This blog is longer than many of mine, but it is very important. I hope you all read it to the end. My friend Lisa will usually close it if it is to long. I hope people don’t do that.
In my churches bulletin this announcement was included. I have posted a blog about this post a few years ago, but it is worth doing another blog on “Praying for our Pastors.” This is the announcement;
PRAY FOR OUR PASTORS: 97% of pastors have been betrayed, falsely accused, or hurt by their trusted friends. 70% of pastors battle depression. 7,000 churches close each year. 1,500 pastors will quit each month. 10% will retire as a pastor. 80% of pastors feel discouraged. 94% of pastor’s families feel the pressure of ministry. 78% of pastors have no close friends. 90% of pastors report working 55-75 hours per week. PRAY FOR OUR PASTORS.
Eph 4:11-16 (NKJV) “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; Read More…
I have known a number of pastors in my life who have quit their positions because of either depression, fighting and not having the support of the church. Pastors and church leaders are exhausted, frustrated and they are discouraged. Pastors are leaving the church left and right. If you can’t figure out why, I would say look around you. I know I am guilty on numerous occasions where I pushed one of more of my pastors. I’m headstrong and I don’t like to be wrong. Hmmmm, I may need to make an image that says that. But anyhow. I am argumentative and I go out of my way to prove a point. Hopefully I haven’t caused my pastor to many grey hairs.
1 Timothy 2:1-2
2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
A good friend of mine that was a pastor in Wisconsin ended up leaving the church because of personal attacks from the church where she was pastoring. I have known her for a long time and felt horrible for her.
One of my pastors I had growing up ended up leaving the church. He felt like he wasn’t reaching people anymore. I have been at my church since 1995 and while most are loving and kind. Every now and then there seems to be someone who causes conflict. I don’t think the post in our bulletin was specifically about just our pastor, but pastors all over. Pastors and their families need encouragement just as much as those who are attending their church.
It’s a no brainer that Pastors and church leaders have people who will blame him/her for everything. It’s not uncommon to hear people criticize and find fault in anything a pastor does. I always think about what our previous pastor would say and it is so true. He would warn people before the sermon to “not shoot the messenger.” I can see why he would say that since people will disagree and start trouble because they don’t want to know what God says, they want things sugar-coated and they don’t want to hear the truth. When they hear something they don’t like, they jump the ship.
Since pastors are experiencing burn out and frustrations there are things we can do to help them. As Christians, we should feel sorrow for the pastors and church leaders. I guess I feel bad for them because they are there to serve us and to deliver the Word of God. Maybe I see things in a different way, but I would think that God wants is to hurt and criticize our pastors. One of my friends who was a pastor told me that it is the ones who claim to be Christians are the ones who caused him to leave the ministry. You just can’t be everything to everyone.
There are many things that I have gotten bent out of shape because I didn’t like the message. I don’t like being corrected and called out. I don’t like being called out for doing things that I shouldn’t have been doing to begin with. I’m not into the whole humble pie kind of thing, but, I know that whichever pastor was talking to me was saying what I needed to hear.
The Way of Love
1 Cor. 13:1-13
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Read More…
What is it that we can do for Pastors and church leaders?
Pray for Our Pastors and Their Families
We can pray for our pastors and his family. Commit yourself to praying for them on a daily basis. Send them a message letting them know you are praying or go to your prayer closet. They are there for us, we should be there for them. My pastor has answered his phone night and day when I needed him. When I was in the hospital, he was there. When my mom was dying his wife Kathi went out of her way to create prayer cards. The least I can do is pray, pray and pray. Anyone can pray for their pastors. They are needed of prayers just like we all are. Pastor’s and their families are just like yours and mine. They struggle with similar issues and problems.I would like to say that most of those at my church are always praying for our pastor and his family.
If we expect our pastors ministry to be effective, they are in need and rely on prayers. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to have a pastor that is joyful and is led by the Spirit of God over a pastor that has no joy or peace. I also feel that pastors who are confident will led the congregation they are shepherding into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and has a passion for revival and reaching the lost. During some conversations with my pastor, on numerous times he has spoken about how we need a revival and we need to reach the lost and pray for the lost. I’m not talking about the kind of revival that takes place in a tent. We need to revive God’s spirit in the soul of America?
Pastors and church leaders need others to come stand by and with them and commit to fervent, continuous prayer so that the enemy (Satan) doesn’t win. Anytime there is fighting and bickering, it is another win for the enemy.
