How to encourage your pastor to ensure a long, successful tenure
Posted by Brad Quiring on April 1, 2015
It is spring, time for sunshine, warm weather and getting out of the winter blues. Unfortunately some parts of North America are still waiting for this mysterious, unknown event called, “Spring” to arrive!
In the meantime, encouragement always brings “Spring” to the “Winter” of a person’s heart.
During the last year I’ve personally gone through a winter of life, so to speak, that many pastors have gone through. God taught me so much in this time and I hope I will apply those lessons as a maturing Christian and leader of a church. Some of these lessons have come from many fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who want to encourage one another in the Lord.
During my “winter” I went through several articles and blog posts with a common theme of “How to Destroy a Pastor”. I felt I could identify with them all in some way. Not all was negative. I certainly gained some valuable perspective as to my own weakness and my factoring into the problems. I also know others were greatly helped as they sought to avoid the pitfalls that many congregants fall into as they related to their pastors and leaders.
I also came across other articles that basically dealt with the subject in the title line of this blog entry. I took my own “list”, worked it through these other lists and have come up with a very personal blog entry that I hope will help you work as a better leader in your church and better member of the family of God.
Know first and foremost, that nearly every pastor loves the Lord, loves the Bible and loves their calling to serve a congregation they love deeply. Your pastor is also imperfect. They are a sinner saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. They are wrestling with temptation and a sinful nature (Romans 7). They do not know it all and will fail, guaranteed.
1. PRAY for your pastor. I never had an “opponent” who prayed with and for me. Many “allies” always have. When I prayed for my adversaries in a church, my attitude toward them changed incredibly. I know your thoughts toward your pastor and relationship with them will change when you pray for them every day.
2. HELP them correctly and carefully. I want to be a better pastor. I need help to do that and my congregants’ and leaders’ evaluations and critiques are invaluable. Many critiques, though, are at best misplaced and at worst cruel and sinful.
Evaluate and critique your pastor based on the Scriptures (not your personal interpretation, by the way), by your church’s doctrinal position, by the church’s vision and by the pastor’s job description. Notice that your personal opinion doesn’t factor in here. According to Philippians 2 and Luke 14 your interests must always default to others’ interests, including the pastor’s. Finally, talk to them in a loving, caring and helpful way. No blasting allowed.
Oh, if we’re doing something right, tell us, too!
3. SERVE in the church! Most people who complain and undermine the pastor aren’t doing anything in the church. Even their “generous” donations are usually insignificant. Those who generously give and serve in the church have no time or inclination to undermine the pastor. They actually partner up with them very, very well. The people I am closest to in the church are the ones who are dedicated to service and prayer.
4. APPLY the sermon. I always appreciate getting a positive comment for my messages and lessons. But the greatest compliment is a changed life. If your pastor challenges you to change something in your life, then just do it. Take up their challenge and let them know you are doing it so you can be accountable to them.
I preached a sermon once on giving and challenged folks in the church to consider giving a true 10% of their gross salary to the church each month. I didn’t do this because I believe we are bound to the Old Testament Tithe, rather I just think it is a great place to start. One couple came up to me and told me they were taking up the challenge. At the time, I don’t think they were even believers! Talk about a month’s worth of encouragement from one simple conversation.
5. PROVIDE for your pastor’s needs. I am blessed to serve a generous church who pay me very well. I know of pastors who aren’t compensated well, yet their churches could do it. That is shameful and sinful. When a pastor is well-compensated, they automatically think better of their congregation (we are human), they tend to give more to their work and they worry less about providing for their family (we are human, by the way).
Another way to provide is special gifts and hospitality. Take them out for lunch, give them a gift certificate to a nice restaurant, offer free babysitting for a date night, when you go out for coffee with them, pay for the coffee. We love to give, but receiving is a grace, too. Your service will not go unnoticed by God.
6. PROTECT them from the wolves. Paul told the Ephesian leaders in Acts 20 that the worst enemies of the church and leadership would not come from outside persecution but rather from the inside. When someone in the family is attacking the pastor, elders and the pastor’s family, do what is Biblical and defend them. Too many pastors are thrown under the bus by a tiny faction in the church. The greater body is confused as to why the pastor left. The issue is that the greater body failed in their duty to protect the leadership and the whole church.
The best defense is always the Word of God. Know it and when someone attacks with unbiblical, sinful attitudes and words, do what Jesus did and put them right. A church never wins when the pastor is subjected to the cruelty of sinful internal adversaries and the inaction the rest.
7. PRAY for your pastor. Yes, this must be repeated. It’s great to pray, by the way. It is habit-forming.
Blessings to you as you work with your pastor in the Kingdom of God and the Church of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.