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Gunnar Gunnarsson, of Radstock member church Loftstofan in Iceland, shares some of the challenges and joys of being a church planter. Please do pray for him, his family and the gospel work of Loftstofan!
I've learned that a pastor must first and foremost be a qualified lover of God, the Scriptures and people, while also being a faithful preacher and exegete of God's Word.
The seemingly inevitable subset of this is that a pastor must be a never-ending student of many things, including systematic theology, the historical redemptive theme of the Scriptures, and apologetics in order to defend the faith and his flock from heresies. A pastor must be a student of philosophy, history, archaeology, languages, communications, organisation, time management, and various kinds of Biblical counseling, including counselling on marriage, grief, anxiety, depression and so on.
Being a church planter seems to demand even more, including some basic knowledge in book keeping. In my case I've utilised my limited graphic design skills and film making skills, learned the art of fundraising on a big scale, learned to be satisfied in the now, while watching out to never become complacent and to always look toward the future. I have learned to separate work from personal life as there is physically no barrier since the church office is in our living room. I have learned to work hard at shepherding the flock, while trying to reach non believers; to make time to connect with our supporting churches to send news on how things are going and to look for encouragement and refreshment.
There was a time in life when I thought being a pastor must be a boring job to have, but man have I come to love it. I pray that I might grow further in all of these things.