From the Desk of
The Good Shepherdess
Being a leader of a local church is one of the hardest and most complicated jobs in the world. It requires extraordinary leadership, a skillful hand at playing politics (every church has them), and a tender heart. No pastor can do it alone. They need help. YOUR HELP. Anything you can do to let them know that they are not alone, and can rely on you is helpful indeed.
SHOW UP FOR THE PREACHING OF GOD’S WORD
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; ( 1ST Peter 5:1-2 KJV)
Pastors are commanded to feed the flock. However, they are not commanded to make “home delivery” of the feed. Your pastor cannot feed you if you do not show up for the meal.
When you listen to the pastor’s message don’t critique it. Instead, ask yourself, “What is God saying to me?” “What did I learn?” “Who was I able to bless today?”
Then as soon as the church service is over tell a friend what you sense God is saying to you. Don’t get focused on the questions everybody asks, “Was the sermon good?” “Did you like the worship?” Don’t evaluate the pastor’s performance, evaluate your performance. What did I learn in church today? How did I do with worshiping the Lord?
Give thanks to God for your pastor and learn from him or her how you can become more like Jesus. Now and again drop a note of encouragement to bless your pastor.
PICK A MINISTRY (A JOB) AND BE FAITHFUL
Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him . . . (Deuteronomy 6:12-13 KJV)
Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. ( 1ST Samuel 12:24 KJV)
If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. (John 12:26 KJV)
Jesus taught that the primary attribute for His followers was faithfulness. Rare is the church member today who can always be counted on for serving faithfully.
- Volunteer—How many volunteers does it take to run a church? No one knows, because no church has ever had enough. As ridiculous as that sounds, it’s not too far from the truth. Without people volunteering, a church will fold faster than you can say “Psalm 118”. Looking for volunteers to meet the many, many needs of a growing church takes up heaps of time for many a pastor. Save them some time and call them asking what projects could use a helping hand.
TAKE AN ACTIVE PART IN MAKING THAT VISION A REALITY
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (James 1: 22-25 KJV)
For instance, if the emphasis of the pastor over this next season is to improve the discipleship effectiveness in the church, begin to think about tangible ways that you can support this vision. You might develop a discipleship goal for your artists that help to lead the way for the rest of the church. You cannot even imagine the support your pastor will begin to express your unity in this way. As an artist, I know this can seem overly “organizational” and bureaucratic, but believe me this is how teams in healthy churches work effectively.
OBEY THE LORD IN YOUR STEWARDSHIP
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (2nd Corinthians 9:6-7 KJV)
The church needs your offerings for the Lord’s work. More importantly, you need to be obedient to the Lord and give it. If every church member were obedient about giving, churches would be looking for more good ways to use the Lord’s money. Missionaries would go to the field in weeks instead of years.
YOU RESPECT YOUR PASTOR AND TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO RESPECT THEIR PASTOR
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:7, 17 KJV)
Honor, respect, and obey your pastor whomever he/she happens to be. He or she may not be your “ideal pastor.” He/she certainly will not be perfect, but God has placed him in the office of pastor and that office is worthy of respect and honor.
If we’re honest, we can often demand grace from them but extend little to them. With regular access to podcasts and social media, it’s tempting to compare our pastors unfavorably with those we admire from afar. We can subconsciously expect them to supersede the qualifications defined in Scripture (1st Tim. 3:1–7, Titus 1:5–9)—and judge them when they don’t.
Assuming our pastors are biblically qualified for their role, it’s likely most of us could grow in loving them. Here are four suggestions from Scripture for how we might do so.
Esteem and Encourage Your Pastor’s Labor (1st Thessalonians 5:12–13)
The preaching of sound doctrine should never, ever be taken for granted. Only through careful study and Spirit-filled diligence do the words we hear on Sunday accurately teach God’s Word. So when our souls are fed by the careful exposition and application of Scripture, we should encourage our pastors.
We also should encourage our pastors as they care for the flock. They carry broken marriages, rebellious teens, suffering saints, and much more on their hearts. They feel the weight of division among congregants, the sting of gossip among dissenters, and the eternal need of the unsaved. They counsel those in overwhelming circumstances: people enslaved by addiction, betrayed by infidelity, or healing from childhood abuse. Knowing their burden, encourage your pastors—help them run to Christ when they are heavy laden, that they may find rest for their souls (Matt. 11:28–30).
