Thursday, August 02, 2012
Yesterday I had the honour of attending the memorial service for Pastor E J Shearman. I didn't know well, although he did impact my life greatly, but I wanted to be there for my friend and his son Andrew Shearman.
Among the tributes was a small story that touched my heart and refocused my attention.
EJ, as he was known to many, was pastoring a great growing church in Denton and he heard about a young pastor who was starting out in the ministry. This young minister down the road in Stoke was struggling and on the point of quitting and going back to his trade as a painter and decorator.
EJ an orphan had a great heart for the underdog and disadvantaged set off to Stoke to encourage this fledgling pastor and to talk him into carrying on.
That Pastor was none other than my hero Pastor John Phillips. Pastor Phillips went on to be a giant of a man in the Assemblies of God UK. His prophetic teaching gift was devastating and edifying. He went on with his friend Pastor Shelbourne to build a great church in Lincoln that became an example to many.
After one lecture in Bible College on Theology I was hooked. For the next couple of years I travelled over to Lincoln on Sundays so I could hear him preach again and again.
So I have one more reason to be thankful to EJ, and a stark reminder to encourage the struggling underdog.
A reminder to my self and other church leaders of a trap that is so easy to fall in to. I see so many people looking for connection and recognition to the "Celebrity" Successful Pastors of the day that can improve your profile. Maybe its time to take a road trip but not to the well known, influential, successful Pastor who can do something for you. But to the Pastor who is struggling on the verge or quitting and by that visit change Jesus Kingdom forever.