Words are eternal. The words of God’s shepherds are precious. I will gather them. -Rachael M Colby
Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not. Jeremiah 20:9 NKJV
Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord’s house, all the words that I command you to speak to them. Do not diminish a word. Jeremiah 26:2 NKJV
To the Pastors and Pastor’s Wives who participated in this series:
It’s been an amazing journey, a privilege, an honor, a humbling and challenging experience, to host these interviews, to gather your words. Sometimes I shouted, “Hallelujah and amen!” Sometimes I cried; often I repented. Thank you for sharing your hearts, your vision, and your lives with us. Thank you for answering the call to follow Jesus, to serve and shepherd His flock, to be salt and light to the world.
God, as I bring this series to a close with this last set of interviews, I pray you would bless and protect your ministers, their marriages, families and churches. I pray you would refresh them physically and spiritually, provide for their needs. Guide them; give them fresh vision and strategy. Grant them favor in their communities. Increase their faith; may they never go a day without knowing the assurance of your love and presence in their lives.
…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…Hebrews 12:1-2 (NASB)
Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:12-14 (NASB)
Jesus, I pray you would pour out your spirit on Your Church. Grant us your gift of repentance; bring healing and deliverance. Open our hearts to your perfect will, that we might choose to sanctify ourselves. God make us miserable in trivial pursuit, and discontent with complacency. Let us abhor compromise and sin and pick up our cross and follow you, Lord. Create in us a clean heart and let our joy be found in You. Give us ears to hear, eyes to see, hands and hearts that serve each other and reach out to the lost. May we become obedient and zealous sons and daughters to the tasks and destiny you have called us to. Give us holy boldness. Draw us to You, set our souls on fire; may we love You and one another as You have commanded. Bring people to salvation, Lord, and revival to our souls, our churches and our countries. In Jesus’ name I pray; amen.
Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords And strengthen your pegs. Isaiah 54:2 (NASB)
What is your favorite memory of pastoring?
We prayed for a woman who struggled with diabetes for 20 years, after which she didn’t come back to church for nearly a month. We called her house and stopped by many times, but got no answer.
When she finally returned, she testified why she had been absent for so long.
The day after we prayed for her she took her normal insulin dosage and became deathly ill. Her doctor had her admitted to a hospital for testing because he couldn’t figure out the problem.
A specialist was eventually called in, and his discovery baffled everyone. The doctors were amazed because they could not explain how her pancreas had “somehow” rejuvenated itself. She was no longer diabetic! -Pastor, Transformation Ministries
What is the funniest or craziest memory you have of pastoring?
Pastor’s Wife: A church member and I were hanging out, so she lent my husband her car because we only had one vehicle at the time and my husband needed to travel out of state for a men’s class. He almost missed his exit so he cut across lanes too fast. He got pulled over for “Driving dangerously.”
Pastor: I needed to find the registration and when I reached into the glove box her bra fell out. It was crazy!
Pastor’s Wife: Apparently she had had an MRI the day before, and had to leave her bra off, so she put it in the glove box and forgot it. He called me and said “Tell _____thanks for the surprise.” He was half laughing, half horrified. She was dying!! So funny.
LOL! Did he get a ticket? Or did the cop extend grace in exchange for a good laugh? I’m trying to picture him explaining this to a cop!
Pastor’s Wife: Yeah he’s telling the cop “It’s not my car!” The cop was probably like, “Yeah buddy. Good excuse.” 😂 He didn’t get a ticket.
And then he handed the cop a flyer and invited him to church, right? 😂
Pastor’s Wife: Um, no. I don’t think he acknowledged he was a Christian in that situation. -Anonymous
Pastor Winslow and Suzanne, how long have you been married?
We have been married 30 years. We have six children and have been pastoring 28 years. -Pastor Greg and Suzanne Winslow, Missionary to Zihuatanejo, Mexico
How did you become a pastor?
We went to Mexico to be a helps ministry to a work already there with Bible studies. We were thrust into it by the need and embraced it a couple years later. I have planted three churches in Mexico and pastored three at once at one point. (The Winslows are currently in transition in the United States for a time, while still overseeing the work in Mexico.)
What have been some unexpected hardships to pastoring?
Hardships in the area of provision. Lack of finances sometimes made it difficult for us as large family, but God always provided.
We didn’t expect the conditions we had to live in. When we first got to Mexico, our daughter Olivia got very sick. It took a long time to figure out what was wrong with her and I, (Suzanne), had to go back to the USA with her for a time. It was a long process of healing.
