A few years ago, Forbes Magazine published a ranking of the nine toughest leadership roles. You may be surprised (or not!) to find that Pastor made the list! Why is pastoring so challenging? I think for two reasons. First, we are in a spiritual battle. God’s kingdom and church are in the balance in the work of ministry (Ephesians 6:11-12). Second, the church is made of people like you and me. We all have our differing opinions and expectations. I’ve often said that pastoring can sometimes feel like herding cats. Add to that, the volunteer nature of church work and attendance and the difficulty level increases exponentially.
So how can someone support and encourage their pastor and leadership in the church? Here are four ways to do just that.
All of us need prayer. Prayer is relying on God. For me, there is a temptation to do ministry on my own strength. “I”ll work through it.” “I’ll figure it out!” Nothing eternal happens without God and prayer is our access to His power and presence in our lives.
“And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18
Pastors and church leaders need prayer every day. Pray for their ministry. Pray for their integrity and faithfulness to the Lord. Pray for their family —that their marriage and family will remain strong. (see 1 Timothy 3:2–6)
Not only are they bombarded with menial administrative tasks that steal their time, they’re assaulted with temptations to get off track. When Satan attacks a congregation, he often looks to the pastor. If he can take out a pastor, he isn’t just hurting one person, because members of the congregation will see this and become disillusioned.
Wouldn’t you agree that we are in a culture that constantly questions those in authority? The local church will be influenced significantly by how our leaders lead, but just as important, maybe more important, to the church’s future will be how well you follow. Partner with them, don’t resist them!
“Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit for you.” Hebrew 13:17
Give your pastor the benefit of the doubt! Trust them. Submitting to your pastor may be difficult but you’ll bring joy to their heart—and to yours—if you respond to their godly leadership.
Be committed to unity in the church. Let me ask you, are you protecting your pastor and congregation? I don’t mean to line the stage with large guys holding baseball bats. Remember, we are in a spiritual battle!
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3 (NIV)
Refuse to be part of gossip. Gossipping can be defined this way, “Speaking or listening to others who are not directly part of solution to that problem!” Yep, that’s it. We need to make sure people are practicing Matthew 18 and going to people directly, not sharing “prayer requests.”
Yes, you’re going to have a complaint about the pastor at some point. Nobody likes to hear complaints (I still don’t). However, I much prefer people telling me they have a problem with me than telling someone else they have a problem with me.
Get involved. Church is never a show. It is not a spectator sport. One saying I picked up along the way is that “Every member is a minister!” It’s so true. Your pastor and staff are not the only ministers. We all are the ministers. We all have been given abilities and spiritual gifts that God wants us to use to build others up!
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up …” Ephesians 4:11–13
Notice what it doesn’t say. It doesn’t say that Christ gave pastors and teachers to do works of service on behalf of the church. The pastor is “to equip his people for works of service.”
Are you prepared to invest in the ministry of your church? That means you will give of your time, treasure, and talent. Ministry won’t happen without you.
BEFORE YOU GO…
We’d agree that a pastor is important. A pastor leads a church. But a pastor is not the church. Much of the effectiveness and health of your church is not about what your pastor does, but what you and I, as a congregation, do. Let’s get behind and support our pastors and leaders!
How else can you encourage and support your pastor? Love to hear from you!