Back in the spring of 2004, I had been speaking at Truett Seminary at Baylor University. Afterwards, Dean Paul Powell and Academic Dean David Garland visited with me about the possibility of me joining the Adjunct Faculty at Truett. My PhD is in Church History, but they talked to me about teaching Homiletics (Preaching).
I visited with Cindy about the opportunity. I’ll admit – I was flattered and honored. So, I contacted Paul and David to let them know that I would be willing to do so. Even though, I might add, my doctoral degree is in history and not in the field of preaching.
Later, I was visiting with Paul Powell about it. I remarked to him that I was honored that he thought so much of my preaching ability that he wanted me to teach preaching. “Actually,” Paul said, “I really want you to teach because you are a happy pastor!”
Well, at first that was deflating. He went on to reflect on how burdensome the pastorate can be. Many students at Truett had shared their reticence to enter the pastorate because they had personally been exposed to so many difficulties in their home churches. And – often, their pastors had been damaged by their experiences. Paul said, “I have had so many students let me know of their unwillingness to pastor because of the toll it had taken on their pastor. We want them to hang around with a happy pastor.”
I’ve thought a lot about that conversation over the years. I went on to teach on the Adjunct Faculty at Truett from 2004-2013. When I joined the Board of Regents in 2014, I left the classroom for the boardroom. I have many fond memories of sharing with students across those years. I remain in contact with many of them even today.
Then, a couple of years ago, Truett Seminary asked me to lead a cohort of young pastors and ministers in a mentoring environment. I quickly agreed to do so. For two years, I met with a group of young ministers. We read several scholarly treatments of the science of preaching. We evaluated sermons and discussed the life of the ministry together.
We concluded our cohort term this past spring. I loved it. And—today, I am leaving for Waco to attend a retreat to begin my second cohort experience. I have a new group of young ministers assigned to me through Truett for the next two years. I am excited!
I am happy to report that I am still a happy pastor! In spite of the burdens and challenges associated with this work, the Lord has been gracious to me. He has preserved my sanity and kept me satisfied in this work. I will be glad to begin my role of mentoring a new group of young ministers to encourage them in their life calling. May God fill our pulpits across our land with happy pastors!