Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

In Appreciation of My Pastor


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!

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

2 thoughts on “In Appreciation of My Pastor

  1. Pastor Bob was used in mighty ways in the life of our family for the 14 years that we were blessed to be members at Christ church (before moving out of state). We still speak of what we learned in his Identity in Christ classes, some of his most memorable sermons, and the ways he blessed us personally, especially the ways he spoke into the lives or our younger two children who were blessed to be there for much of their growing up years. We are so thankful for Pastor Bob’s faithful service! May the LORD richly bless him and his wife Karen, in this next season of life. #legacy — Mary Lyons

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