Ways to Serve your Pastor. A pastor is one of the five ministries given by God to His Church (Ephesians 4:11-12). Being a pastor is a gift, and a pastor knows very well that he has been called to bless the congregation (1 Corinthians 12:28). The term pastor means “one who leads and cares for a flock”.
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Pastoral ministry is full of challenges. Every pastor must watch over his own heart and the hearts of all those whom the Lord has placed under his care: his wife, his children, the church…
The work of the pastor can be really complex and very demanding: a pastor must cover several meetings, counseling, events, retreats, dealing with marital conflicts, financial problems, burials, sermons, weddings… He must always search daily for the Word of God and also keep updated on what is happening in his church and the rest of the world.
He must always act as a sentry and protect the flock when wolves disguised as sheep prowl around. He must deal with the goats that usually lead the lambs to the cliff. All these factors wear the shepherd down daily.
His strength is exhausted. His time for prayer is diminished. His effort in the Bible study weakens and with the passing of time, his love and fire to serve God is extinguished and the charge ends up becoming a heavy burden that does nothing but tire the pastor and affect him emotionally, physically and even affect his whole family and the congregation.
Many pastors drag themselves through the years serving by force and enduring a dry ministry for months… Others end up throwing everything away and withdrawing from the path while still others end up delegating their functions to others and still others, being unscrupulous, open the door to all kinds of heresies and false doctrines that end up destroying their family and the congregation.
Until all these things happen, the faithful ask themselves: What happened? Why did all this happen? When the real question should be, what could I have done or have done for the pastor and the church?
Ways to Serve your Pastor / Why
In God’s design for His children and His beloved Church, we do not wander aimlessly from place to place. We are sheep that need direction, we need leadership. And God, knowing beforehand what we need, has given us ministries within the Church, one of which is pastoral, to care for us, protect us, and because He loves us and wants to give us the end we expect (Jeremiah 29:11).
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”
Although in ministry the ideal is pastoral plurality, unfortunately, in many churches, many servants of the Lord are alone in their work. Today, many want to belong to a church, but never be part of the team that does the pastoral function. Today more than ever, we must remember God’s call to “encourage one another and build each other up, just as you do” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
Remember that the shepherd is an authority established by God and is not to instill fear of the good, but to do justice and lead the sheep in righteousness according to the Word of God (Romans 13:1-4).
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”
Although we know that our Father, head and eternal shepherd is Jesus Christ, God’s design also includes temporary shepherds while we are here on earth. Being in authority, it is our obligation to obey them, for they have been entrusted with the care of our souls (Hebrews 13:17) and are accountable for our education and instruction in the right way.
How to serve your pastor?
Many of us have known the blessings of being cared for by shepherds who look after us and instruct us with meekness, love and discipline, without expecting anything in return, knowing that their reward comes from God. We love to be cared for, but few dare to ask how can I support my pastor?
It is disturbing to know that there are many pastors who are drowning in overload and with no one to help them. Worse still, it is unfortunate when a preacher abandons his pulpit and the flock and the church fails and disintegrates. Therefore, today I present to you some points of view where we can begin to serve our pastors.
1) Pray for him and his family.
The devil is the first one who is very interested in bringing down those who are in places of leadership. He knows that, if he knocks them down, he can bring down many others who had their eyes on them. All pastors receive opposition from the world, but also from people in the church. First of all, ask yourself honestly, am I just another opponent of my pastor?
Paul himself pointed this out when he said: “Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run and be glorified, just as it was among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men; for not all have faith“ (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2).
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith
Another of the Ways to Serve your Pastor is to Pray for your pastor. But pray with truth and tenacity. Pray for everything that God has given you: your family, your children, your prayer life… Pray that the Lord will strengthen you and keep you burning. Pray that neither doubt nor discouragement will cause him to fall into temptation and abandon the gift God has given him (1 Timothy 4:14). Finally, pray to God to keep him from all evil.
“Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.”
2) Obey your pastor’s leadership.
It is not easy to obey; no one likes to submit to the orders of another. Worse yet, when we do not understand or agree why we are asked to do so. The Word of God emphasizes in Hebrews 13:17 the obedience to the shepherds. If we keep rebellion, insubordination and continually question the orders and leadership of our pastors, then we become a stumbling block and a rock of fall for the pastor and the congregation itself.
