Here’s To You Average Pastor

I like to write about the ministry here at Grace Presbyterian Church here in Grenada, Mississippi and my amazement of how God works to bring renewal and reform to places least expected.

Social media can be a very discouraging place for average pastors to spend much time. It seems like in so many places pastors are throwing out these provocative political and social grenades. Then the battle ensues between those with a lust for battle. But for most of us pastor fighting political and social battles on Facebook does not drive our ministry.

It seems to me that the bond that holds all biblically faithful pastors together is the common call to serve our triune God together for His praise and glory. The bulk of that service is shepherding God’s people that He has placed in our care and being missionaries to the communities where we are planted.

I spend most of my time thinking about how I can lead this church here in Grenada, Mississippi to become more mature and equipped followers of Jesus Christ who worship and serve God in fellowship with one another in such a way that we bring the people of Grenada County into a life-transforming encounter with Jesus Christ. Most of the time I am pleading with God to work in me to make me a faithful servant in this great task because I feel like I don’t have a clue. “Apart from me you can do nothing” rings over and over in my heart. I cry out over and over, “Jesus help me!”

Sometimes I wonder if it all is worth it. 2 Thessalonians 3:13 tells me not to grow weary in doing good. I hear that but at the same time its a struggle. I pour my heart and soul into ministry here. With great zeal I urge this congregation to be faithful to the Scriptures and to reach out to the community. I need to be reminded that we just plant and water but God causes growth. Sometimes that growth is much delayed. Success is being a faithful servant. Any harvest I am reaping now is not about me but about the God who causes growth.

Most of us are in this boat. We are not going to be invited to speak on the national stage. Frankly, nobody cares what we have to say. Nobody wants us to write a book. Nobody will subscribe to our sermon podcast. Our seminary isn’t going to invite us to teach a course or speak in the chapel. We aren’t the “beautiful people” of the Christian world. We are just the average faithful servants that comprise the vast majority pastors throughout the world.

Our society despises average, everyday faithfulness and promotes this idolatry of success that can stir up discontent within us. I believe the American Church is being corrupted with this idolatrous view of success that focuses on fame, power and money. This idol tries to crush faithful service. It’s in my heart to push back against this. It isn’t about us, it’s about God and His glory. So I tip my hat to all you who faithfully serve receiving little pay, no fame, and no prestigious role in our denomination and give God the glory for the things He has done through your ministry.

“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” Revelation 22:17

Getting to Know Pastor Chris

 

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Pastor Chris Accardy

So Who Is Pastor Chris?

I’m just a regular guy with an awesome family and a heart to serve Jesus by caring for His people.  If you are like me you want to know a little about the pastor before visiting a church. I’d love to meet you at Grace Presbyterian Church in Grenada, Mississippi. Here’s the basics of my story.

I believe the Bible is God’s inspired and authoritative Word and that Jesus Christ is the only Savior and Lord of humanity. I embrace the historic and biblical Christian faith.

My main areas of strength are preaching & teaching, outreach & discipleship, pastoral counseling, and ministering to kids in crisis & mentoring young families. I lead by training and equipping people to use their giftedness for God’s glory. People grow best in a positive and encouraging environment that provides loving and honest feedback combined with a lot of compassion, mercy and patience.

Of course, I’ve got my weaknesses. I’ve got legit ADD which leads people to view me as the lovable absent minded professor. When I’m under stress I eat too much. When I’m too busy I exercise too little. So you guessed it, weight is a thing with me. I try not to take myself too seriously.  I’ve learned that my shortcomings give me an opportunity to give praise & glory to God.

My dad is a Baptist minister (now retired) and I grew up as that stereotypical pastor’s kid. I didn’t embrace Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord until I was 24 years old. Before that I was pretty wild & rebellious and a general embarrassment to my family. But God in His mercy & grace totally changed the trajectory of my life.

I love being outdoors. I enjoy coaching baseball & soccer. I’m a life-long fan of the Boston Red Sox and the Green Bay Packers. Since moving to Mississippi I’ve become a fan of Mississippi State athletics….Hail State! Y’all have to forgive me for following the Alabama Crimson Tide for about 40 years before that.

People have called me a blue collar guy with a white collar mind. I think that means that I work hard and think deep thoughts. I’ve held a number of blue collar jobs in my life:  fuels specialist in the United States Air Force, custodian & campus security officer at Gordon College, hardware & garden equipment sales for Sears, waiter at Denny’s, and grocery replenishment specialist & stocking team leader for Publix.

I’ve got two bachelor’s degrees:  One in medieval studies and the other in nursing. I’m a registered nurse (RN) who works in a hospital setting. I believe working outside of the church keeps me living in the real world and helps me understand the real lives of people. I don’t live in a preacher bubble.

Along my path in life I earned a graduate certificate in human resource management with concentrations in leadership of non-profit organizations and marketing. I used to work professionally as a consultant to ministry organizations and larger churches.

I graduated from Covenant Theological Seminary with a master’s degree in pastoral ministry. I also did additional study in church history & theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. The main focus of my extra study was the Protestant Reformation and the Christian interaction with the modern world (contemporary theology, world religions, and science & faith).

I had two research projects published in Reformation & Revival Journal back in the day and even appeared as a guest on talk radio. I even made it into an issue of Current Thoughts & Trends. But I prefer to be a regular guy rather than some intellectual that nobody can relate to. So I gave up my pursuit of an academic career.

Major issues that are close to my heart are serving the poor and the immigrant, single mothers, and children whose parents can’t care for them.  I also believe strongly in promoting healthy marriages and strong families. In the past I’ve done work for an organization that serves the separated in divorced.

I started out in Christian ministry working with children and high school & college students way back in 1991 at a Christian camp & conference center. As a pastor I’ve served congregations in Georgia, Missouri, South Dakota, New Hampshire and Vermont.

We’ve lived in the South since 2008 and Mississippi since 2011. We recognize we are “outsiders” to the Southern way of life and appreciate the welcome we have received in the Grenada community.

Both my wife Shelley and I have a long-held burden to minister to wounded and broken children as well as families in crisis, particularly single parent families. I’ve been a house parent in a group home for abused boys. My wife and I have been house parents together in a Christian children’s home. We’ve also served as court appointed guardians. Beyond that our home and lives have been open to the needs of many children and young adults.

 

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The Accardy family (left to right): Beth, Shelley, Hannah, Chris, Matthew, Carter Leigh-Anne, Elizabeth

Shelley and I have been married since June 1993. Someday we need to write a book “How to Thrive in a Dysfunctional Marriage.” We enjoy mentoring young couples who are in the process of learning how to thrive in their marriages.

 

We’ve got four young adult children – Elizabeth Anne, twins Hannah & Beth, and Matthew. We are also blessed with a granddaughter Carter Leigh-Anne. We are proud of our kids. Each one of them is on a journey to become mature and equipped followers of Jesus Christ who worship and serve God in fellowship with other Christians. Our book on parenting would be “How Defective Parents Raise Good Kids.”

So now you know me. I’d enjoy the chance to get to know you. Stop by Grace Presbyterian Church in Grenada and say hello. I’m always looking for more Facebook friends too!