a pastor in my 41 year of ministry, all at the same church!
Jeremiah 3: 15 I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.
Questions for Reflection:
- What do these words from the prophet Jeremiah say to you?
- What are your thoughts regarding the role of the modern pastor?
Prayer: Lord, I thank you for the pastors you have placed over churches and ministries. Bless the pastors with compassion for the people, courage to speak truth to power, insight and faith to build up the church. Encourage the pastors with energy and outlook that can make your Word relevant and powerful for the people of today. Come quickly Holy Spirit and bless the church with an evangelical zeal to preach the Word, live the Word, and do the Word as we seek to tell the world of your goodness, mercy and grace. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Don Hill
Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/
More about the ministry of Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org