It is necessary to learn to trust, believe in the leadership of the pastors and obey them as the authorities they are. It is our responsibility to serve them with enthusiasm and professionalism regardless of the area in which we find ourselves. Don’t forget that obedience is a blessing for those who practice it and that God is more pleased with obedience than with sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22).
“But Samuel replied:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
3) Be part of the work team.
Obedience is the first step to service. Show that you want to be a part of Christian service by obeying and practicing God’s Word in your life. This will bless your life and bring much encouragement to your pastor. Take on tasks, fully participate in a service and faithfully attend the guidance of your pastor and not just give the tithe or attend the Sunday simple listening.
I am not saying that this will encourage laziness in the pastor and take over all the work. In other cases, the opposite occurs: the pastor refuses to receive help for various reasons: pride, he does not want to share his work with others, he feels indispensable to God and believes that only he can do it. Help him to escape the “little messiah” syndrome by reminding him that he is human, his strength is limited and that God does not depend on him to carry out his plans.
Look for opportunities to use your God-given gifts, abilities and talents, always to give God the glory in the work of Christ and not for pride or vainglory and to hold a position for interest. Take on the challenge and responsibility to support the different ministries of the Church.
4) Treat him with respect and honor.
Many times we confuse the pastor with an employee or someone who is there to meet some of our needs, and not as a spiritual leader. It is true that the shepherd plays a role of service to God by serving us and shepherding the sheep in his hand. But he is also a man of God who is in authority. Therefore, he needs our love and respect.
Scripture commands that we respect our pastors, but at the same time treat them with love. As it says, “We beseech you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, and to esteem them exceedingly in love for their work’s sake“ (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
Respect is not just greeting and reverencing him every Sunday. It means keeping obedience and submission when he instructs us, avoiding murmuring against him, helping him in everything he needs, and also carrying him in prayer at all times and in all places.
5) Remind him of the fruits and beauty of pastoral ministry.
In pastoral ministry, one deals daily with obstacles and difficulties of all kinds. A pastor who is overworked or not, may forget his mission and vision and think that this position only brings problems. Don’t forget that spiritual fruit is invisible and, therefore, can only be perceived through the Spirit.
In those moments of doubt, fear and discouragement, remind the pastor that God has called him to a most beautiful work: to announce the counsel of God, to reach the lost with the Good News and to build up those who are already saved through the Word of God.
Remind the pastor that his efforts have eternal implications. That his life and work are being used by God to continue building his Church. And not only that. Share with your pastor what God is doing in your life through his ministry. Your fruit is a sign that God is using your pastors as instruments for your edification: “Whoever is taught in the word, let him who instructs him share in every good thing” (Galatians 6:6).
6) Understand him as a person and not as a messiah.
Do not expect the pastor to be perfect or to keep the Word of God blameless. He is not Superman, or some other superhero. He is a human, flesh and blood. Like you, he is subject to the same temptations and threats as anyone else. Like anyone else, he makes mistakes and must find a way to avoid making that same mistake again.
Perhaps he is tired, or his doctrine is being watered down… Or there is a quarrelsome brother in the congregation who disputes with him to shame him, or he is sowing tares among the faithful. Many times it happens that the pastor faces these difficulties alone and few dare to speak to him in truth, out of fear, pride or the desire to see him fall.
The pastor also has his wife, and children, who also face the same problems and temptations that are inherent in any marriage in this world. Do not expect him, his wife, and children to be perfect or to resemble an idealized leader or pastor in your personal understanding of the Bible. Just love them, as Christ loved you as a sinner and gave Himself for your sake. Let them find their place in the ministry God has entrusted to them.
7) Be sensitive and open to the Word of God.
Many today do not pay much attention to the preaching and instructions of the pastor. Too often we question and contradict the ordinances of God’s Word and there are even those who disown the pastor by clinging to pretexts that have no biblical validity.
You don’t have to respond to everything your pastor says. It shows that you are listening carefully to God’s Word. Meditate on what your pastor says and respond every time your pastor asks about it. Remember that a pastor senses when no one is listening. A brief response will let the pastor know how you are doing, if you are paying attention, how he can pray for you, and how he can best help you. Don’t forget that he must give an account to God for your instruction and teaching.
