From The Preacher’s Pen – Do You Take Time to Pastor Your Pastor?
By Rev. Ralph T. Newell
During Hurricanes Harvey and Irma several pastors were criticized for not coming to the forefront and offering assistance as quickly as some people thought they should. This was broadcast on the media and twitter, etc. There are times when pastors need a pastor rather than criticism. October is designated as Pastor’s Appreciation Month. This would be a great time to begin to learn how to pastor your pastor.
Have you ever thought about who pastors your pastor? This could be your mission in life. Ask God to help you and equip you for this task. There are millions of members that pastors minister to day by day and week by week. Pastors preach and teach to feed your spirit. They baptize your children, bury your dead; they visit you and your family members when you are sick. Pastors counsel with you and visit your sons and daughters when they are in jail. Pastors are there to bring comfort when you are hurting; they nurture you when your marriage is rocky. They are there when husbands and wives leave you and children are left broken, etc; but, who is there to pastor the pastor?
Pastors hurt just like you hurt. Is it possible that you do not see your pastor as human, flesh and blood just as you are? Do you think that the pastor lives in heaven and is let down to earth on a fancy spiritual rope to take care or your and the world’s needs? These are thoughts to ponder, so I have some insights to share with you.
Let me begin with scriptural references: Jesus told his disciples; “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:12-14 NIV). Was this directive from Jesus just for the disciples? I think not! The Apostle Paul, as a pastor, needed help and he refers to Christians who ministered to him. “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great to many people, including me. Greet Priscilla and Aquila my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them” (Romans 16:1-4 NIV).
Please take time to read Romans 12 for insights on ministering to each other and to your pastor as well. “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you” ( vs.3). “So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (vs. 5). When it comes to your gifts, “if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is encouraging, then encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, do it generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy let him do it cheerfully” (vss. 7-8). “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (vs. 10 NIV). Your pastor needs you, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1st Timothy 5:17 NIV).
Pastors and members, pastoring the pastor is a two- way street. The pastor has to have a spirit that will receive ministering from a parishioner. Pastors have to be humble enough to permit that relationship and trust from a member or members; to pastor the pastor does not have to be an ongoing relationship like the pastor has with the membership. Members you receive and receive but what do you give back? Do you ask your pastor, what can I do to help you in ministry and in your personal life? Why not ask the pastor if you can pray with him/her for the ministry and their family? Then pray with them out of love for God and them.
Members here are seven steps you may consider as you minister to your pastor. 1. Intercede in private prayer. 2. Make genuine contact with your pastor not to ask for anything but to offer yourself as a servant to him/her. 3. Ask your pastor what you can pray for with him/her? 4. Learn the power of confidentiality, what you share is between you, them, and God. 5. Seek direction from God on how to minister to your pastor. 6. Periodically call to check in and encourage your pastor. 7. Remember to personally pray with your pastor from time to time. One final word, sometimes just call your pastor and let him/her know that a certain part of the sermon was just what you needed to help you get through the week and then quote that part to him/her. Oh yes, a card expressing thanks to both the pastor and spouse is so very important in ministering to your God- given leaders. May God’s Power, Presence, Protection, Provision and Peace be Yours!