By Scott Patty
A recent phone call was supposed to be a pastoral care situation. That’s where someone asks me a question and then I give an answer. This is the way the pastoral world works, right?
There are clients (congregants) and there are experts (pastors and church leaders), and each plays their role.
Or so I thought.
During said phone call, the church member I was supposed to be counseling asked me a question.
But before I could give an answer, I began hearing from this person how the Lord was working to change her thinking, give her new perspective, and lead her to make some positive change in her life.
I just listened.
After a few minutes, I began relating her words to my own life.
I could see that what she is learning from the Lord applies to a situation I was experiencing. I sensed that she was speaking wise words—sound, biblical truth.
I actually determined to do something in my life based on what she was telling me about what’s happening in her life.
And then, before we ended the call, when usually I pray for the person I have advised, she asked me if she could pray for me. Then, she prayed.
I hope that something I said in our conversation was helpful to her. I hope my prayer for her was encouraging, and that she had a sense that the Lord will answer that prayer and strengthen her today.
What I know is that I was instructed, encouraged, and prayed for by my friend and fellow church member.
That phone call was as much for me as it was for her. We were mutually strengthened by one another’s faith.
What I love about the church of Christ is that we aren’t clients and experts, we are brothers and sisters who help each other.
Pastors and other church leaders, while called to serve, aren’t called to have all the answers.
That day, I learned by listening and receiving I can be served even while I serve.
Today, let yourself be served, instructed, and encouraged. Let someone you serve through pastoral leadership pray for you.
Doing so will require you to be a listener, a receiver, and a friend. You might have to initiate the conversation. I encourage you to do so.
May the Lord bless and build His church through more calls like the one I had that day—and through friendships formed in the churches lead and serve.
SCOTT PATTY is the pastor of Grace Community Church in Brentwood, Tennessee. He’s the author of Words of Grace: A 100-Day Devotional.