October is pastor appreciation month in many churches. Most of the time a dinner is held in their honor, and there sure isn’t anything wrong with that. We should show appreciation for those who dedicate their lives to helping others, especially in spiritual matters.
What is the best gift we could give our pastor? Some may say to make sure he is paid well. The Scriptures do say, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. (my emphasis) For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.” (1 Timothy 5:17-18) Now those two Scriptures could bring up another topic altogether, but let’s stick with our current subject, because there is something even better we could give our pastor.
A pastor’s work is much more difficult today than even ten to twenty years ago. Satan has gone on a drunken rampage, knowing his time is short, in an attack against the home and the church. Sometimes a pastor will get hit on both fronts. Let us take a quick look at these.
FIRST FRONT: HOME
It is sad but true that pastors too may be hit with divorce. My intent is not to argue the fine points, but just state the fact. The divorce rate for both Christians and non-Christians is fifty percent (50%).
Some pastors bring it upon themselves, just like others do. However, some do not. I have heard pastors say, “That would never happen to me,” but it does. I know many who have been a victim of this curse. Some of those were pastors. Their ministries have been destroyed, often because of the selfishness of another, and that doesn’t even take into account the emotional anguish suffered by the persons directly involved.
To those who are hit with the unexpected shock of this calamity, it is a gut-wrenching experience you would wish on no one. There are many avenues at Satan’s disposal to attack your pastor, and he doesn’t fight fairly. Splitting up the pastor’s home has been the icing on the cake in Satan’s scheme to discredit Jesus Christ and prevent the Truth from being preached.
Sometimes Satan will work through the pastor’s children. It’s hard enough growing up as it is, but when the world’s influences, especially of today, are thrown at children, disaster can strike. Pastor’s too, suffer from the repercussions of this onslaught of Satan upon the family. 1 Timothy 3:4 immediately presents a problem for the pastor’s continued service in the pastoral ministry. “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity” and Satan has another victory.
Any pastor needs the full support of his wife. It is true that behind every great man is a greater woman. But Satan also knows about 1 Timothy 3:5, “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the churchof God?” I have seen pastors so cow-towed by their wife, I was embarrassed for them. Bullies certainly are not acceptable in God’s service either. So again, Satan takes more blood at an attempt to discredit the Lord’s message.
SECOND FRONT: CHURCH
One of the best ways for Satan to attack your pastor is to corrupt his mind before he comes to pastor your church. The best place to start is in the seminaries, and it is here that many young pastors have been sent out in the world with nothing but a social gospel between their ears. Wherever the training takes place, Satan loves to muddy the waters. If you don’t think so, just ask Eve.
The church body
Far too often the church body is a heavy weight the pastor must drag behind him, rather than a friend who walks beside him.
I don’t know if I have ever been to a church that doesn’t have a “clique” that actually calls the shots. If the pastor crosses that “click,” he could be looking for another place to preach God’s Word.
I have only listed a very, very few ways that Satan tries to hamper the pastor in his position as the pastor of a local church body, or better yet, to completely destroy any opportunity of being a pastor.
Every pastor needs the help of those around him. So what can we do to help? What is the best gift we good give him?
Special time for him and his family
Every church should require their pastor to have at least one day in the week to spend with his family, uninterrupted. That should be their day. His wife needs her husband, and his children need their dad. I have witnessed far too many pastors sacrifice this area of their lives and suffer for it. I am convinced that it is not God’s desire for them to sacrifice quality time with family.
I know a few pastors who won’t visit at all, and that is tragic. Most of the time though, at least in my experiences, I have noticed that the pastor is run ragged doing all the visiting, for one reason or another, while the church body sits on its hands and does nothing but provide more visitation requests.
This leaves him little time for proper preparation for the teaching of the Word that he must provide the church. This leaves him little quality time to spend with his family also.
If you know of someone who needs to be visited, why don’t you visit them? Are you a Christian? Do you not represent the Lord Jesus Christ? There is no reason why you cannot pray with them, witness to them, or help them in their need.
Sometimes a pastor may feel he has little to no support from his congregation, and he may not.
If we can be of service in some way, we should lend a helping hand, and not wait for someone else to fill the spot. If everyone is waiting on the next person, then no one is going to volunteer.
If you see your pastor being unjustly treated, stand up on his behalf and voice your support. Don’t allow the church bullies to run roughshod over your pastor. Regardless of “who they are,” stand up and be counted.
The very best gift anyone could give their pastor is their daily prayer for him and his family.
· “But I have a sorry pastor.” Then pray for him. (Could you be the problem?)
· “He seems to be doing fine.” We don’t know that, and even if he is, pray for him.
· “I just don’t think he will change.” Leave that up to God. (Do you need to change?)
· “I have a good pastor. Prayer would be a waste of time.” Prayer is never a waste of time, and maybe God will make him even better because of your prayers.
· “I would rather my pastor just leave.” God called him. If God wants him to leave, let God guide him elsewhere if that is God’s decision. In the meantime, your prayers may change your mind.
What should my prayers include concerning my pastor? Allow me to provide a few ideas (in no particular order).
· His health
· His spiritual growth
· His knowledge of the Word
· His protection
· His encouragement
· His family’s health and spiritual growth
· My readiness and cooperation to be of support and assistance
Again, this is not an inclusive list, but a starter. The important thing is to actually spend each day in prayer on his and his family’s behalf. Don’t just talk it, but walk it.
I realize that it is difficult in our day to find a good Bible believing, Bible teaching man of God as a church pastor. However, I truly believe that through much real, honest-to-goodness prayer on your pastor’s behalf he will improve or be removed, by God. Another marvelous thing that takes place is that those who pray also grow.
Despite the fact that there are probably far more “sorry” pastors than “good ones,” there are still many “good ones” who need much prayer and support from their church family. Satan won’t bother with the “bad” ones. They do his bidding anyway, but he will do all he can to trip up the “good ones.” If you have a pastor who is faithfully teaching God’s Word in full accord to God’s Truth, Satan hates that man, and will do all he can to hurt his ministry. If you happen to be blessed with a “good one,” treasure what God has sent your way. Many Christians don’t have that in their local assembly.
Church congregations need to remember that pastors are not super humans with special in-roads to God that other Christians do not have. We all have a special in-road to God, through His Son Jesus Christ, but none of us are super humans. Pastors are men who have been called by God for a special service, as each person in the body of Christ has been called for special service. They need understanding just like anyone else. They need prayers just like anyone else, perhaps more so, due to their specific calling.
There are many wolves among the sheep, but there are also many good under-shepherds that God has appointed for a high calling. Good pastors are getting harder and harder to find. Reward yours by being a prayer warrior on their behalf, and let them know you are praying for them and their family daily. Help make their calling easier, and I’m sure God will notice.