I recently read that in this Laodicean church age, over 1500 Pastors leave the ministry every month. We have to ask our self what is the root cause of this malady?
What is the common denominator in each case? How may we help to prevent our Pastor from this discouragement? What can we do to give our Pastor continual support over the weeks, months and years of his ministry to our church?
Some Pastors leave the ministry because they are not called by God; others get discouraged by the carnality in the church - the constant bickering among the staff and members, and a lack of appreciation and support for their ministry.
The calling as a Pastor requires that the man walk along a tight wire stretched between two or more posts firmly stuck in the ground. These posts are fiercely guarded by different factions in the individual church, who all believe that their way is the best way.
The patient Pastor will listen to all sides of a disagreement and attempt to bring a consensus among the leadership and the members. The treacherous moment comes along when the opposing sides within the church are adamant that they are the only ones hearing from God and they want their own way.
Often these factions, which cannot agree with one another, all want the Pastor to pick sides and to help them to fulfill their own diverse vision for the church. Disgruntled people are quick to blame, but slow to be a part of the solution.
Many members will not tithe or serve; and this limits the church's ability to win the lost and to fund missionaries and ministries that disciple new Believers. Yet, some who do tithe, try to control the church's agenda.
Some people are very critical of the Pastor, maintaining impossible expectations of what they want him to accomplish. They forget that he is just one man, one part of the whole Body of which they too are a part.
He is a human being with feelings and concerns, ideals and commitments, integrity and love for all those God puts in his watch care. It is up to us, the congregation, to aid and to support him in his ministry.
The Godly Pastor is one who seeks the Lord as a deer that pants after the water brook. He spends hours in prayer, Bible research for his sermons, counseling and mentoring members and their families, administrative meetings, area Pastor meetings, leading the lost to Christ, births, weddings, funerals, hospital and nursing home visits, building and grounds upkeep, community out-reach, and in-reach to members - especially to the shut-ins and church prospects, etc.
If he is wise, the Pastor will continue his education, maintain close family relationships, and develop hobbies and interests that distract his mind from the turmoil constantly popping up in the church membership. These distractions allow him to dispel any stress inherent in his ministry.
The spiritual Pastor leads people to Christ, disciples new Believers, mentors spiritual men, makes friends in city government to lead them to Christ, and goes the extra mile to maintain unity in the church.
Yet, the congregation often makes it impossible for these Saintly men to survive the continual onslaught from every direction at once, and so many Pastors get discouraged. Let's make it our goal to encourage our Pastor today and every day all year long.
Father God, I lift up Your servants who are on the verge of being demolished by the sharp tongues, the constant criticism, the impossible expectations, and the lack of giving and serving members in the congregations to which You assigned them to lead (1 Timothy 1:18-19; 2 Timothy 1:5-8, 2:1-3). You know their heart and You see Satan's attempts to rid the world of Your Bible preaching servants either by ill health, persecution or burn-out.
Some are quick to criticize Your servants, but You encourage us to submit to those who care for our soul (Romans 13:17). Give us a servant's heart willing to help those who shepherd us. We pray that You will send men who will lift up the arms of their Pastor, just as Aaron and Hur supported Moses - to help him keep his victory rod raised while the spiritual battle rages all around us.
Thought for the Day:
A reciprocal relationship of leadership and congregation, serving side by side as one Body, will accomplish much on this earth for God's Kingdom.