This past week, I’ve spent some time with several seminarians and rookie/young pastors as we’ve been traveling together overseas. I always try to listen to their fears and concerns about ministry, not only to learn about them but also to help churches love them well.
Frankly, they fear much about ministry because of what they’ve heard from others already in ministry. With those fears in mind, I offer these ways to love your pastor better this year—regardless of how long he’s been in ministry.
- Pray more for him. I suspect that more people talk about praying for pastors than actually pray for them. That alarms me since pastors are on the front lines of spiritual warfare.
- Be patient with him. Frankly, many pastors are afraid of failing. No pastor is perfect now, though, nor will he ever be. Many of us are still in ministry because our first churches put up with our weak leadership and suspect preaching.
- Desire personally to grow in Christ. This young generation wants to grow in Christ, and they want others to do the same. They’re not sure what to do with long-term church members and leaders who apparently think they’ve arrived in their spiritual walk.
- Let his wife be who she’s created to be. Every spouse is different and unique. Some will be more public than others, and some will be great “behind the scenes” influencers. Let your pastor’s wife be who she is in her walk with God.
- Defend him when necessary. Verbalized frustration about a pastor grows in a church primarily because people listen to the complaints of others. Don’t be an ear to conflict—firmly and lovingly support your pastor.
- Get involved in the church’s work. If you want to follow your pastor’s leadership and love him better, simply get involved (or more involved) in the church’s ministry. Few other gifts will please him as much.
- Grant him opportunities for more study. I’m surprised and pleased by young pastors who recognize going into ministry that they don’t know it all. Many pastors want more training, but they don’t know how they’ll manage the time and financial commitments. Help your pastor meet this goal.
- Help him balance family and church responsibilities. Many of us have seen too many Christian homes fail because of imbalance in these areas, and most pastors have few role models to help them address these issues. Be sensitive to this struggle for your pastor – he doesn’t want to let down his family or his church.
- Pay him fairly. Few pastors want dollars to influence their ministry decisions, but they do want to take care of their family. As much as possible, don’t add financial worries to your pastor’s burdens.
- Pray even more for him. That is, pray for him before he preaches . . . and before he leads meetings . . . and before he conducts weddings and funerals . . . and before you choose to complain about him. Love your pastor better this year with more time on your knees on his behalf.
What other ways would you add to this list?