Churches, pastors have a lot in common

Published 9:54 am Friday, October 6, 2017

By Farley Stuart

arrived in Winchester in July 2016.

At that point, I had 40 years of ministry experience, having served the previous eight years as a superintendent, overseeing 92 churches in 21 counties in south east Kentucky.

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One of the many joys I’ve had over the years is meeting the clergy of the area in which I served. This has been very true here in Winchester.

The clergy of our community are all different — various ages, backgrounds, education, experience, styles and strengths.

Some preach in robes, some in suits and others in blue jeans.

Some of our churches are traditional with organs, pianos, choirs and creeds. Others are led with guitars, banjos, drums and keyboards.

Some pastors preach with notes, some with manuscripts, some with only a Bible and others with a tablet and a screen.

We are downtown or rural, new buildings or old, some have staff while others do not.

We are quite the mixture of workplaces, schedules, programming, mission work and outreach.

I have learned in every community I have served, preachers and churches have much more in common than we are different.

We all have similar problems, challenges and criticisms.

We all proclaim the same word of God, tell the same stories, baptize in the name of Jesus, worship at the throne of the same God and we are all called to ministry by the same Lord.

So much of our world is very critical of religion these days.

The truth is, my friends, we are a whole lot more alike than we are different.

The pastors I have gotten to know through the Association of Churches in Clark County are people who serve the same God I do, preach the same word and work to share the life-changing love of Jesus Christ.

Yes, we all want to see our churches grow, but the truth is, we want to see lives changed through Jesus Christ more.

If we would change the church attendance rate in our county from 17 percent to 80 percent we would need every church building we have and then some.

If you think your pastors are in competition, you are right. We are competing with Satan and the sin of this world every day, striving to proclaim there is a better way to live, a savior that loves us and grace that is available to all people.

We are fighting the war of sin and hatred that is rampant in our world.

Best of all, we are doing it on every corner, in every building, in every place we can, every time we can.

Find a church in Clark County.

Jesus will meet you there, I promise.

And yes, you will meet one of us crazy preachers too — working for the Lord, growing the Kingdom.

See you Sunday.

The Rev. Farley Stuart is pastor of Winchester First United Methodist Multi-Site Church. He can be reached at or 606-521-1686.