I think that the dictionary entry for ‘pastor’ should in part define the role as “slave to demands.” At least that can be what it feels like. I do not mean to imply that the demands are bad demands, but rather that needs can be so steady that they can begin to dictate what we do and how we do it. Although these things should enter into our planning and decision making process, they should be viewed as factors and deciders.
One of the struggles I have is finding time to spend with non-Christians. My hours can be so consumed with ministering to Christians (which is vital), that involvement with the world can prove challenging. If I am not intentional about interaction with those outside of the church, I may never see them. I do have a couple times a week where I intentionally interact with non-believers. I go into a secondary school where I primarily work with Christian kids, but interact with some non-believers as well. I am part of a running club, which weekly brings me into contact with non-believers.
A couple weeks ago, I (and some of the other UK pastors) flew to Germany for a pastor’s conference. Would you believe that the highlight of the trip was the travel!? We missed our first flight (sitting at Heathrow airport, just 30 minutes from home for 8 hours), the airline lost our luggage, which caused us to miss our train. On the return flight, the security workers were on strike in Germany delaying our return by several hours.
With each set-back/delay, there was a gospel opportunity. In all seven different people heard the gospel with interest. I felt like I was on a missions trip! There were no gimmicky segues into the gospel in our conversations. But there grew amongst us an expectancy. One of the three in our number is a gifted evangelist and it created a culture of evangelistic expectancy.
I was encouraged that in my going from A to B to serve the Body, I must remember to view everything (even the travel) as potential gospel opportunity. Those things that interrupt me, may be gospel interruptions.
Matt — I loved hearing about your ‘gospel interruptions’ at the conference. I’m glad you had some more on the way home!
God is faithful. It was a pretty insane journey.