I’ve read and heard about the hardships that many church leaders face in this province and around the world. My husband is one of many pastors given the seemingly impossible task of balancing the great commission and the call to equip and protect the church body.
Though it’s easy to criticize, please remember that on a good day your pastor is doing his best and that he needs grace just like everyone else! However, in light of current events we must recognize the added pressure (both internal and external), workload, difficult decisions, criticism and stress church leaders face.
Whether you are in full-time ministry, a church attendee, or somewhere in the middle, there are ways you can support pastors locally and globally, so as to not contribute to this pressure, but rather help alleviate it “by the humility and gentleness of Christ,” (2 Cor 10:1).
Pray for Them
Praying for our pastors is biblical. The writer of Hebrews says “Pray for us, for we are convinced that we have a clear conscience, wanting to conduct ourselves honorably in everything,” (Hebrews 13:18-19). Pastors don’t choose to be in their position; they are called to it. The job is difficult and never really ends. Burn out and spiritual attacks come with the territory. They need prayers of protection from the enemy and from their own sinful hearts, prayers for strength and endurance to keep running the race, prayers to be rooted in Christ.
“Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth,” (1 John 3:18). Before we criticize a pastor we can ask ourselves: could we have done something to help this situation? Perhaps we have a complaint about a lack of management in a certain area, have we considered helping there, or volunteering? Is there a proactive approach to take in this arena?
Let us “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” (James 1:19). If we absolutely must offer criticism to a pastor, let’s do so with gentleness and grace, offering compassion and genuine concern
– If the issue is small, let’s keep in perspective the greater, looming tasks our pastor manages with the world crisis.
– If we’re offended, let’s forgive our pastor for a lack of tact, we can be sure it wasn’t his intention.
– If we’re part of a church plant, we can realize our pastor is juggling many positions, not just one.
“Carry each other’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ,” (Galatians 6:2). The work of a pastor and ministry leaders never really ends, but a supportive community can help. There are lots of ways we can provide rest and recharge for our local leaders and pastors that we know personally.
“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God.” (Hebrews 13:7) A phone call, email or a hand written letter (my husband’s favorite) is such a small thing, yet it can go a long way to encourage a church leader, even outside of your city. Expressing your gratitude or support for a pastor can make a difference in a discouraging day (or year) and have wonderful ripple effects.
Please know that this list is not meant to condemn or shame, but rather encourage and ignite fellow brothers and sisters: although it might not always be obvious, pastors are always working behind the scenes and they do the best with the gifts the sovereign Lord gave them. They will surely make mistakes, burn out, and at times lack tact. Even so, let us be slow to judge, and quick to pray for and build up those appointed to lead us spiritually.
I encourage myself and anyone reading to do one thing today than can help support a church leader.