Your pastor needs your support:
Jer 3:15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
Being a pastor is not exactly what I thought it would be. In many ways it’s much better, in other ways I was quite surprised. I never knew how much you can genuinely love and care for people that are not your flesh and blood. I didn’t anticipate the joy of seeing a person come to know Christ as Savior. Then after salvation begin to grow in grace and start living their life for the Lord is a proud moment for any pastor. Another joy that warms my heart is seeing church families who met at church start to form bonds and friendships as a result of the ministry God has allowed me to be a part of. I absolutely love when I see one church family go out to dinner with another church family. I love to hear them fellowship. I love to hear them testify about each other. On the other hand, I didn’t realize some of the hidden battles that pastors never speak about. The feeling of being alone sometimes. The fact that you don’t have a pastor yourself. Most pastors have many pastor friends and mentors but the moment they accepted the call to a church in theory they don’t have a pastor. My objective with the devotional this week is not to focus on the negative aspects of ministry but simply state the importance on why you should support your pastor and some simple ways you can do that.
Pray for Him
I know this sounds cliché but oh how true it is. I believe in the power of prayer and I believe in the power of the saints of God. I KNOW there have been difficult days in my ministry where I don’t know if I would have made it without the prayers of my church family. I encourage you to let him know on occasion that you are praying for him. You say, “My pastor knows I pray for him daily.” Well I told my wife I loved her before I asked her to marry me, but I personally feel the need to remind her every day that I do love her. Telling your pastor that you are praying for him is a simple reminder to him that you are behind him. You also never know how much he may need to hear it that day.
Every pastor has been burnt in the ministry. I don’t personally know a pastor who has not been hurt by people he has invested in unless he is just bitter and does not really care for people. People that he trusted, people that he thought would be with him to the end of his ministry, people that he personally sacrificed time and money for. People that pastors will consider like gold are people that he knows will defend him in his absence. This does not mean make excuses for sin. This also does not mean that you will agree with him 100 % of the time. It means you are loyal to him. It means you will not let other members of the congregation speak evil behind his back. It means you will act maturely if you have a problem with the pastor you will go to him directly on the matter instead of seeing who you can rally behind you. You want to support your pastor? Defend him in his absence. Gossip is always squashed in the presence of a mature Christian.
Respect his Time
No pastor can do it all. He may try and maybe even get by for a little while but eventually he needs a break. Pastors generally are on call 24/7 365 days a week. Even when he is gone, he may have a deacon or assistant pastor on staff to deal with problems that may arise but every pastor worth his salt will always tell his leadership, “call me if you need me.” Pastors need time away with his family. Generally, most of them give much of their time, effort and energy to the ministry. There are times when pastors just need to be husbands and fathers. Even if he is not out of town, keep in mind that he wants to shut down too. You don’t know what he has had to deal with that day. The conflicts or burdens he is facing. At the end of the day he just wants to go home and be himself. Part of respecting his time is realizing that there may be someone else in the church that is qualified to answer your question or even assist you with the problem. Recognize his need to be able to attend revival meetings, bible conferences, camp meetings, pastors’ schools etc. This is invaluable time for pastors. They need to be fed too. They need time with other pastors and preachers. They need to be challenged and provoked too. Your pastor will appreciate you being respectful of his time.
Remember he has Burdens too.
Everyone has bad days, yes, even pastors. Please don’t crucify him if you see him at the grocery store not smiling. Please don’t get offended if you could not sense great enthusiasm in his voice on the phone. Don’t get angry if he does not answer or call back right away. He may have just got a call from another church member telling him that they are never coming back. He may have a financial need he is not speaking about. Have you ever considered he spends much of his time meeting your needs and praying for your problems when his personal problems may be bigger than yours on that given day? Most good-hearted pastors will never say a word to the general membership.
Check on his personal needs
It may not hurt from time to time to ask your pastor if he needs anything. Preachers/pastors get a bad rap from the general public because many have abused their position for personal gain. Please remember just because other pastors did it, does not mean your pastor will. Unfortunately, the lack of trust many pastors battle is not because of what they have done, but what other pastors have done. I’m not stating that pastors should not be transparent, because they should. That in itself helps build trust with people. All I am trying to say is make sure his needs are taken care of too. Make it a personal goal to check on this or see that someone in the church is checking on this on a regular basis.
Our culture is not friendly to pastors who desire to continue to preach the truth and the whole counsel of God. Believe it not, most pastors are not as angry as you think they are. Most of the time they are just frustrated from time to time. The best way to keep your pastor around for a long time is to remember these simple principles. I encourage you to support your local pastor because according to scripture they are a gift. Every time I read this passage, I always conclude that our church didn’t get the best gift. (Insert big smile here) Nevertheless, pastors are not perfect, but they are truly a gift from God.