The last 14 months have been tough. This is the first time any pastor in the whole world has led through a global pandemic. They have not led a church through a world that is filled with so much angst, anger, and division. The frustrating thing is this. None of this is going away. COVID-19 is not going to suddenly disappear. I dislike the term “new normal” because there is nothing normal about this.
With this in mind, I have chosen to start updating my website again. My prayer is that pastors come across this and find encouragement and church members read these thoughts and are challenged.
Church member – your pastor is struggling and at the point of burnout. All they want is to see you grow closer to Jesus Christ and have complete hope in HIM through these uncertain times. There are things that you just do not see in the life of your pastor:
- Sleepless nights.
- Private tears.
- Constantly searching the scriptures to share hope.
- Agonizing prayer times.
- Struggle for facts.
- Broken hearts.
- Fighting depression.
These are just a few of the unseen struggles each pastor has faced and is facing in the world today. The frustrating truth is that there is no ease in the foreseeable future of any of these struggles. The sad aspect of this whole deal is that the pastor does not journey this alone, his family sees and share their struggle and they see and share the hurt. With this said, this is what your pastor (and their family) needs more than anything:
- Your obedience.
- Encouraging words.
- A friend (with zero strings attached).
- Your service.
- A positive attitude.
There is always a flip side to all this and here it is. These are the things your pastor DOES NOT NEED:
- Destructive criticism.
- Slanderous gossip about them, their family, or the church.
- Constant complaining.
- Negative attitudes.
I serve a Reformed Church and we have great creeds and confessions. One of the confessions is the Belgic Confession and in Article 31, this is what it says regarding the churches relationship with their Pastors and elders:
to keep God’s holy order
from being violated or despised,
we say that everyone ought,
as much as possible,
to hold the ministers of the Word and elders of the church
in special esteem,
because of the work they do,
and be at peace with them,
without grumbling, quarreling, or fighting.
Not only does this extra biblical writing say this, the bible says the same thing:
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Hebrews 13: 17
These are challenging times but the Lord is still on the throne. We can be salt and light by being intentional with grace and love toward our leaders. My prayer is that the Bride of Christ shines brighter in the present darkness. But this will take all of us.