Encourage Our Pastors
People are all gung ho when it comes to criticizing and play the blame game. I am guilty of that also. Some of the things people have done that are discouraging is by emailing hurtful messages and talking to others about how they aren’t the same as previous pastors or their old pastors. I wouldn’t think people at my church would do that. But, you never know. They didn’t word something the right way or whatever. They expect the pastor(1 man) to be perfect to all people. I call it the “stroking of the egos”. If you are going to church to have your egos stroked, you’re not there for the right reason. Instead of criticizing you can be one of those people who look for ways to encourage him/her and to be more positive instead of negative. Every now and then it may be nice to write a personal note and let them know you are praying for them. I know my pastor would appreciate it and I know others would also.
You can encourage the pastor is by telling him if the sermon or message he shared helped you. Because of my health issues, it is hard for me to get to church each Sunday, but I do listen to the online sermons when Pastor Ray uploads them. There are times the message seemed like it was meant for me. God knew I needed to hear this message. If you have had a message that has helped you, let your pastor know. Even when I didn’t particularly liked the message he shared, I benefited from it. God knew I needed to hear what Pastor Ray shared and I needed to hear it. If your pastors message spoke to you, let him know.
(1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13)
We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves”.
Get To Know Your Pastor
When Pastor Ray and his wife Kathi moved to our town and became our new pastor, I invited them out to dinner to get to know them. It wasn’t just me, but others did as well. I did this also with past pastors and their families as well and so did others. I don’t want people to look at me and say oh she is good and trying to be all that. The reason I mention this is that I think everyone should take the time to get to know our pastors and church leaders. It’s important to get to know them not just because of his position. I personally feel it is important to get to know them as a person.
Think about this for a second or think about the times you may have moved to a new city where you didn’t know anyone. I don’t know if many realizes that being a pastor can be a lonely job. People have high expectations. You didn’t know where things were. You didn’t have any friends or family there, unless you are moving to a town where you lived before. You are moving into a strange place. For those who have never lived in Utah, it is a whole other world. It took us a long time to get use to how things work here.
By getting to know Pastor Ray and Kathi on a personal and friend level I was able to learn that they love sports and they love basketball. They have a wonderful sense of humor and a love of music. Pastor Ray writes his own music and plays piano. He is a very humble and prayer oriented pastor. They love their children and grandchildren. They are very kind and wear their hearts on their sleeves. Kathi loves to craft and cook. Kathi loves chocolate and Ray loves his Keurig and coffee that is strong (yuck) lol. I would encourage everyone to get to know their pastors. Most of all, I found out how awesome they are and how much they love the Lord and serving others.
3. Submit to The Pastors Leadership
I don’t know if you realize this or not, but pastors are human and they do get hurt when people don’t listen and ignore what they have done a sermon on and people ignore it. One of my pastor friend told me that while he is up they’re doing the sermon that he spent a great deal of time preparing by praying and putting together and they look out to the congregation and see people in the pews with blank faces. They “blow off” the Word of God because they don’t like what is said, which also hurts the congregation since it causes a great division.
Oh boy, this is one of those loaded things that I think and have observed to be a pretty major issues. I am sure I am guilty on this one. I like things my way and I don’t like waiting for something to happen. My previous pastor and I would butt heads every now and then on this one. I wanted to do things that would bring in younger people to our church. I asked him about doing things in the parking lot, maybe adding a more contemporary service, BBQ’s and so on. When he told me that we have to do things in God’s timing and for me to hold my horses, let’s say I was NOT impressed. He would tell me that we have to wait and wait and wait. At least I seen it that way. lol. He knew if I was heading into his office, I had a tablet all laid out to show him my point of view. I was ready to battle it out, lol.
But, over time and a number of head butts, I had to realize that the Bible is pretty direct on how we must submit to the authority of the church. And since I’m a member of the church and I know that if it is in the Bible, there is nothing to argue about. God’s Word is God’s Word. While I don’t like that the Bible says that I must submit to the authority, then there is no choice. I want to just point out that if your pastor or church leader isn’t using the Bible and they are abusive, then you shouldn’t even be going to that church.
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).
Ask How You Can Serve?
