It’s Pastor Appreciation Month. If Hallmark created some of the other holidays, perhaps LifeWay created this one! However, 1 Timothy 5:17 does instruct us to “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” Therefore, I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to all the pastors who I have sat under in my life as a church member. Since I have served as a pastor for the last 17+ years, I have only had four such pastors during my lifetime.
I am grateful for each of them and the particular ways that God used them in my life to shape me.
- Garry Weaver: This was my first pastor and the one who has had the most impact on me personally. He modeled selfless, sacrificial to his flocks and exemplified personal holiness and a committed prayer life.
- Hubert Troutman: Pastor Troutman (passed away a little over a year ago) was a lifelong family friend. He modeled kindness to all and love for the Lord and His people. He and his wife, Betty, had the spiritual gift of hospitality.
- Ray Bearden: Pastor Bearden modeled expository preaching through books of the Bible. His faithfulness to preach the Bible was a great example to me. He also provided an excellent model of professionalism and leadership over various ministries. He also provided excellent counsel and mentorship as I began my preaching ministry under his care (22 years ago this December!).
- David Gamble: Pastor Gamble became a very close friend as I served with him as an associate minister at Grace Baptist Church in Newport, Tn. David and his wife, Renee, modeled professionalism, kindness, thoughtfulness, and classiness. I learned so much from watching them interact with people with kindness and concern. Their thoughtfulness and thankfulness have made me better at those graces than I otherwise would have been.
There are many others who I have known as friends or from whom I have learned from afar. I’m thankful to God for each of these men and the impact they have had and continue to have in my life.