So, yesterday it occurred to me how unique our experience on the road really was. We had amazing opportunities to learn about ministry, God, each other, and traveling. So, as to not preface this series with too much, I'm sporadically going to post short snip-its of things that stand out in my brain from the road.
This one is dear to my heart: June 2006 - September 2007, Most Remembered Pastor
The title of most remembered pastor does not come lightly. One must remember that we were in churches for 4 days at the longest, and were off to go somewhere else. When you are only in one place for such a short time, and you're on the road for 15 months, it's safe to say we met a lot of pastors. I can remember a lot of specific characters: the money hungry pastor, the pastor who golfed in the Hooters tournament, the pastor with the most botox (by far), the pastor who used to be the President of the SBC, and the list goes on. We met a lot of them. But the one who sticks out the most in my head is a middle-aged, overweight pastor from a (rich / prestigious) country church in Kentucky, with an average attendance of maybe 150. He called my Penelope, and I liked him.
On Sunday morning (our first day at this church) Ken preached, but the message came after. The pastor sat front and center during the entire message, and after Ken had finished, he went forward weeping. In front of his church, on that Sunday morning, he admitted to them all the sin in his life... gluttony. I have never seen anyone be so real so publicly. I could see the pain in his eyes. I could see the pain in the eyes of his congregation.
He wore his sin obviously, but his weeping spirit was more evident than any physical weight. I cherished the honesty of the head of this church. It could possibly be the greatest act of leadership I've seen in all of my time in the ministry, for a pastor to come forward, confess his sin to his people, and ask to be held accountable.
As the week continued this gentleman further spoke to my heart, showing compassion, love, and respect for all of the people he encountered. I learned a great deal from this man during this week. Sometimes being a leader and standing up for what is right does not always look like fire and brimstone, sometimes it looks like compassion and weeping. My experience with this particular pastor this week completely changed my 'on the road experience' with my husband. And I'll never forget this pastor for such a valuable lesson... and, it helps he called me Penelope ;)