This is an opinion piece.

I’ve never seen a bumper sticker with the message, “Have you hugged your pastor today?” It could exist though. A better bumper sticker might be, “Have you prayed for your pastor today?”

It’s safe to say all pastors, or clergy, covet the prayers of their parishioners or congregations. I believe there’s no higher calling than serving as a pastor and ministering to the spiritual, physical, mental and emotional needs of the people in your care.

October is clergy appreciation month, and I’ve seen photos on Facebook of pastors being honored by their churches. Good job to those churches who have saluted their pastors (and their families), and I hope other congregations have plans to do the same.

At Liberty Baptist Church, we said goodbye to our pastor, the Rev. Chris Andrews, and his wife and fellow servant, Beverly, with a card and gift table on Sunday, Oct. 10. Chris stepped down after seven and a half years of ministry at Liberty, and we’ll miss him and Miss Beverly. They’ll always have a place with us.

I’m thankful that Brother Chris stood and boldly proclaimed the unchanging truth of God’s Holy Bible every Sunday and Wednesday. He believes in the message of John 3:16, that everyone is a “whosoever” and capable of receiving the free gift of God’s salvation.

The late J.W. Thompson was pastoring Liberty Baptist Church when I was born. Brother “Jay” and his late wife, Lorene, remained close friends with my parents after the Thompsons left Liberty.

I was too young to remember much about Brother Jay’s ministry at LBC, but my parents told me about his passion for reaching lost souls and helping our church grow spiritually.

Brother Charles Smith is the first pastor I remember well. He served at Liberty from 1972-77. Brother Charles is small in stature, but I recall him being a giant of a preacher and teacher.

The late Rev. Woody Lee was Liberty’s pastor when I accepted Christ as my Savior, and he also baptized me in Grady Holsonback’s pond. Brother Woody was a powerful preacher.

Charles Watkins, Larry Mann, Morris Stephens, the late Wesley Garner, Earl Mitchell and Dr. Roger White are other men who have pastored Liberty during my lifetime. I’m thankful for the spiritual impact they made in my life, and that all of them stood and preached nothing but God’s word.

I still remember this nugget from one of Brother Morris’ sermons. He said an old minister told him to preach, “Heaven’s high, Hell’s hot and gun barrel straight.”

My late mother, Shelba Allen, was a prayer warrior for her pastor. Her favorite verse for pastors is a fitting conclusion to my column. Romans 10:15 reads, “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

 

Shannon J. Allen is publisher for The Reporter. He can be reached at shannon.allen@sandmountainreporter.com.

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