We often talk about Stewardship of the resources God has given as one of the primary responsibilities we have as individuals and congregations. But, we don’t often think of Stewardship in relation to taking care of one of the most valuable resources that God has given the church: Our Pastors.
Pastors have been uniquely called to “equip the saints” within our congregations to do ministry. When a pastor accepts God’s calling on their life, God gives them a vision of what He wants to do through them. When they accept that calling, they do so with the understanding that God will use them for his purposes and they expect that those in the congregation they serve will walk with them, together, to fulfill God’s purposes.
Unfortunately, when these called individuals arrive at as a servant to our congregations, they don’t find the ideal atmosphere:
- Church structures that are rigid and out of date
- Church lay leaders who care more about their own agenda than where God might be leading
- Congregational expectations that often have more to do with “taking care of us” rather than “taking the message of Jesus to the world”
- Expectations that our pastors … and their families … model the perfect Christian life
- Demands on their time that far exceed their “allotted hours” , 24 Hrs/Day, 7 Days/Week.
- On-going stuggles balancing the priority of family .vs the priorities of the church
- Difficulty in finding lay people to help with ministry tasks
- Few if any real “friends” that can be confided in and to have honest and transparent conversations
- Difficulty in finding time to accomplish all of the things that must be done to make the congregation happy … often at the expense of the most important thing of all: Time alone in Study and Prayer with God.
I am not saying that everything thing in the above list is present in every church. But, if you see your congregation in any of these descriptions … you have more wisdom than most.
The simple fact is that our Pastors are human. They exhibit the same frailties and flaws that we all have. They need the same kind of encouragement and comradery that we all need. These shepherds of our congregations, the ones who are responsible to the most high God to equip God’s People to do the ministry, become discouraged, beaten down and burned out. The vision that God gave them when they accepted the call to ministry becomes dim and seems impossible to reach.
In future “Weekly Words”, we will discuss some ways to honor our pastors in ways that will help them be even more effective in ministry than they are today! If you can’t wait and want to get started right now, contact the SCC office and we will be glad to help.
Let’s make the stewardship of our pastoral resources a priority within our congregations.
Moderator – South Central Conference