I asked on Monday: Where Have All the Mighty Men of God Gone? Here’s a real life example…
He was there late on a Saturday night: scrubbing toilets, vacuuming the sanctuary, taking out the trash and setting up tables. He did not complain. He did his job. He was the church janitor. I think he saw a lot as he wander those halls. He heard a lot of complaints. He took a lot of flack.
Then one day he stood on the platform of a little church of his own and in his middle age he became a pastor.
You might think that with all the extra college degrees hanging on his office wall that he would hold himself to a higher level of ‘living life” in the midst of his congregations. You might think that he would now be above doing some things. He’d be using his brains more than using his hands. Many pastors with far more years experience and prestige have chosen the route of never painting or cleaning or planting on church work days, many pastors hide in their studies rarely to be seen, many pastors spend more time preparing for Sunday morning then they do visiting the sick, praying over the hurting and spending time with the widow (I would argue these are some of the best ways to prepare for Sunday services). Many pastors do not know what to do when they are confronted with the humanness of their congregations. They tuck tail and hide when situations get messy… or real.
This man who used to be the church janitor is a bit different. He pastors a church where he’s ordered the supplies and laid the new roof, he’s painted, cleaned and plowed snow from the church parking lot. Where many pastors wouldn’t bother getting their hands dirty planting: he’s weeded and mowed and set out the flowers and bought the toilet paper. When babies are sick he spends time with the family. He’s watched people breath their last breathes and take their first cries. He’s mourned in losing friends who were gone too soon. He has been known to cry over his congregation – with them. When the church service needs to go a different way, he’s put his sermon notes in his Bible and leads them in prayer instead.
This man took a second job at a warehouse loading boxes into trucks at night. This was the perfect opportunity not just to make some extra cash, but to interact with normal everyday people. People who had never spoken to a pastor before, or spent much time in church. The chance to love on those who live in the world… whom he might never get to see inside those church walls. How many people with a Master’s degree do you know that would do that?
He’s a different kind of pastor. He’s a different kind of man. Oh he studies and he reads and he spends time preparing what needs to be prepared. He doesn’t slack on the business side of church. He prepares the budgets, runs the meetings and sets the agendas.
But the heart of this man is not about the best church business model, or curriculum or class or survey. The data he collects is in one-on-one loving and serving. He knows that ”statistics” are real-live people. This man who worked as the church janitor still spends plenty of time setting up tables and cleaning messes. He still does the extra things that no one cares to notice. He does the things that were at the very heart of Jesus Christ’s ministry… serving, teaching, loving, and speaking truth.
He’s one of the mightiest church men I know… that janitor pastor man is my Dad.
[This post is reworked from the archives]