I am writing today for a second time because I have had something on my heart for a while and really just need to work it out and put it into words.
As you might already know from my prior posts, I was once a youth pastor. I learned several lessons as a youth pastor, but stepping down from that position I walked away remembering one thing. A pastor cannot be a pastor by himself.
I say that for several reasons.
1. A pastor must rely on God as his source of strength. Times will get tough, it will be stressful, and it will seem as though you're not making a difference. Those are the times when you have to draw on God. Without looking to Him and trying to figure it out on your own, nothing will ever get better. (I'll admit I did this a lot: tried to do it on my own)
2. A pastor must have the support of his family. I did and it was the only way I lasted as long as I did. As soon as I saw my family start to suffer, I began to suffer. When I lost focus that one of my most important ministries is my family, I lost focus on what God really wanted for my life.
3. A pastor needs someone or a group of people that challenge him spiritually. I think this was the one thing that I suffered from the most. Maybe I am unlike other pastors, but I know I don't have all the answers. I know that I can read the Bible and the Holy Spirit can speak to me. However, I know that I, in my own humanness, am very limited in my perception.
I firmly believe God puts people into our lives who He wants us to be in relationship with so that they can teach us along the way...even if they don't have that seminary degree. God speaks through people. He speaks to me through my wife all the time. It is hard to grow when you don't have someone disciplining you. Jesus was perfect, the the Rabbi we are to learn from, and He has called us to disciple the nations. That means there should be someone who is teaching us as well as someone who is following us. If you are not growing and helping someone else grow, I encourage you to look at your life and if you are really in line with where God is calling you to be.
4. A pastor needs people to support him. Yes, by the church a pastor is typically supported financially, but have you ever taken a step back and looked at how much your pastor is doing? Even if a pastor loves every minute of it, a key role for a pastor is to teach through relationships. How can you expect him to develop and maintain REAL relationships when he is expected to do so much?
I love "programs" just as much as the next guy, but I wonder if some of our issues as a church is that we have spent so much time developing those and developing the way we thinking a church "should" be that we missed the picture when it comes to relationship aspect. I want to go on and on here, but read my post from earlier today to get a better perspective as to what I am saying.
We have to give them time to develop those key relationships. We have to give them the time to develop those disciples. That is how the church grows. That is how people grow.
Alright, enough said about the points. Really I just want to say that we need to take the time and realize how much our pastors need us and to not take them for granted. Take a moment today and think about your relationship with your pastor. Are you looking for ways to help him or her develop those much needed disciples or are you just passively sitting by why he or she does all the work?
I just want to mention here that there are many reasons why people don't get involved in ministries at a church or with the church they attend. Maybe you have a ministry outside the church, maybe God is preparing you for something, etc. I don't know and I don't know your heart.
I know pastor appreciation month is later in the year, but I think we should be letting our pastors know how much they mean to us on at least a monthly basis.
Thank you pastors who have taken the time to get to know me and helped me become who I am today. You know who you are. (I say that because there are several of you) I appreciate who you are and all the time you have put in to your ministries. You will never know the impact God has been able to do make through you.