President”s Lunch addresses common issues for pastors and wives

AUSTIN—While preparing for the SBTC Annual Meeting, convention president Nathan Lino felt two burdens from the Lord, he said.

“One was for us to focus on the theme of the Holy Spirit, and secondly was for us to focus specifically on encouragement and the ministry of encouragement.”

The latter was the focus of the president’s luncheon Nov. 15 at the meeting, which included five encouraging talks for ordinary pastors and their wives by addressing common issues.

With more than two decades in ministry under his belt Matt Carter, pastor of The Austin Stone Community Church, opened the segment with a sobering statement for fellow ministers.

“I think discouragement is as inevitable as death. It’s as inevitable as taxes. It’s not a question of if you’re going to be discouraged in your ministry, but it’s really a matter of when it’s going to happen,” he said.

But he also offered hope for those, who like himself, are currently walking through such a season.

“I am in very good company, and that is namely Jesus Christ. … Jesus was able to endure discouragement in ministry because there was a joy that was set before him. That’s what we’re called to do. We can endure because of the joy that was set before us,” Carter said.

Josh Smith, pastor of MacArthur Blvd Baptist Church, Irving, cautioned pastors to remember the importance of taking care of their own souls.

“Pastors don’t fall. Pastors drift,” Smith said. “If we’re not careful, we find ourselves farther than we ever thought we could be.”

To combat the slow drift away from walking in the Spirit, Smith encouraged pastors to reach out to each other and to stay connected.

“We need each other. The only way we’re not going to be another one of the guys who fell and slowly drifted away is if we’ve got each other and we’re finding ways to get involved in each other’s lives,” he said.

Lino’s wife Nicole offered a personal perspective for pastors’ wives struggling with often-unseen discouragement.

“We all know this woman. She sits on the second row with a smile. … She really loves the Lord, and she wants to serve him with all of her heart; but what we don’t see is that you’re crying yourself to sleep at night, and you’re wondering if this is really what God called you to.”

Like Smith, she urged wives of pastors to seek relationships with each other and also to stay rooted in Scripture instead of believing the lies of the world.

“We are bombarded with voices from our culture about what our life has to look like and what role we have to play. … Allow his Word to cleanse you, and let that voice speak into your life,” she said.

For pastors struggling with resentment of other pastors, Kevin Ueckert, pastor of First Baptist Church in Georgetown, offered a reminder from Scripture. The book of Acts gives an account of Jesus’ disciples searching for a candidate to fill the vacant position of the 12th disciple. The 11 cast lots to choose between two candidates—Matthias and Barsabbas—and they selected Matthias.

“What in the world would it have felt like in that moment to be Barsabbas?” Ueckert asked.

“Barsabbas was nominated as an apostle, a disciple, because of who he was. He was a follower of Jesus Christ, and that ought to tell us what he did when he wasn’t chosen. He kept following Jesus Christ, no matter what.”

Closing out the luncheon, Chris Osborne, pastor of Central Baptist Church in College Station, gave a charge for pastors to prepare now for the finish line by guarding their lives and not merely coasting.

“I have a heartbeat that I have the same passion and drive in my last sermon at Central that I did the first day,” he said.

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