SCP Interview #5: Pastor Jim Dorton

Pastor Jim Dorton
Three Stones Church
Dover, Delaware

What do you enjoy the most about being a pastor?

I love ministering to the church, to God’s people.  Whether it’s a child’s innocent question about God, a youth questioning their faith, or an elderly person who just needs companionship.  (#2 – Preaching!)

If you had to pick one thing that you feel is a real strength of your church, what would it be?

Although not as strong as we hope to be, we have several people serving outside the church in local ministries.

What are two advantages of the small church?

Number one:  The ability to for the pastor and leadership to know everyone in the congregation pretty well, and, number two) for everyone in the congregation to have the opportunity to know each other well.

What will be one of the greatest challenges your church will face this year?

We are a very conservative church, Biblically, but we have a fairly even split politically.  It will be a challenge (in the current political climate) to teach people to openly, lovingly discuss their differences and then prioritize them well below Christ and His Gospel.

How do you hope to address that challenge?

Bringing people of differing opinions together formally and informally, to discuss those differences.  Also, bringing people together to serve in the Name of Christ regardless of their other opinions.

What one thing do you wish your members knew about what it is like being a pastor?

How terribly painful and how incredibly wonderful it is.  And that I, and all our elders, take their salvation very, very seriously, and understand that God will hold us accountable to teach and lead them well (Hebrews 13:7).

If you had to give one piece of advice to a new pastor just starting out, what would it be?

Treat your prayer, devotional, and study time like tithing.  Not the “tenth” part – but the “first fruits” part.  Do not sacrifice these for anything.  Identify the true emergency things for which you must put those disciplines off (for they will come), and do not put them off for anything else.  Also, predetermine ways to recover that time. For example, I have a number of small sticky notes marked “sermon prep” on my calendar every week.  If I have to go to the hospital during two of those hours, then I move those to open slots.  If I run out of open slots, I’ll cancel less important things to get prep done before my day off.

What are you currently reading? 

I just started The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson, also re-reading The Holiness of God by R.C.Sproul