It’s been a busy few months. On February 5, 2012, I accepted the call to be the pastor of Sharon Baptist Church in Smithfield, North Carolina. I spent February and March transitioning out of my position in campus ministry, a ministry I’d been a part of in some way for eighteen years and a campus minister for almost nine, and got my first house ready for the market. I had great aspirations for Lent but the truth is, I really wound up trying to survive the lenten season with all of the transitions going on in my life.
I began at Sharon Baptist on April 1. I knew I was doing the right thing, was certain this was where God was leading, but honestly, I was not sure how I felt about leaving campus ministry. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to be the pastor of a church. I found myself thinking, “What am I doing? What if I don’t have what it takes?”
But it’s been incredible. I know we are still in the honeymoon phase of our relationship (the church and me), but I love being a pastor more than I thought possible. Here are some of the things I love.
– I love preaching. I love “hosting” worship each week, welcoming people into the sanctuary and a time of worship. I love offering prayers over people. This is not very eloquent . . . but it’s such a big deal. I get to step in on their behalf and communicate with God directly for all of us. It is an incredible responsibility.
– I love the children. I did not expect for the kids to take to me so quickly. I love that a three-year-old crawled in my lap at an event on Sunday afternoon to snuggle with me and have a tickle fight. I love that one of the four-year-old girls in the church was so excited I was coming that she was announcing it to everyone, including random people in Walmart, that they were getting a new pastor and her name was Charity. I love that a seven-year-old has nicknamed me “PC” . . . Pastor Charity. I love that a four-year-old boy would say a prayer in church because, “If Pastor Charity asked me to do it, then I will.” It such an incredible opportunity not just for me to feel loved on, but an opportunity for them to feel loved by me and then see me offer prayers for them, preach and le,ad worship.
– I love how I am using all of my gifts in ways I didn’t know they could be used. Only in the pastorate would one afternoon find you kneeling in the halls of a nursing home holding the hand of a woman who doesn’t know who you are (and sometimes who she is), lead a Bible study discussion that night, have lunch with a well-known business man in the area the next day (a lunch that is interrupted by a phone call from a gubernatorial candidate) and then go sit on bleachers into the night cheering on the softball team.
I love how God is using every part of me for this role. I love the people of Sharon Baptist Church already. I am excited to see what God has in store for our future.
Charity Roberson is pastor of Sharon Baptist Church, Smithfield, North Carolina. Follow her blog Living Fabulousness.