I remember reading David Wells’ excellent 1993 book No Place for Truth: Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology, in which he wrote that the average pastor stayed at a church about three years. These days, the average is only slightly longer, about four years. This month, our church will celebrate 30 years of faithful service from our lead pastor, Bob Smart.
My wife Tammy and I started attending Christ Church (PCA), then known as Willowbeech Presbyterian Church, in December, 1994, the year after Pastor Smart began serving there. We were a small church at the time, with about 80 in attendance each Sunday. We met in a rental property at a business park that included a rock radio station on the floor above us. In fact, a large boom box that the radio station used at events was parked in the parking lot that we shared. As you can imagine, that raised some eyebrows from first-time visitors to the church!
At that time, Pastor Smart did it all – from wearing a headset to answer the phone (there was no full-time secretary), to emptying dirty diapers out of the nursery, to preaching on Sunday. There were no associate pastors, just a few faithful elders and deacons to help Pastor Smart lead the church. Over the years our church has seen steady growth, resulting in our move to a beautiful new church building in 1999, a new addition in 2023, and the addition of a few associate pastors over the years to help Pastor Smart lead the church.
Pastor Smart, who has encouraged many to pursue seminary education over the years, continued to grow himself, achieving a PhD. He has authored or edited several books, regularly teaches his Identity in Christ material, has taught pastors internationally and college students locally, and has gone on a number of missions trips. Through it all, for 30 years, he has remained faithful to the local church, preaching through all 66 books of the Bible.
The calling of a pastor is hard. It is not flashy or glamorous, but ordinary, as Michael Horton has written. There are no established hours, and a pastor is always on call, even on their days off. A pastor rejoices with those who rejoice and weeps with those who weep (Romans 12:15). Pastor Smart has faithfully prayed for his people, studied and preached, taught and counseled. His focus has consistently been on Word and prayer. He has preached the word in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2) and is worthy of double honor (1 Timothy 5:17).
Pastor Smart is also a very humble man, never wanting the attention on himself, but all glory to be given to his Savior. So that’s how I’ll end, praising God for using His servant for 30 years at our church.
Soli Deo Gloria!