Our son, Josiah was born with two holes in his heart. At age four we were told he had to be operated on or he would die in a year and a half. But God miraculously provided everything for him to be alive. He is now a pastor in Mexico.
Do you have someone you can talk to for counsel, encouragement, prayer- someone you can be open with?
Very few and very little. We had each other and the Lord. Until towards the end, we had more fellowship, leadership, under a new covering.
Would it have been easier to be missionaries if you had had that covering all along?
I’m sure it would have. But we were formed in a way we wouldn’t have been if we had. I am grateful for both.
What has been the most unexpected benefit to pastoring?
The ability to train my own family and some of them are now coming into the ministry themselves. Knowing that eight or nine preachers are a result of my discipleship.
What are some of your favorite memories of pastoring?
Baptizing my children. Dedicating my grandchild. Baptizing people as new believers who are still serving God. Marrying people who were children raised in church. Seeing kids grow up in church and come to their potential. Marrying my own son and daughter. Visiting works we pastored before and feeling welcomed. Seeing people get saved and grow. The miracles, marriages put back together.
All the good memories revolve around positive fellowship. All the negative ones revolve around the church not getting along.
What encourages you? What are some things your congregation could do to lighten your load?
People making amends, having positive fellowship instead of not getting along. The congregation having stable relationships, loving each other in hard times working out their relationships on their own. -Suzanne Winslow
Show appreciation; we are fighting a fight for your families, your souls. Be available to be trained, even when your pastor says hard things. Suck it up and be formed. -Pastor Greg Winslow
Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. Jeremiah 18:3 -4 NASB
What is your biggest challenge pastoring?
I love the reboots, the small and struggling church. I love to use my gifts for the church.
What are your gifts?
Church re-planting, bringing fresh vision and direction, putting up leadership structure and reclaiming the power of the gospel in the community. We’ve always had churches that supported us; the nucleus has always been good even if there was some cancer there,the DNA of the churches we’ve pastored has always been good.
What most encourages you?
The change in people’s lives. -Pastor Bruce and Sarah Hanlon, Forrestdale Church, Sandwich MA
What do you believe is the biggest threat to the church today?
Tolerance. Christians should be discriminating. They should exercise sound judgment; not no judgment. -Anonymous
There is no difference between the Christian and the world. There needs to be a difference between the world and the Church. -Anonymous
The worldliness in our own hearts. -Pastor James La Belle
And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. Romans 7:18 NLT
Leaders give license. When pastors become tolerant to sin they give license to the behavior for others to continue in that way. The church needs to recognize its distance from God, repent, and take steps toward God. -Pastor Greg Winslow
What do you believe is the biggest threat to the church today?
Fat baby syndrome from so little exercise,
Lack of spiritual curiosity,
Gun shy evangelists. -Pastor Bruce Hanlon, Forrestdale Church, Sandwich MA
People don’t tend to pray when they don’t feel threatened. Once Suzanne was surrounded by a bunch of people with machine guns in front of our home in Mexico.The danger there keeps you focused. When things are good and sweet and easy, people tend to become distracted. Some people in the USA spend more time watching football than with God. Education is overrated in US- kids go to college and don’t use their degree. They pursue what life says they should and leave out the God factor. They don’t know God, or the why or what they are here for. People in USA feel they have to pursue a good job so they can accumulate more nice things. Some think they always need to upgrade things instead of getting by with necessities and investing in reaching people with the Gospel. Pastor Greg and Suzanne Winslow
So, materialism and the god of entertainment?
Yes those two, definitely. So, while we are here in the USA, we try to keep ourselves ministry minded and focused. That’s why we have shunned TV.
The false doctrine and worldliness that’s been slowly creeping in. Much of the church is using worldly things like entertainment, programs, etc., to draw people in and keep them interested, but not presenting enough sound biblical doctrine to produce disciples who are uncompromising and strong in the faith. -Pastor, Transformation Ministries
What do you believe is the key to revival?
Revival is something that God has put in my heart from I was a young convert. I’ve always known it’s something God wants to do. I believe when Christians will simply take God at His word and live the Gospel lifestyle, then revival will be attached to that, a momentum you can’t stop. It starts with a few people that take God seriously. -Pastor Chip Ganiear, Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod
Forgiveness and Lordship. Lordship means supreme authority. There is none higher than Jesus. Without Lordship, there is no revival. people need to not just pray to God, but actually meet with him, enjoy Him and get direction for their lives from Him.
