In John chapter 21, Jesus tells Peter that because of his love for Jesus, Peter was to ‘Feed my lambs, tend my sheep, and feed my sheep’. Praise God for faithful pastors who give of themselves to feed and tend. Thirty four years ago my “spiritual dad” and pastor fed and tended me.
Papa Jerry, as many of my group called him, was a man full of love for Jesus and others. He and his wife, Ruby, preached and taught God’s word uncompromisingly and discipled their little flock by letting us into their lives. I remember them frequently saying to me “Jesus loves you; I love you; and by the way you are called into the ministry”. These words often came after confessing faults, trials, and sins to them. They were always ready to show what the bible had to say about my questions. Even though the words “you are called into the ministry” seemed way off target at the time, the words “Jesus loves you and I love you” encouraged me to grow in my relationship with Jesus Christ. Today I look back at over 25 years in full time ministry- 12 as a senior pastor. For many of those years, Papa Jerry sat in the congregation with a huge grin on his face.
I currently work at this excellent discipleship ministry creating materials and training that assists pastors and churches to feed and tend their lambs and sheep. My most gratifying moments, however, come when I am able to encourage pastors and ministers who come to us for ministry with the words “Jesus loves you; I love you; and you are called into the ministry”.