Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com
If God allows me to keep on living, in just a couple of years, I will hit a pretty cool tipping point; I will have been a pastor longer than I was not a pastor. I became a pastor at twenty-seven years of age. And for all of those first twenty-seven years, I saw Sundays pretty much like everyone else sees them, I suppose. I got to church a minute or two before Sunday school and saw the pastor on the platform when I walked in, dressed to the nines and looking as cool as the other side of the pillow. He was back that night, still smiling, leading the worship, and pleasantly bidding everyone goodnight when the service was done.
Honestly, it all looked pretty easy.
And then I became a pastor myself.
I have it good; let me state that right up front. The people in my church love the Lord and love me and love my family and love each other. It is a pleasant atmosphere, one that I look forward to each week. They are the sweetest people on earth, and anyone would be lucky to pastor them.
But as for Sundays themselves, most people have no clue what that day can be like for a pastor. I know I certainly didn’t. Mind you, I am assuming that I am pretty normal as far as pastors go. If I am somehow an oddity, then so be it.
I am writing this on Sunday night. Here is how the day went.
I woke up early, prayed over the day, and grabbed a bite of breakfast. Then three of us Wagners headed out for church; the other two would drive their own vehicles. On the way in, though, we had to stop at Ingles. This is an every Sunday thing; we pick up donuts and other items for breakfast for the early arrivers before Sunday school. Along the way, we also sent out my daily DO Drops devotional by text to all of our members.
We had to check the post office box on the way in; we were out of town for the last couple of days, taking seventeen of our ladies to a ladies meeting six hours away in Virginia, and so did not get to check it. Once that was done, we made it to the stop sign below the church, turned right onto Highway 74 (the church driveway comes right off of the highway), and started toward the church. But I quickly had to swerve the truck into the grass in front of the church; someone left us the generous gift of litter again last night.
I got that picked up, and we drove on into the parking lot. I dropped Dana and Karis off at the door of the fellowship hall to get the breakfast going, and I went into the church and got everything in there up and running. Then I hit the desk; there was one section of my Sunday school lesson that I wanted to tweak a bit; during the night, some thoughts hit me concerning it.
In the midst of that, though, my phone rang. One of our ladies was being rushed to the hospital a county over with a possible stroke. So I headed out into Sunday school assembly, told everyone what was happening, and we gathered for prayer. I taught Sunday school and then turned my attention to the service itself. Some of our scheduled singers were absent, so we had to make some adjustments on the fly. Preaching was a bit labored, I think; the unexpected news of the morning made concentrating pretty difficult.
Right after service, I got another text about another gentleman I needed to visit in another hospital. So we ran to scarf down some quick lunch. But the phone rang when I drove into the parking lot. Upon answering it, I was requested to preach the funeral of a person I did not know. Long story to that one – but simply put, as far as I am concerned, preaching anyone’s funeral is an honor and the least I can do to serve Christ by serving others.
After lunch (which was consumed with thoughts of how to handle the funeral), I took Dana back to the church (she had things that had to be done before the night service), and I headed to the hospital. Made that visit, then headed a county over for the next hospital visit.
I rushed back to church in time to help the men get set up to feed our ladies dinner – their spoils for winning our Fired Up February visitors contest. Then we rushed to get everything cleaned up and headed into the evening service. Tonight was a question-and-answer night; I do that every few months, allowing people to ask Bible questions from the floor, which I then answer. And this on a night when my mind was being pulled in a thousand different directions.
After the service, at the door, people lined up with questions they were too shy to ask during service; I had to “turn my brain back on” for that unexpected eventuality. And then I had to come home and write a column since tomorrow I have an unexpected early meeting to attend to.
This is not an uncommon kind of Sunday. But far from being a bad thing, Jesus cast it as a very good thing, saying in Mark 10:44-45, “And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Pray for your pastor. For you, Sunday is probably a relaxing, enjoyable experience, a day of rest and worship and praise and fellowship. For him, though he loves every second of it, it is juggling running chainsaws while unicycling blindfolded across a tight rope that is stretched over a pit of hungry alligators in a tornado while being stung by bees and sneezing uncontrollably.
Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at email@example.com, and his books are available by clicking the “Store” link above.
Feature photo by Pastor Bo Wagner