8) Don’t expect the pastor to do everything.
Many times the pastor has to face all the obstacles and challenges of the church. Since one person cannot face so many tasks, he has the challenge of delegating certain missions or functions to other brothers and sisters: deacons, youth leaders, teachers, ministry leaders, among others…
Remember that by dividing the work, the time for completion and/or delivery is shortened and the task is completed more efficiently. It is necessary to remember the principle that Jethro gave to Moses so that the shepherd would not be exhausted: “What is this that you do with the people? why do you sit alone, and all the people stand before you from morning till evening? … Then he said to him, “What you are doing is not right. You will fail altogether, you, and also this people who are with you; for the work is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone“ (Exodus 18:13-18). All matters cannot come to the pastor, especially in a large church.
Take the initiative and start supporting your pastor, serving within the congregation. Your actions, no matter how small, will always be received and thanked by God when you do them to give glory to Him. Start today and leave procrastination for later.
9) Support him in his difficult moments.
By this I do not mean that we should keep the shepherd at all times, prevent him from working or encourage him to be lazy, for the Scripture itself says: “Do you not know that those who work in the holy things eat from the temple, and those who serve the altar, from the altar? In the same way, the Lord commands those who proclaim the gospel to live by the gospel“ (1 Corinthians 9:13-14).
There are shepherds who, sadly, oppress the flock to live with opulence and others who, for various reasons, prefer to earn their living because the church pretends that they live off the crumbs that fall from the table. About this, the Word says: “For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: as though we wrought night and day, that we might not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:9). Others, on the other hand, cannot be supported by the local church and therefore seek their sustenance in other ways. But the Word of God states that “The laborer is worthy of his hire” (1 Timothy 5:18).
If the pastor cannot meet the financial needs of his family, he will seek other means of support, leading to unmeasured distractions and difficulties in maintaining his pastoral service. As brothers and sisters, we are responsible to support the pastor according to his needs and the capacity of the church. Do not fall into the excesses mentioned above, because this is vanity.
We can support you independently if you need it, although in no way should this help be a burdensome burden to the faithful, but only a temporary gift while the pastor and his family stabilize to continue in the ministry. If you are going to do this, do it from the heart and not out of a desire to profit or to demonstrate opulence and power to others. Remember that “if the will is first willing, it will be accepted according to what one has, not according to what one does not have“ (2 Corinthians 8:12)
10) Be your friend, rather than your servant.
Many times we speak to the pastor as a faithful congregation member, but the one who can be considered a “friend” is counted. The loneliness of the pastor to face the church tasks can become very deep if he is only dedicated to solve problems. One is easily discouraged from leading a solitary life. It becomes necessary to change the record and talk about other things than just problems, to take courage to talk as if you were a trusted friend. It is not easy.
It’s hard to be friends with someone who barely has time for family and children. You can start by asking them how they are doing or how they are feeling that day. Don’t assume a negative answer beforehand. Take the initiative and express your friendship, even if it is not reciprocated. Remember that you are first and foremost your God-given mentor, teacher, and instructor.
Don’t do it out of hypocrisy or interest in something. Be someone sincere and true to your pastor. A friend who is with him at all times, no matter what the circumstances, who does not forget about him when new friendships or good situations arise. One who cares for you, helps you, esteems you, forgives you, lifts you up and encourages you to keep going when you fall. Be a true friend to your pastor, even if you are not reciprocated as such. Remember that “Whatever you do, do it from your heart, as to the Lord and not to men“ (Colossians 3:23).
Our pastors live in a world of gray areas, due to the great tasks they perform in this position, which can become overwhelming if they do not know how to handle them carefully, and do not have the support of their faithful. The greatest motivation to serve and love our pastors should be Jesus Christ, our great example and also the eternal shepherd of our lives.
“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling aroma“ (Ephesians 5:2). As Christ offered Himself for the love of the sinner, so we must support and serve our leaders, mentors, pastors, deacons and teachers. Not with hypocrisy, or expecting to obtain some benefit from it, but with love, disinterest and meekness, not forgetting that they are our authorities in charge of watching over our welfare and to whom God has put and to whom He calls to account for our instruction.