Dear Jim, Debbie and the Standing Stone Team,
For the past ten years I’ve served on the pastoral team of a California mega-church.
For many years I’ve known the value of Standing Stone though I’d not been a recipient of the amazing offerings they provide, until recently.
As my time at the church has increased, the burden of caring for our church family and leading an increasing staff team increased as well.
I was feeling more and more isolated and needed someone outside my immediate church family to listen and speak in to my life.
I needed someone who understood the calling on my life and my role at the church and I needed someone who would be patient with me while trust was being established between us.
After a quick “triage” I was set up to begin a weekly session with a Standing Stone Shepherd
I didn’t know what to expect. Yet, my time with my SSS has exceeded my expectations.
I wanted to write and thank you for continuing to lead Standing Stone and make times like this available for other pastors as well. I also wanted to tell you what makes these times so unique for me.
My shepherd loves Jesus and knows Jesus. He can’t go sixty minutes without talking about Jesus. (I think this might be what I love most.) No matter what we are discussing, the primary model for how to lead and love others is Jesus. Even though I know this and have taught this to others, it is so refreshing to have someone else remind ME of how wonderful our Jesus is through their words and actions.
My shepherd sets aside uninterrupted time each week to listen to me. I’ve never had someone who didn’t know me choose to listen to me for an hour every week! I’m always listening to others and now someone else is wanting to listen to me.
One day I showed up and wasn’t sure that what I had to talk about was worth his time because it seemed so insignificant. Then he reminded me of Jesus.
He said, “I want to be more like Jesus everyday. And no matter how insignificant you think your thoughts or feelings are, Jesus wants to hear them because He loves you and thinks you are significant. Because of Jesus, whatever you have to share with me is significant too.”
There is nothing he could have said in that moment that could have been more healing. As he models Jesus to me, I want to be more like Jesus too.
Because of Jesus…
My shepherd gives me strategic and practical “next steps” to consider between sessions.
These priceless tools have been used to help me plan for a time of extended solitude and rest, have been “borrowed” and shared with other young ministry leaders I mentor and have given me courage to enter some difficult but much needed conversations.
My shepherd prays for me and my family and tells me so. In fact, recently he texted his prayer for me that day and God answered his prayer that very hour.
For this and so many other reasons, I want to thank you for all that you do to care for pastors.
You remind pastors that they are not alone. You remind pastors that they are loved and significant not because of what they do but because of who they are.
Thank you for continuing to train and unleash more shepherds who care for more pastors.
Thank you for being patient and trustworthy.
And thank you for praying. Pastors pray with and for so many. Few people in our churches realize their pastors need prayer too.
Because of Standing Stone I am stronger, my family is stronger, and my church will be stronger.
Thanking God for you all…