Back in the days before a minister was expected to be a CEO, an administrator, a visionary, an eloquent orator, a fund-raiser, and a psychologist as well as a shepherd and preacher, Pastor Frank Herb kept it simple. He was a Pastor. With nothing more than a Bible College education and the knowledge he gained from the thousands of books he read voraciously, this shy and retiring “Herb Boy” served as that kind of uncomplicated Pastor in seven different congregations, lovingly shepherding his flocks.
The funeral director asked about his hobbies … what he did when he wasn’t “working.” The family smiled. No real hobbies. Outside of his deep love for his family and his passion for ministry, little else mattered. His life was dominated by the Scriptures. He read them, studied them, prayed through them, taught them, preached them, applied them, lived them.
Beginning ministry with the Bible Fellowship Church (then the Mennonite Brethren in Christ) soon after his service in the US Navy, Pastor Herb led the Pennsylvania congregations at Paradise, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Bethlehem, Coopersburg, and Fleetwood before his retirement. When he “retired” from being lead pastor, he became “Pastor Emeritus” at his beloved Ebenezer Bible Fellowship Church in Bethlehem and just kept loving and teaching his church family. When he and his precious Margaret relocated to Fellowship Community, Whitehall, PA, he served there as chaplain and Bible study leader until he was in his late 80’s. He loved it. They loved it.
During his lifetime of ministry with the Bible Fellowship Church, Pastor Herb also served as mentor for young men and their wives as they learned from his example. Dana Weller, Tom Shorb, Brian Cooper, and I served beside him, watching, listening, learning. Pastor Shorb and his wife Yvonne were not yet married when the Herbs began to have an impact on their lives. Yvonne spent endless hours with Margaret in their home in Harrisburg, PA. Later, when the Shorbs married, Tom became assistant pastor to Pastor Herb in Bethlehem.
The impact on their lives was immense. Tom’s passion for pastoral care mirrored the example he saw in his Bethlehem Shepherd. He and Yvonne were forever molded by the Herbs during their early years. It was mentoring at its best.
He lived and died as “Pastor Herb.” To this very day, nothing in me could call him “Frank.” Nothing. He had my utmost respect. From the days when I served beside him as his assistant from 1980 to 1985, he was a gentle mentor, leading, teaching by example. When he spoke at BFC Annual Conference, which he only did sparingly and out of necessity, his fellow ministers listened. Not known as a glad-hander, he wasn’t one to hang out with the boys or kibitz with the crowd; but when
one of his flock was hurting or ill, hospitalized or grieving, seeking godly counsel, Pastor Herb was certain to be there. His people and the Word had first place in his heart. He followed the example of the Great Shepherd described in Isaiah 40:11: He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. The Good Shepherd tends, feeds, gathers, loves, leads, and understands the flock. Pastor Herb was that kind of Pastor. On December 7, 2021, we said our final earthly goodbyes to our old friend, Pastor Frank Herb. Now he has heard, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Gentle Shepherd, thank you.
By Richard Paashaus in conversation with Thomas Shorb.
Both men are retired pastors from Calvary BFC, Coopersburg, PA.
Read Frank L. Herb’s full obituary here.