“Ministry is a marathon, not a sprint,” writes Dave Pagel, pastor at Bethany, Kenosha, Wis. “In order to be effective, you need to take care of yourself spiritually, physically, and emotionally.”
Pagel’s words are written to the 28 men who graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in May. They are part of a book titled Letters to Timothy that was given to each graduate this year. Letters from 11 pastors are included. The project was coordinated by writer/editor Janet Klann and her brother.
“The impetus was my grandson, Duane (Duke) Backhaus, entering Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary,” explains Klann. “I asked my brother, retired pastor Carl Pagel, if he would write to Duke with some words of wisdom and encouragement. Some time later Carl and I decided to ask other experienced pastors for their stories, which we would collect, publish, and pass on to graduating seminarians as they entered their ministry fields.”
Christopher Pflughoeft, a 2021 seminary graduate, appreciates the effort. He notes, “The thought that stuck with me the most from Letters to Timothy was shared by Pastor Myrl Wagenknecht. In this letter, Pastor Wagenknecht encouraged us to ‘listen before you speak.’ As a young pastor, who has been trained to preach and teach, I desire to do a lot of speaking. Yet, Pastor Wagenknecht encouraged us ‘to practice deliberate listening.’ We want to listen to members. We want to listen to fellow pastors. Most important, we want to listen to the Word of our Lord. I believe that I will benefit greatly from this encouragement to listen.”
Volume 108, Number 8
Issue: August 2021