A Thomson native shared encouragement with his fellow pastors Monday.
The Rev. Josh Hughes of Oak Baptist Church in Lyons, Ga., addressed the Pastor's Appreciation Day luncheon of the Thomson Kiwanis Club, meeting at The Depot.
Hughes quoted Mother Teresa of Calcutta as saying "We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love."
Hughes, a 1999 graduate of Thomson High School, is the son of Dr. Carroll and Linda Hughes of Thomson. Carroll Hughes said Josh pursued the ministry although his parents tried to guide him to other careers. That drive took the younger Hughes to Mercer University in Macon, where he majored in political science and Christianity. He received his master's degree in theology from McAfee School of Theology; the Atlanta school is affiliated with Mercer. He has been with the Lyons church since July 2008.
Pastors from Thomson, Dearing, Warrenton and elsewhere attended the Monday luncheon.
Fred Guerrant introduced the visiting pastors. He told the guests they have earned the respect of their congregations and communities.
Guerrant told The McDuffie Mirror that the annual pastors' luncheon was already a Thomson Kiwanis tradition before he joined the group in 1995.
Hughes took his message from John 14, in which Jesus told his disciples they could do works even greater than he had done.
Hughes said the goal of performing works greater than Jesus performed might sound like heresy. "Jesus walked on water; he calmed a storm; and on three separate times he brought life back to those who were dead," he said.
So, Hughes asked, how can a pastor or another person perform even greater works? "It's not about power; it's about love," he said. He reminded his fellow pastors of the need to perform small works with love.
He used the occasion to speak to the disillusionment that sometimes afflicts pastors. He said Jesus and his apostles also were troubled. Hughes said 80 percent of pastors admit feeling disillusioned, and 60 percent of pastors leave the ministry after their first church assignment or after five years in the ministry.
He said the schedule of weddings, funerals and regular services is demanding.
"I tell the church I quit every Monday," Hughes said. "And yet they let me wander back to the pulpit."
He repeated the advice from Mother Teresa, and added, "If it ever becomes about power, then we've failed. It's about love."