My approach to pastoral ministry is little more than doing what I saw my dad do.
I cherish this 1951 article.* The second half describes the work of my dad, George Wingard, in his first pastorate. He was, it reads, “very much like an old-time circuit rider, except that he does his riding in a Chevrolet Carryall.”
My father served in a home mission field in the rural mountains and valleys of Searcy County, Arkansas, a field that included Presbyterian Chapel, Welcome Church, Garrett Memorial Presbyterian Church, and Lyon Chapel. I remember my parents reminiscing about places like Marshall and Snowball.
The article depicts my dad as I remember him: hardworking, cooperative with other Christian denominations, and willing to adapt. He cautioned me that change can’t be rushed, and that a pastor must work for it patiently.
About his labors:
He drives from 2,500 to 3,000 miles a month (his churches are as far as 20 miles from one another, some of his members much farther. He preaches as often as nine times a week: At each of the four churches on Sundays, three weeknight prayer meetings, and two “union services” with members of a Pentecostal Holiness group. He never writes out a sermon, or even outlines it on paper. “I just read my Bible and then think about what I’ve read while I’m driving around.”
I will add that he studied plenty hard. He made use of his library, and in the manse at Rock Island, Tennessee, I remember his typing with two fingers on his manual typewriter, the strong key strikes heard throughout the house as their sound echoed off the hardwood floors.
Last night I reread this article, and, on Thanksgiving Day, was once again grateful to the Lord for my dad.
* The Arkansas Gazette, August 11, 1951.