My experience with "pastoral ministry" began in the backwoods of central Arkansas. My members emerged from the woods on Sunday mornings.
We had no town, just a small, white building.
Composed of Pooles and Barnetts for the most part, the members farmed soy beans, hunted in the woods and fished in the streams. They were solid, lovely, sweet people.
Best of all, they put up with me.
They taught me a lot about friendship.
They were warm, gracious people. And, they loved humor! I could tell stories about things that happened among these folks, all hilarious!
I remember leaving this church as one of the hard things of my life. There is no doubt in my mind that, ironically, these sweet people prepared me for life and ministry in an urban context.
I loved them.
They loved me.
Does anything else really matter?