Welcome back to the conclusion of my interview with Billy Raies, senior pastor of Christian Life Center in Midland, Texas. You can read part one here
and part two here
Billy, what single bit of counsel has made the most significant difference in your leadership?
My precious dad would often tell me—and model for me—the phrase, “they won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” As such, I pray that the counsel of the following portions of Scripture will become living realities in my leadership: “he who has been forgiven much loves much” (Luke 7:47); “greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friend” (John 15:13); “they will know you are my disciples if you love one another” (John 13:35); and “Do you love Me? … feed my sheep” (John 21:17).
Where in ministry are you most regularly tempted to discouragement?
In my personal life there are two.
The first is in the realm of my deficiencies and sins that contend with my being the husband and dad that I aspire to be. When everything is said and done, I would love it if my wife and boys could say that I was a better husband and father than I was a pastor.
I battle with the second area on Sunday afternoons in replaying the morning’s preaching and witness over in my mind. I can bounce back and forth between being dissatisfied in the sense of practical ways that I could have done better versus being discouraged over my “performance” and how others might have perceived me. The war between wanting to instruct vs. wanting to impress can be fierce and discouraging. Now you know why I am reading Lou Priolo’s book Pleasing People!
In my pastoral life, nothing breaks my heart like a broken family, and nothing thrills me more than to see a family restored by the gospel and reflecting the gospel through their marriage.
Do you exercise? If so, what do you do? If not, why not? (Please be specific.)
Is it a sign of sinful pride to be defensive in giving an answer? Here is my specific answer…I am currently not exercising. My reason? I guess it would be laziness, love of ease, and now that you have me thinking about it, apparently a lack of love for my family in being a better steward of my health. Ouch. Why don’t we go to the next question... this is starting to look like what an ordinary pastor should not
Currently, what sport do you like to play and/or watch?
I play about 6–8 rounds of golf a year depending on schedule, who may be visiting from out of town, and whether or not it is baseball season for my sons (they refuse to play golf with me then because they don’t want to mess up their baseball swing!). The only other times I play is when I am practicing baseball with them or helping coach basketball. I enjoy watching baseball, basketball, and football during the post season and championships.
What do you do for leisure?
I love the mountains and fishing, but don’t get to do either often. This other answer may sound pretty corny, but I derive a great deal of joy out of the laughter of Jan and the boys and still get a thrill out of holding my wife’s hand.
If you were not in ministry, what occupational path would you have chosen?
Childhood dream: major league baseball player.
In the real world: If I were not a pastor I think I would have ended up teaching high school or jr. high and coaching baseball.
Billy, I’m grateful for the joy you derive from the laughter of your wife and thrill you still receive from holding her hand. Thanks for your example as a husband, father, and pastor.