SBTS profs’ first pastorate: Hershael York

Communications Staff — October 16, 2009

This is the seventh part of a seven-part series, featuring Southern Seminary professors addressing the topic: your first pastorate. Hershael York serves as associate dean of ministry and proclamation and Victor and Louise Lester Professor of Christian Preaching at Southern Seminary.
Hershael York, associate dean of ministry and proclamation; senior pastor, Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort, Ky.

First position/length: First Baptist Church of Marion, Ark., was my first pastorate. I was there under two years, but the love, patience, and encouragement of that church shaped my ministry for the rest of my life.

Early mistakes/lessons: I fear this will seem arrogant, but I had such great mentors in my life on whom I relied for wisdom and advice that I avoided many typical freshman mistakes. My (spiritual) father, Adrian Rogers, and Tommy Hinson (a local pastor whom I loved) were like a well of wisdom for me to draw from daily. I didn’t displace people, but allowed change to take place naturally. I made evangelism the focus. I taught the Word. I worked hard to get the natural leaders and decision makers on my side. I had a good sense of when to give in and when to stand my ground. Looking back, I don’t have major regrets because I assumed my own ignorance at the time and relied on others for God-given wisdom. My first pastorate was an incredible experience for which I have nothing but gratitude and fond memories.

Words of wisdom: First, have limited goals. Don’t think you are going to change
everything about the church to make it conform to your idea of the perfect congregation. Make your priorities loving the people, preaching the Word and being a good shepherd to them more than teaching your pet doctrine, changing the way they do business or
planting a tulip garden.

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