We know that believers must live by faith, as “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6). I’m not sure, though, that pastors strive hard enough to let faith guide them in their ministries. Here are some reasons pastors must have faith:
- They must see what others cannot see. For example, others may not see the church ever growing again – but pastors must see that possibility if anyone else will. They must trust that God wants to grow His church.
- They must believe God can change hearts—especially those that seem the most hardened. If pastors don’t believe in that possibility, they’ll find it hard to work with many church leaders.
- They must sometimes accept surprising calls to churches. I’ve seen God call pastors to churches that everyone else says to avoid. Everyone, that is, except God – and He blesses the ministry of a trusting pastor.
- They must sometimes lead people to God even when they’re struggling personally. Their hearts may be breaking, but still they must preach the Word and lead the church to worship. They can do that only by faith that says, “God is in control.”
- They must lead churches to adopt budgets that require faith. I realize that the line between faith and foolishness is sometimes quite blurred, but budgets usually require faith that the church will increase their giving to meet the church’s needs. The pastor who doesn’t have this faith won’t encourage a budget that stretches God’s people.
- They must believe the promises of the Word even when others don’t. The lost people they’re trying to reach probably don’t believe in the authority of the Word at all. Even some church regulars, though, aren’t convinced of the truthfulness of the Scriptures—and the pastor must minister to all these folks.
- They must trust God when some churches are just mean. Some church people are just that way (see this post from last week), and they can make ministry a miserable endeavor. Pastors who have faith in God, though, endure in hope.
- They must believe in and talk about eternity. If they don’t genuinely believe in heaven and hell, their ministry will move in wrong directions. They won’t call people to repentance, nor will they have any hope to offer to the dying. A “faith” that is only present-tense is not biblical faith.
Faith, we learn, comes from hearing the Word (Rom. 10:17). Pastors, do you spend time reading the good news and allowing it to change your heart?