By Bill Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service
SCOTT DEPOT, WV (ANS) — The pastor’s study is the one place in every city, county, state and nation that should be saturated with prayer – humble, believing and active prayer. That is the control center of the entire operation.
I have had the privilege of being in the pastor’s study in hundreds of churches, some among the world’s largest churches and the most prominent preachers. The pastor of the largest church east of the Mississippi River had for his working study a four-room house across the driveway from his residence. Those large rooms were filled with books. Dr. R. G. Lee had an inner study, no windows, where he did his most concentrated work on preaching.
In the large Bellevue Baptist Church, in Memphis, Tenn., where he pastored for 32 years, he had a beautiful and well-appointed office. When I was in it with him one day, he told me that particular office was used for interviews, counseling and meetings for church business. His office for study, writing and sermon preparation was located beside his residence on Peach Street.
It is sometimes hard to get much serious research and study done in terms of sermon preparation in a church office with constant interruptions. I am always hesitant to go to a pastor’s study – and only if I think I can be helpful with such a visit. Pastors who are serious about their assignments, have no time for idle chatting with parishioners who have little to do.
As a pastor, I had a beautiful office at the church and fortunately had another inner office, but my main office for study, writing and sermonic preparation was in the basement of the parsonage for 25 years.
Two wonderful parishioners, Elgin and Dorothy Hawthorne, whose son, Dennis, is a successful pastor in Springfield, Ill., and their younger son, Elgin, a church organist of excellence, presented me with a cherished bronze and wood plaque, which had a story engraved on it titled, “Pastor’s Study.” For years, it has been in my office. Here’s its message,
“The pastor’s study is the symbol of the calling of the Christian minister to be the shepherd of a flock of God. His sermons are prepared to feed the congregation on God’s Holy Word.
“Here the work of the church is planned so that the congregation may grow and bear fruit in fellowship, teaching, and witnessing. Here you will always find a friend and counselor in time of need. He will not be surprised at your sins, nor will he judge you in them, but he always invites you to share with him, the wisdom and love of God, the knowledge of forgiveness of sin, and the saving grace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“You are always welcome.”
The pastor’s door is never closed to those who need the counseling, encouragement and prayers of their pastor. It is not, however, normally a place for idle chitchat. It is a place where you will find a loving heart and understanding listener.
Speaking of Christ’s gifts to the church, “He gave some to be . . . and some pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11). Timothy, a young preacher is informed, “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ . . .” (I Timothy 4:6).
I do not know of any calling or profession that demands more of a man or woman than the one to be a pastor. October is “Pastors Appreciation Month.” Do all you can to assist your pastor with the work of ministry.
Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist, and convention and conference speaker on every continent. He is the writer of more than 2,000 newspaper and magazine columns, articles and contributions to books. He is also a widely known motivational speaker and pulpit guest who utilizes enjoyment of life and just plain fun and laughter while speaking to high school, university and professional sports teams as well as to business and professional groups of all kinds. His keen understanding of human problems makes him a favorite speaker for youth, parent, and senior adult meetings. He is accompanied by Kitty, his wife, favorite singer, editor and publisher.