For those who goes to any church or are a part of an organization, I am sure it is hard to get people to volunteer. I would say that only 10 percent volunteer. That puts a strain on churches. Church Leaders are having to do it all. One volunteer does what normally 8 people should be doing. If you aren’t serving already, maybe you can ask someone such as the pastor or church leader if there is a place where you can serve. People think they have to do big things that take a ton of time. But, there are so many positions and things that can be done from home. For example, I do our churches website and I do our churches power-point. I enjoy doing it and since I have many medical issues, they are things I can do at home and take my time doing it. Plus, it helps me from focusing on my medical things and my limitations.
My mother in law while she was alive wanted to do something, but she didn’t drive. She felt like she was worthless and could be of no use to the church. I sat down and talked to her about the reality of how anyone can serve.
One of the best ways to grow personally, and at the same time help your church grow, is to find a place where your spiritual gifts, capacity and interests can make a unique contribution to what Jesus wants to do through you and through your church. Just because a person may have a handicap or a senior citizen, there is always something you can do. If you’re breathing, you can do something. Below are areas that anyone can serve in.
- Praying for one another
- Send out get well cards or send a positive message to someone who may need to know someone cares.
- Cook a meal
- Visit with someone who is in a care center or a shut in
- Fold bulletins
- Join a team at church. We have a number of teams at our church that could use members.
- If you have an idea about what you would like to do, you can talk to the pastor or church leader.
- You can usher and greet people as they come through the door. That is one of the most important area to volunteer. Usually the first impressions happen as they are greeted.
Since this blog has gotten to be longer than I intended it to be I want to add this last section and that is that people should be talking honestly to the pastor and not about the pastor.
Honesty and Gossip Needs to Stop
Decisions have to be made and not all of them are changes I like. If there is something that I have questions about, I know that my pastor is great about discussing them. If anyone has a problem with their pastor or church leader it is better to go to them and not go behind his or her back and talk to someone else about him or her. If you disagree about something, it is best to go to the source. Otherwise you are getting half-truths.
I don’t think people realize that it is a sin to gossip and talk about others. It can damage and destroy a church body faster than nothing. There are always going to be disagreements. The pastor we had before Pastor Ray and I would have many conversations. He would say something that didn’t sound right and I had to ask him point-blank on what he meant. Once he explained his point of view, I still disagreed in part, but I respected his point of view.
Pastor Ray and I had a conversation a year ago about something that was going on at church. It was something that caused a great division. During our conversations he was saying that he wished people would come directly to him if they had a problem instead of talking to others and getting upset. 9 times out of 10, it was because of a misunderstanding that got blown out of proportion.
For example, during one of the Bible Studies I was at, things were taken the wrong way. There was a conversation that was going on prior to the beginning of the lesson. I came into the conversation late and so did a few others. But, the conversation was hurtful one to some of them. Since a couple of the people were late, they only heard the part that seemed hateful and demeaning. The person speaking didn’t have all of the details and things blew up. It was a hard night that caused some to leave the church and not return. All because of misunderstandings and not going to the person to find out what really went on.
If you or anyone has a problem with a pastor or church leader, please go to them directly. Don’t listen to those around you. By the time you hear what is being said, the story could have changed 10 of more times again. If you have ever played the whisper game, you know what I mean.
I just want to say that we need to be there for our pastors and church leaders. We need to keep ourselves in check and not expect to have our egos stroked. If you are at church to hear what you think you want to hear, then you are at the wrong church. My pastor uses the Bible only. If you don’t want to listen to the Word of God and to learn, then you are in the wrong place. I know my pastor would relish the opportunity to hear what anyone is bothered by and to have the opportunity to genuinely listen to you.
Pastors can’t read your mind and by talking to your pastor directly, you can be assured and come to a mutual understanding and respect for one another. Otherwise, stop gossiping and talk to the source. Gossiping has destroyed lives and has caused churches to close their doors. I know for myself, I would hate to have been the person to gossip about our pastor or church leaders and my words led to them closing the door or quitting their positions. Think about what you say to others, it is hurtful.
The whisper game is where a person whispers something in a persons ear, and then they whisper it into the next persons ear and so on. Finally by the time it gets to the end, the story has changed drastically. Most pastors want to hear from people who have issues or questions with something at the church. Most would relish the opportunity to genuinely hear what is bothering you and to have the chance to both genuinely listen and share concerning your issue so the two of you can have mutual understanding and respect for each other.
- Proverbs 11:13 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.
- Proverbs 17:9 Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
- Proverbs 20:19 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.
In closing I want to leave you with this.
There are a lot of other things that could be said, but I will stop with these six. Let me say it again, “Your pastor and Our needs YOU!”