I’ve been a pastor for the last 38 years. At times, I have been in the groove of blessing, feeling like I am right where I’m supposed to be, walking in the light of God at work transforming lives. At other times, I have been in the dark, dry desert, wondering why I ever thought being a pastor was a good idea.

We have all been there. Some of us are there right now. Be encouraged that you are not alone on the journey of pastoring. You have colleagues in God’s Kingdom work who want to rejoice with you in the victories and uphold you in the wilderness. Especially in those dark times, you need to be with others who get what ministry is like and who can support you because they have also been there. As Christian radio host, John DeBrine, likes to say, “You need to come apart before you come apart.”

On a micro scale, support is available through personal conversations with other pastors, with your District pastoral care team of Jack and Eva Kroeze, Eddie and Jessica Cole, and Pete and Karen Johnson, and with pastoral counselor Jerry Evens. For many, support also occurs around the District pastor cluster table. Pastors who regularly attend their clusters often say that the cluster is a vital part of their ministry life. Catching up on life and ministry and praying for each other gives them a boost to stay at it. They encourage other pastors to attend as well.

On a macro scale, our annual District conference is an important place to find connection and support. This is a time to renew old acquaintances and make new friends who get where you’re coming from, to be refreshed from the Word and worship, and to receive encouragement from our EFCA family.

Especially this year, I am excited about the new vision being cast by our District Superintendent, Eddie Cole, starting with encouraging pastors in difficult times. As a pastor, let me urge you to put the brakes on your calendar for October 11 and 12 in order to take a spiritual encouragement break and come out to the Eastern District annual conference. You need it.


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Peter Johnson

Senior Pastor at Hanoverdale Church
Peter has served as an associate pastor in NH and at Montvale Evangelical Free Church in Montvale, NJ. For nearly ten years he served as senior pastor of Northern Valley Evangelical Free Church in Cresskill, NJ before joining the Eastern District staff from 2007-2017. He is now Senior Pastor of Hanoverdale Church. Peter and Karen make their home in Hershey, PA, where Pete enjoys painting (art, not houses), gardening, and talking to his neighbors across the fence.

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