Pastor Matt on Partnership & Pastoring
What is it that excites me about not only being a Village Church Partner, but a Village Church Pastor as well?
There are so many things. Just so many things. Where would I even begin?
For the sake of a good reference point, let me begin with the days leading up to the Men’s Advance of 2011. As I prepared for my preaching that year, I read Darren Patrick’s book, “Church Planter,” and found a very compelling video Darren put together for pastors in particular, and men in general. In his book, and in the video, Darren emphasized two descriptions of pastors that are to be held in tension – Toughness & Tenderness. I can’t tell you how much this tension resonated with me. I loved it! And I do love it!
I think I love this tension so much because I’ve seen it lived out in the lives of godly men in my family for so long.
My grandpa Marchetta, my moms dad, was a tough man. He ran a bushel and basket business in Jersey City back in the day. He worked hard. Really hard. Lifting, stacking and loading, in the heat of the summer and the cold of winter. In his earlier days he used to arm wrestle for the “Family” after tending bar. One day my mom showed me a picture of him lifting my grandma and her sister, Gene, off the ground, one sitting on each of his forearms. He eventually walked away from the “Family,” and began to protect and provide for little people who couldn’t protect and provide for themselves. After he went to be with Jesus, my grandma told me, “Everyone loved grandpa, but no one messed with Jimmy Marchetta.” I can imagine they didn’t.
In his later years, after meeting Jesus, grandpa cried a lot. He used to watch the news every day and cry and pray for all the people who were hurting in the world. He literally prayed for hours each day. There was still an inherent toughness about him, but a much greater and obvious tenderness. And this is how I remember my grandpa best, in these years, when he was both tough and tender.
My grandpa Kyser, my dads dad, was no less tough. He grew up on a farm in Arkansas, working the fields with no shoes. After both of his parents were killed in a car accident, he raised his twin sisters, by himself, during The Great Depression. He later made his way out to California in a Model T Ford, Grapes of Wrath style. He quite simply just did what needed to be done. He eventually retired the year I was born, and lived a quite life in the mountains. But of course, he built his own house from the ground up, by himself. He cut trees down for wood in the forest until he was eighty years old, when he eventually broke down to buy a wood splitter. He went to be with Jesus after turning 101, but he could still lift himself out of his wheel chair by himself – and he insisted on it.
For all the toughness about my grandpa Kyser, there was equally tenderness. Growing up I knew he could do anything, but he never got frustrated at me when I couldn’t. He never raised his voice. Never. For all the times he was tough with me, he was never rough with me. Never. He was never anything but completely and compellingly tender. And this is how I remember my grandpa best, in these years, when he was both tough and tender.
So how does all this relate to pastoring ……. and pastoring at The Village?
I love toughness. I love the toughness involved in pastoring. I love the toughness that comes with preaching to and protecting the church. I love reading Paul’s words to Titus about pastors preaching and protecting with toughness: “He must hold firm the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9). I love Paul’s words to the Thessalonians about the toughness with which a pastor should work: “We ask you brothers, for respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work” (1 Thess.5:12-13). I love toughness, and I look forward to leading with toughness and being tough for all of you.
I also love tenderness. I love the tenderness involved in pastoring. I love the tenderness that comes with pastoring and shepherding. I love reading Peter’s words about the tenderness of pastors: “…shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you” (1 Peter 5:2a). I love the words of James about the tenderness of caring for those who are sick: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the Elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14). I love tenderness, and I look forward to leading tenderly and being tender with all of you.
Ultimately I love toughness and tenderness because I believe Jesus was both tough and tender, and I want to be led by Jesus, lead like Jesus, and lead others to Jesus. I love the toughness of Jesus that Luke describes as He decided to go to Jerusalem, knowing the toughness of what awaited Him there: “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). And I love the tenderness of Jesus that Luke describes in His greatest moment in Jerusalem: “And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments” (Luke 23:34). I love the toughness and tenderness of Jesus. Oh, how I love the toughness and tenderness of Jesus.
My commitment to all of you, Village Church, is to Partner with you, and pastor you, with toughness and tenderness, and I look forward to doing just that, by God’s grace, in the days ahead.
Partnered With & Pastoring You,