Pastoring a church is hard work. While some people like to crack jokes about how much time the pastor doesn’t spend working (“he only works on Sundays and Wednesdays”), the men I’ve served with have worked 60 hour weeks or more. I know from experience how much they value and need our support. So let’s think about supporting our pastors as group leaders in these four ways:
- Support the pastor through prayer. One of the privileges we have as church members is to support our pastor (and all pastors on staff) through the ministry of prayer. Pray for God to grant him wisdom to lead, pray for his family, and pray a hedge of protection around his heart so that he remains focused on Jesus and the ministry he’s been called to.
- Support the pastor through encouraging words. I Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…” Our pastors need to hear words of life, but unfortunately so many hear words of criticism and confrontation. Words can wound, or words can act like a balm to a person’s soul.
- Support the pastor in all conversations. I’ve frequently told group leaders that each of them carries two “buckets” at all times – a bucket of water, and a bucket of gasoline. When they hear a conversation (whether it is face-to-face, in social media, or some other venue) in which the pastor is being spoken of negatively, they must choose to throw the bucket of water on the conversation and put out any fires that are trying to be started by the other party. Asking the condescending person, “Have you spoken to the pastor about this? Do you have time to go with me and talk to him about your concerns?” typically shuts down the negative chatter.
- Support the pastor by submitting to his leadership. I once heard a famous pastor say, “Pastors must lead and feed; people (the members) should follow and swallow.” I’ve actually heard people disagree openly with that statement, but they are disagreeing with Scripture, which says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:17). You may not like submitting to your pastor, but that’s exactly what we are called to do. It doesn’t give him cart blanche to do anything he wants, but it does mean that we trust him, believe the best about him, and honor him by following his leadership. If he has mislead or misread a situation, he is accountable to God; we are accountable to God as well, but for submitting to and following his leadership. If there is known sin, that’s a different story…but on any given day, we should line up with our pastor, stand behind him, and allow him to do what God has called him to do – lead!
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