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What Is a Minister?

Somewhere between the call of God and the heart ward of the local hospital, there exists a specialist variously called a Minister, a Preacher, a Pastor, a Clergyman. He is a hero to his wife, a stranger to his children, a fine boy to his mother, and easy touch to down-and-outers, a name on the mailing list of hundreds of agencies and organizations, and an example to his flock. To some people, he’s a guy who has nothing else to do but get ready for a twenty-minute sermon once a week. To some, he’s the person in whose presence you must not curse, drink, or smoke.

To others, he is a dear friend, a “Johnny-on-the-spot” when death’s angel hovers near; he’s the one whose ministry continues when the medics have done all they can do; he’s the man who can mend marriages, but who can’t find time to fix his wife’s toaster; he’s the nice man at church who pats the babies’ heads, even though he’s not running for a political office. He’s the one who marries young lovers, prays with the sick, and buries the dead. He’s a financial expert, a public orator, janitor, errand boy, typist, file clerk, writer, public relations expert, poor golfer, professional tea-sipper and punch-drinker, journalist, reformer, evangelist, pastor, business executive, counselor, prophet, bookworm, diplomat, human being, sinner, bass, tenor (whichever is needed), planner, and a tee-totaler.

Ministers are found everywhere: preaching in church on Sunday, listening in meetings, teaching a class, looking at a clock, giving invocations, giving benedictions, waiting in maternity wards, sympathizing beside caskets, standing behind pulpits, pleading causes, serving on committees, reading the Bible, playing football with the kids on the vacant lot near the church, watching someone take a final breath, driving expectant mothers to the hospital, sitting behind a desk, lying underneath a car, standing on the roof of buildings under construction, dreaming, meditating, at home at dinner time, not at home at dinner time, standing before women’s groups, delivering addresses, meeting in conventions, diagnosing the world’s sickness and prescribing the cure - God.

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