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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Valentine

Who would ever want to be a Pastor?

A noble purpose inspires sacrifice, stimulates innovation and encourages perseverance.

Gary Hamel

Since I have already told you about my first two pastors, I thought I would complete the trilogy with a few words about my current pastor. We call him Pastor Monte. There is a lot of misconceptions about pastors. I think people see ministers on television and think it is glitz and glamour. I like to think of poor Moses when I think of the ultimate pastor. Moses was the answer to the Israelites' prayers. As is so often the case, people remember what you used to be or who you used to be and it is difficult for them to see you in your grown up role. Moses was a murder and a bit of a coward if we really look at it. He murdered an Egyptian and then fled to avoid facing the consequences. While away from Egypt, he met his wife and was helpful to his father-in-law. Moses had to face the calling on his life. He was reluctant, gave God all types of reasons (excuses) why he should not go and basically was trying to disqualify himself. Even after the children of Israel left Egypt, their murmuring and complaining kept them from seeing the promise land.

This is definitely a position you have to have a calling for. You take all of the blame for whatever goes wrong and you can’t take any of the credit for anything that goes right – all of the credit belongs to God. This is the job of a pastor. You have to convert the lost, bless the babies, see to the sick, and bury the dead. Pastor Monte is the son of a preacher. If you are a preacher’s kid, you know the drill. You are the ones that have to go to church…no negotiations. You also assume the responsibility of participating in a vocation that is decided for you. So much of the pastor’s success is based on his family’s participation in the ministry.

Pastor M stepped into his father’s role after lots of reflection. He relocated his family to Georgia and started the work of transitioning his father’s congregation into one framed after his own vision. One of his first pastoral tasks was to accompany my sister and me to make arrangements for my mother’s funeral. I knew him before he became my pastor. When I was temporarily in California training on a job, I had the opportunity to visit with him and his then fiance (later to become his wife). He and my husband were friends since my husband attended this church when he was in college. Due to that relationship, he is one of the godfathers of my oldest son. I think I have painted a picture of the strain a pastor is under so now I will describe some of the fun we have had with him.

Pastor M, like the rest of us is in constant pursuit of being fit. During the summer a few years back a group of us used to meet at Stone Mountain Park to hike the rough side of the mountain. We would meet on Saturdays…at 6 a.m. It’s a mile up jagged rocks and boulders. Quite a challenge for anyone of any fitness level but one mile straight up a steep incline at 6 a.m. is a character building experience. The great thing about the experience is that you learn a lot about yourself. The first time through you really have to push yourself. I would be happy with just going the half mile and back. The payoff is getting to the top and being able to see for miles in every direction and to view the beautiful sunrise. It is so inspiring that you can’t help but to break into song…”How great thou art”. It’s fair to say I probably wouldn’t have had this experience without his encouragement. A lot of huffing, puffing and sweat went in this adrenlanine high!

Not long after Pastor Monte relocated, our high school football team was making history. My oldest was the senior all county defensive player on the team. He kept up with the scores and encouraged prayers for the team. During the playoff game, we looked up and three generations of pastor’s family were in the stands cheering the team on. This was tremendous because my husband hadn’t attended one high school game during the 8 years that the fellas were in school. It wasn’t a substitute for his father, but it was a great show of support and encouragement for our family.

The final thing I want to say about Pastor Monte is that he is not perfect…which makes him perfect for our church. He stays current with political, social, and community issues. In addition to being fluent in Spanish, he is well traveled. He and his father are very accomplished academically, but not so much that they are out of touch with current events. I enjoy his sermons because he speaks from an intelligent perspective. One of the most fun things about his sermons is if you are not carefully, he will slip some old school lyrics in the sermon…just to illustrate a point. Being a pastor is a hard job, but Pastor Monte, you are doing it well!

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