Pastors have a hard job – they are often expected to be “Superman in a suit.” According to the website expastors.com, pastors reported:
- Working 55-75 hours a week and were exhausted
- Being underpaid – this put considerable financial strain on their families
- 50% of them are so discouraged that they want to leave the ministry
- 40% reported having a serious conflict with a church member at least once a month
- 1700 of them leave the ministry each month
So with these statistics running in the background, let’s think of ways we can support our pastor from our role as a group leader. I can think of 4 ways right off the bat:
- Trust him – are you surprised that I didn’t start with “pray for him?” That’s coming. But the pastors I know want and need our trust. They have information about people and about the church that I am not going to be privy to. When they make decisions, they are doing it for the betterment of the church. My role is to be supportive of his decisions even though I don’t have all the facts. I defer to the higher authority. In this case, my pastor.
- Encourage him – Satan has used discouragement as a tool of attack against pastors everywhere. Monday-morning armchair quarterbacking church members who phone the office or send an email to tell him what was wrong with Sunday’s sermon, or with something he said or did, wear out good, godly men. Instead, we should use our words to lift up and encourage the man God has sent to our church to lead us and shepherd us. We should also stop the gossip that takes place. Refusing to listen to other church members gossip about the pastor will create a culture in which that is not tolerated.
- Pray for him – There it is! You knew I’d get to this one eventually. The pastor should be a regular subject of our prayers. And his wife and kids, too! Ask the Lord to strengthen him, speak to him, and to shield him from the flaming darts that Satan will surely throw at him. As a group leader, I should lead my group to pray for our pastor each week.
- Pay him – Having served on church staff, I can thankfully say that this has not been a problem for me. But I know pastors through my work that are working insane hours yet not being financially compensated by their churches. There is some kind of evil idea among church members that says, “We should keep the pastor poor and humble.” That’s nuts. The worker is worthy of his wage. Don’t muzzle the ox – let it eat! Your pastor isn’t in ministry for the money, I promise! This is not the career for those who want to earn six figures and higher. I’m thankful when pastors are paid well, given bonuses, extra vacation time, etc. So as a group leader, encourage your Personnel Team to be generous. If you happen to sit on the Personnel Team as a lay leader, lead the way and pay your pastor well.
There is a shortage of pastors taking place. Young pastors are not going into existing churches in great numbers. Instead, they are choosing to start churches (and that is a good thing). But if your church doesn’t support its pastor, I promise that the Lord is fully capable of leading that man to another place where he will be wanted and appreciated. Don’t lose a good, godly man because of idiocy. Make smarter choices. Support the pastor. He’s trying to be Superman for you and your church.
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