Every week I speak with pastors who are trying to keep their local church moving forward in the face of intense opposition. Pastors are called on to feed and lead God’s flock both when things seem calm and also during times of spiritual conflict. In the words of Scripture, “in season, out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). This is a strange season in our world and suddenly so many things seem “out of season.”
Remember that as surely as you need a pastor, your pastor needs you. Christ, the Head of the church, designed it so that each member of the body contributes something to the health of the whole (1 Corinthians 12). You can minister to your minister! The last chapter of Hebrews makes several references to our relationship to those who are called on to lead in the church. Each of them gives practical instruction for how to help your pastor now…
TALK to your pastor. “Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints” (Hebrews 13:24). It is the most basic and obvious truth that we miss. You would be surprised how many church members rarely speak to their pastor! Too often, the only time a pastor hears from some people is when something is wrong. Make an effort to say hello, to share a blessing, to give an encouraging word to the preacher.
And when there is a concern you should definitely talk to him! So many church members slip away quietly from church families without ever making an attempt to speak to their pastor. There are several reasons you should talk to your pastor during difficult times:
- He doesn’t know what you are thinking. Do not expect the pastor to read your mind or know your heart! Have a conversation – at the right time, in the right spirit.
- You do not know what he is dealing with. There are often things that are not public knowledge that would change your perspective if you did know. Be willing to listen and seek to understand. You may never have the full picture.
- The devil does his best work in silence. The “accuser of our brethren” whispers in secret places. Christ taught that issues within the church should be dealt with person to person, as brothers (Matthew 18:15). Satan loves to use suggestion and assumption. His lies only die in the presence of the truth.
- Your pastor is going to give an account for the flock. “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 13:17).
- You will give an account for how you followed God-given leadership. We ALL end at the same place – the judgment seat of Christ. Each of us will answer for finding our place and doing our part. “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” (Hebrews 13:7).
PRAY for your pastor. Listen to the cry of one of God’s servants in Hebrews 13:8 and imagine it is the desire of every sincere pastor: “Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.” Intercessory prayer makes all the difference. This is a work that every member of the church can participate in. Hold your minister up before the Lord and you will help all of those to whom he ministers.
CARE for your pastor. “But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). Those who are engaged in spiritual work still have material needs. The pastor is a man and his family has needs like every family does. You cannot pay your pastor to do what he does – that would be impossible! And any man who would do that work for money is a hireling. Your support and care simply frees him to do what God has called him to do without distraction. If he is being used to communicate to your spiritual needs then you should communicate with his temporal ones (1 Corinthians 9:11). “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things” (Galatians 6:6).
Your pastor needs the communication, prayer, and care of faithful church members. Ask the Lord to help you meet that need, “in season, out of season.” When it is convenient and when it is not, God wants to use us all.