I believe the answer can be found in 2 Chronicles 7:14. The church (starting with leadership) needs to humble themselves before God, seek Him wholeheartedly, pray, and repent.
We are in a seriously troubled time in our nation, and in the world. I urge you to turn away from all forms of worldliness, repent of any sin in your life, and draw closer to the Lord than you ever have before. -Pastor, Transformation Ministries
If you love people, you will say something if they are going the wrong way. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. It’s time for the people of God to enter in. This isn’t a pep rally or wishful thinking. I am persuaded of God and by the Holy Spirit that God is doing a new thing. -Pastor Paul Campo, Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod MA
If you could tell your church anything about yourself, your family, or anything else what would it be? What’s on your heart?
I suppose I would tell them that I’m human too and struggle with the sins and temptations that all people face, that patience in the face of difficulty will bear better fruit than anxiety, that I protect my family and before a word is spoken against them it has to get through me, that I love the LORD Jesus and He is my rock and salvation, that what you “feel” in your heart might not be what is real in God’s word, that truth conquers lies and light dispels darkness and there is no sin that cannot be overcome by grace. This I would tell them… and so much more. -Pastor Michael Duncan, Author, Speaker, Pastor, Mountain View Baptist Church, Darrington WA
Give God 6 solid and faithful months, 3 services a week and I guarantee your life will be transformed. -Pastor Raul and Stephanie Delcid
I would tell them, whatever they’re going through, God is faithful; trust Him; never doubt Him; wait upon Him. -Pastor James Labelle, Pastor, Author
Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! Psalms 27:14 (NKJV)
Is there anything else you would like to share that hasn’t been covered?
Serving God is not an option. When you love God, He becomes your number 1 priority. -Stephanie Delcid, Missionary Wife, Cuenca, Ecuador
I would say this: See your pastor for who he is and not for what you imagine him to be. Pray for your pastor, and encourage him along the way. He is just as human as you are, filled with weaknesses and struggles – with hopes and dreams. Make sure he knows that he is not alone and that you are willing to walk with him through the fires of life. Don’t abandon ship because you find your personality at odds with someone else. Grow up a bit and embrace the faith. Shout an “amen” once in awhile! It will do you good and surprise your pastor. And, above all, be true to Christ Jesus who is LORD of all and Savior for all who believe. -Pastor Michael Duncan
…Thank you for the prayers, we appreciate the prayers so much. -Stephanie Delcid
Highlights from Interviews with Pastors & Pastor’s Wives from Around The World 2016 (You may need to pause the video to give yourself more time to read some of these slides)
Songs: Soul on Fire by Third Day & Once and for All by Lauren Daigle
Thank you to my faithful friend Renee Williams, for putting up with my tantrums over tech issues and always being there to bounce my ideas off of. Thanks for pulling this video together at the last minute, thus keeping me out of trouble with God.
To Jerry B Jenkins my mentor at jerrysguild.com: You are the reason this blog exists. You are an amazing writer and teacher. Someday I will make you proud. I know- I still have much editing and learning to do. If you read this, you will probably find a million errors and cut my word count in half.
To my fellow guild members within our little group who share their knowledge, hearts and struggles: You inspire and encourage me. Thanks for talking and praying me through this writing journey- sometimes at 3 am as I put this series together. Indeed, we are aptly named- Mom by Day, Writer by Night. Write on, mamas.
To my local writer’s group at Brooks Free Library: Thanks for your encouragement. To our leader, author Jack Sheedy, thanks for putting up with me and pushing me just a little further. That’s why there is a video in this post.
To my family: Thanks for enduring the chaos of the last couple months and hanging in there with me in my delirious state. Thanks for reading and rereading my work, handing out website cards and wearing my t-shirts..
Most of all, thanks to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. You never leave me and always carry me through. Thank you for the privilege of being allowed to write for You. You are the love of my life.
Founded in 2010, Energize Ministries provides encouragement, refreshment, and recreational opportunities for pastors and ministry leaders and their families. Additionally, they spread awareness among churchgoers about the need to be intentional in supporting, encouraging and praying for their spiritual leaders. Learn more about how to support and encourage your pastor at energizeministries.com
Text the word PASTOR to 74574 for daily/weekly reminders & tips to pray for your pastor.
© 2016 Rachael M Colby