Editorial

Images of a pastor: My first pastor

I was almost 13 when I first went into a church building to worship. Up to that point, I had met only with small worship groups in homes. On that Sabbath, however, not only did I go into a church building for the first time, I experienced another "first" as well: I met a trained pastor.

Nikolaus Satelmajer is the Editor of Ministry.

I was almost 13 when I first went into a church building to worship. Up to that point, I had met only with small worship groups in homes. On that Sabbath, however, not only did I go into a church building for the first time, I experienced another “first” as well: I met a trained pastor. All this happened within a week after my parents and I arrived by a ship from Germany.

The pastor was Stuart R. Jayne. The church was the Richmond First Seventh-day Adventist Church (now the Patterson Avenue Church). As new immigrants, neither my parents nor I spoke English. Ruth Jayne, a gracious lady and wife of the pastor, translated for us. And though translating is never the same as knowing the language, and a lot of things passed me by—I nevertheless picked up from Pastor Stuart R. Jayne images about what pastors should do, images that have never left me. Here’s what I learned:

Children are important. He showed genuine interest in the children and youth. When he told a children’s story, he became a part of the children’s group. They were comfortable with him. Of course, children were also comfortable being with Jesus, so the pastor had a good example to follow.

Preaching with enthusiasm. He delivered his sermons with enthusiasm and a smile. Even though I understood little, I caught his enthusiasm. I looked forward to his next sermon. I also experienced that same enthusiasm when, years later, I heard a priest deliver a sermon in Máteszalka, Hungary, even though I did not understand a word.

Visitation. He made a number of visits to our home. He showed interest in our efforts to settle in a new country, and we looked forward to his visits, which never seemed long enough.

Compassion for the sick. Several months after our arrival my mother became critically ill. My father and I panicked. The physicians did not offer much hope. The pastor came to my mother’s hospital ward and knelt beside her bed and prayed. I understood only a few of his words but knew he was praying for my mother (who, by the way, just turned 91). After he prayed with my mother, the women in other beds asked for him to pray with them. Soon he was praying with most of the other 13 women in the ward.

These are only some of the roles of a minister. After I became a pastor, I started learning the many facets of the work of a pastor.

How then do you describe the work of ministry? The pastor is a preacher, teacher, evangelist, theologian, listener, planner—and that’s just the start of the list. I have mentioned a few ministry roles I saw in the work of Stuart R. Jayne, who is now waiting for the promised resurrection. Whatever type of ministry you are doing, you know the complexity, challenges, and joys of ministry. You also must have individuals who gave you a positive view of ministry, just as Stuart Jane did for me.

Ministry has a long tradition of addressing the many facets of the work of ministers, whether as pastors, teachers, chaplains, or denominational leaders. Ministry has been a companion to ministers for more than 75 years and with God’s blessing it will continue to be. We cannot be your mentors, only your companions. We count it a privilege to be your partners in ministry.

The articles in this month’s issue focus on some critical roles of ministers. I thank my predecessor and friend, Dr. Willmore D. Eva, for working with the articles in this issue so that we are able to present them to you in final form. It’s my prayer that they will be a blessing.


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Nikolaus Satelmajer is the Editor of Ministry.

October 2005

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