I share this not to get into debates over chronology or the importance of dating the letters and verifying actual authors verses disciples of authors or people writing in the name of "famous" disciples/Apostles to ensure their letters would be read and shared among the early churches. I write to share what I have gained as a follower of Christ by reading in this manner.
This is not only helpful to me as a minister but I find myself identifying with Paul in a way. As a middle judicatory my first responsibility lies to the churches I serve. My goal is to help them be the most healthy churches possible. If I am to take the above seriously this means I am to focus first on community. I am to help the people of God in the local church be community together and to live in community with their neighbors. Second I am to guide them theologically. Everything we do from gathering on Sundays, to going on a mission trip needs to be rooted in Biblical teachings. We are to reflect upon those teachings to help guide us in whatever choices we make from hiring a pastor to deciding what curriculum to use.
As I read Paul's letters I can feel his passion for the churches he was writing. He often speaks of how much he loves the churches. He shares memories of his times there. He calls the people by name and sends them greetings from others by name. I see how he spent years getting to know these people. I can see how they trusted him to answer their questions. This is my passion as a judicatory as well. I care about our churches in our region. I care about all the churches in our denomination, but I have a special calling to theses specific churches at this specific time. I hope like Paul that I can promote community shaped by theological understanding for the reason we are gathered together for worship in the first place.
As I write this out and think about the churches in my care I know many that are looking for pastors, struggling with conflict, concerned about their finances, anxious about the future of ministry, and worried about their buildings. Even so, I don't feel stress or fear or anxiety. Instead like Paul, "I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of [them]..." I am grateful for this ministry and the opportunity to come alongside each of these churches and together become imitators of the resurrected Jesus Christ.