Pastoring People Who Cause You Pain

Pastor and author Jared C. Wilson shares what America’s first ordained African American taught him about facing hardship in ministry.

When the professed friends of God forsake the ministers of Christ, it is attended with circumstances peculiarly aggravating. The sweet counsel and communion they have taken together are now interrupted—mutual confidence destroyed—the parties exposed to peculiar temptations, which renders it difficult to retain that forgiving spirit manifested by the holy apostle when all men forsook him: “I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.”
— Lemuel Haynes, from “The Suffering, Support, and Reward of Faithful Ministers”

Lemuel Haynes is a historical figureyou may not have heard about but should have. By any standard, his life was remarkable. Haynes, who was born in 1753, was an indentured servant as a child, a veteran of the American Revolution, and the first black man in the United States to be ordained to ministry. Known for his keen mind and quick wit, Haynes was a powerful preacher and abolitionist, drawing on his Calvinist theology to argue that God had a sovereign plan to end slavery and integrate the races. Haynes’s life was anything but easy, and his ministry at a church he had led for 30 years ended with him being forced out. We talked to preacher and author Jared C. Wilson about how Haynes’s legacy has inspired him—and taught him to view ministry hardships in the light of eternity.

I have to admit I didn’t know who Haynes was until I read an article about him recently. How did you encounter him?

When I was pastoring in Vermont, I did some research into the history of the area, and I stumbled across him. Haynes wasn’t from Vermont, but he spent 30 years pastoring a church in West Rutland. I was about five miles down the road from where he preached. …

Continue reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.