Paul, with pastors gathered to hear his farewell message to them, said to the elders (pastors) of the Ephesian church, meeting at Paul’s request in Miletus on his way to Jerusalem, charged these men of God to take heed to themselves “and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseer, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28)
The pastor in today’s world, as then, labors out of love, if he is called of God and anointed of the Spirit, to a world that is, for the most part, unfriendly and inattentive. That does not lighten his responsibility or lessen his burden; to the contrary, he works in the Master’s vineyard as an ambassador, not as a diplomat; as an evangelist, not as an entertainer; as a deliverer, not as a delighter. His main business is teaching and preaching; His only tool is the sword of the Spirit; his first and last goal is regeneration not reformation, resurrection not resuscitation, Christ not culture and theocracy not democracy. He depends not on his power of persuasion but on his privileges of prayer. He pleads with souls for Christ’s sake not with sources for currencies’ sake. His strength is in proclaiming “thus saith the Lord,” and his throne is the pulpit. The stakes are eternal, not temporal, the sphere is spiritual, not natural and the issues are truths not traditions. His allegiance is to no organization but only to the Head of the world’s greatest organism, the Church. He succeeds only through humility and more often than not receives hate not help, rejection not reception and malignity rather than dignity.
That’s why Paul, when greeting Timothy and Titus, his “preacher boys,” in I and II Timothy and in Titus, departed from his typical greeting that he invariably employed in every church epistle that he penned using in those letters “Grace and Peace….” But to these protégé pastors Paul’s greeting was “Grace, mercy and peace….” Paul, though never having been a pastor himself having been called and commissioned to a church planting missionary ministry, knew that every God-called pastor would need not only grace and peace, but a heavy dose of mercy if he were to survive in this high calling.
A respectable source reported a few years ago that 1500 pastors leave the ministry every month; 50 % of pastors will be divorced by the time they leave the ministry; 80% of pastors and 84% of pastors’ wives feel discouraged or unqualified in their roles; 50 % are so discouraged they would leave the ministry if they had an alternative way to make a living; 40% experience extra marital affairs since they started in ministry and 70% acknowledged that the only time they consulted the Bible was when they were preparing a sermon!
There are ways you can help your pastor: (1) Keep him informed of your needs; he cannot know everything so let him know of your spiritual and physical status and something of what’s happening in your home and with your family; (2) Attend services of your assembly regularly so that he will not have to “track you down” if you have been absent for an extended period of time; (3) Volunteer to help your pastor to carry the load; find a job that needs to be done and roll up your sleeve to do it; (4) If a lesson or message proves to be a special blessing or meets a particular need in your life, don’t worry about giving your pastor the “big head” by telling him so—it will encourage him and work wonders for him; (5) If you are troubled about something that you feel is amiss in the church body, feel free to share constructive criticism or concerns with him—God has equipped him with broad enough spiritual shoulders to be able to handle and carry that load; (6) Pray daily for him, his wife, his family and ministry—he can only be as effective as his people are effectual in praying for him, his spiritual leadership and the church; (7) Be his friend yet not expecting an exclusive relationship with him as he can’t be “best buddies” with everyone though he might like to, but know that he treasures a friendship relationship with you so do not miss that opportunity; (8) Learn what he likes and dislikes and respect his individuality and try, as opportunity presents itself, to assist him in enjoying satisfaction as a person; (9) Decide to follow Jesus Christ sincerely and supremely and you will honor, reward, encourage and strengthen your pastor’s ministry in direct proportion to your obedience and love and loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” (Hebrews 13:7)
“Obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy and not with grief, for that is unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17)
Coming Soon: “The Pastor’s Wife”