Be patient toward your pastor’s weaknesses (1st Corinthians 13:4)
All pastors have weaknesses—tendencies or personality quirks that can often irritate or cause hurt within a church. Some pastors might be forgetful and fail to follow up on conversations or sensitive situations, hurting feelings in the process. Some might be too slow to make decisions, discouraging the go-getters. Others might simply be disorganized, frustrating churchgoers with their administrative mistakes.
Sometimes these weaknesses should be addressed with proactive steps for the pastor to grow. But even if the forgetful pastor sets reminders on his phone, his deficiencies will be apparent. Even if the overly analytical pastor seeks to streamline decision-making processes, his natural inclinations will be there. We should bear with these weaknesses—just as we want others to bear with ours—hopeful that God will use them. As iron sharpens iron, flawed saints sharpen one another. Your pastor’s weaknesses, that most provoke, you might be the very tools God is using for your sanctification.
Forgive your pastor’s sin (Colossians 3:13)
No matter how godly, pastors will sin against their congregants. At times they might say harsh words or make unfair judgments. They may exhibit pride or act selfishly. When our pastors stumble, are we eager to point out their failings? Or do we live as brothers and sisters, eager to forgive and point them to the grace that covers sin?
Who are we to keep a record of wrongs when Jesus has erased the record against us? Who are we to withhold forgiveness when Jesus has lavished us with it? Who are we to withdraw in cords of bitterness when our Savior has sought us in love? To love our pastors means to kill resentment when we’re tempted to feed it, knowing that “love covers a multitude of sins” ( 1st Peter 4:8). It means to pursue them steadfastly when we’d rather retreat from them angrily; to call out their sin graciously rather than rebuke them vindictively.
Respect your pastor’s leadership (Hebrews 13:17)
In a culture that worships autonomy and rails against authority, the idea of “respecting your pastor” feels oppressive. But Scripture commands it, and it’s for our good. God calls pastors into leadership and holds them accountable to handle their authority with humility and godliness. He also calls churches to respect and submit to their leaders and holds us accountable to do so with joy (Hebrews 13:17). God has established pastors as a means of extending his provision and protection. It is because we trust the Good Shepherd that we respect the pastoral shepherds he places over us.
Respect does not mean we consider our leaders infallible (which is idolatry), or that we never confront sin (which is unloving), or that we withhold input in decision-making (which abdicates our roles as members). Church members can and should offer insight for building up pastors and churches. But these opinions must be brought to the right people (complaining to others is still gossip even if you’re “right”)—and must always be brought in meekness and love. We dishonor our King with spirits of contention. Love calls us to hold our perspectives humbly, not insisting on our own way ( 1st Corinthians 13:4—5 ).
When we commit ourselves to loving our pastors well, they will be strengthened, we will be sanctified, and the witness of the church will be spread—all for the glory of Christ.
ENVISION A GREAT FUTURE FOR YOUR CHURCH
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. (Proverbs 29:18)
Focus on the wonderful opportunity you have to see people saved, baptized, growing in the Lord, and serving in the church. Get excited about the events, outreach efforts, and special meetings of the church.
Invite people to church.
A church needs to grow. To do that, it needs to constantly be getting new people in the crowd. That not only energizes the body, but it also gives the church more options for ministry as a whole. But it also does something else – shows your pastor that you are listening. Even though every pastor and church has different points of emphasis – I am definitely sure it would please just about any pastor to see that you brought your work buddy to the Christmas service. The Great Commission wasn’t only given to licensed ministers, after all – we’re accountable for it as well.
Share your church posts on social media.
Times, they are a changing. Whereas before you could simply share information via word of mouth, now having a strong social media presence is quite important for a church to grow. If your church shares announcements or special events, or even your pastor’s sermons online, share those things to expose more people to your small community. It only requires a click from you, and reaps massive dividends for you pastor and church.
SHARE CHRIST AND YOUR CHURCH WITH OTHERS
And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. (Luke 14:23)
Andrew brought Peter to Jesus. This is the first step in becoming a soul-winner. Bringing people to church with you is the “entry level” of soul-winning. Anyone and everyone can do it.
KEEP A POSITIVE SPIRIT
Determine to focus on the good things in life and the good things about your church. Anybody can criticize. Critics are a dime a dozen.
Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God: (Psalm 146:5KJV)
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. ( 1st John 5:4 KJV)
ENCOURAGE YOUR PASTOR BY SHARING HIS/HER VISION FOR YOUR CHURCH