“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith…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…Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.” (Hebrews 13:7, 17-18, ESV)
He is far from perfect, and he would be the first to let you know. He doesn’t always preach the messages you want to hear or make the decisions you’d like him to make. You don’t always agree with his theology, and it’s possible he made you mad Sunday, but it wasn’t intentional. He is your pastor, and he loves you more than you could ever know. Contrary to popular thinking, he has his share of troubles, but he doesn’t want you to know that. He feels the need to be strong for you, and you can’t fault him for that. He struggles just like you, and he needs your support and prayers (probably more than you’ll ever need his).
How can we support our pastor?
- Put yourself in his shoes
The word translated “remember” in Hebrews 13:7 means to bring to remembrance, but it can also mean to feel for a person. When is the last time you felt for your pastor. You put yourself in his shoes and asked, “What must it be like to be a ‘mouthpiece’ for God? What must it be like to have so many people under your leadership and know that you will give account for every soul? What must it be like to have to make big decisions knowing that not everyone is going to agree with those decisions, and knowing those who don’t will let you know? What must it be like to know that God is going to hold you accountable for every word you say when you are teaching his word?”
These questions do not even begin to scratch the surface of the daily duties your pastor will face. He faces struggles you can’t even imagine. He loves people you’d write off immediately. He faces horrors and fights battles that you’d avoid at all cost. He battles temptations you wouldn’t understand. Don’t be so critical; you’ve never walked in his shoes.
- Submit to his authority
This is pretty self-explanatory. If he is preaching the Bible, you are submitting to God when you submit to your pastor. You may not like everything he says or the way it is delivered, but if it is true, it is your obligation to submit to his authority, because you are submitting to God in the process.
- Pray for him
How often do you pray for your pastor? He needs your prayers every day. He needs you to lift him and his wife up in your petitions to God. It is very possible he is going through something you know nothing about, but God knows what it is, and he can take care of it.
The writer of Hebrews begs his readers to pray for him -to pray that he can have a clear conscience and live an honorable life.
How can you pray for your pastor?
- Pray that God gives him strength to face temptation.
- Pray that God gives him wisdom and clarity in his decisions as a leader.
- Pray that God gives him profound understanding of the scripture and the ability to properly convey those truths to his congregation.
- Pray God puts wise friends in his life who can help him maintain an honorable walk with God.
- Pray that he loves his wife and children and shows them the love of Christ.
- Pray that God eases the pressures of ministry through friends, deacons, and church members who are willing to help him bear those burdens through helping hands, listening ears, and caring hearts.
- Pray that he seeks God in all he does.
Putting it into practice
This is God’s support plan for your pastor according to the Bible. There are a lot more things we could say, but this seems to be a good starting point. Call your pastor (but don’t spend a lot of time on the phone make it 1-2 minutes max), send him a text, email, or card letting him know how much you appreciate him and specifically how you are praying for him. Do something for him -give him a gift card to a restaurant so he can take his wife out to eat. Offer to take him to lunch so he can “unload” on you. Get to church early or stay late so you can pray with him and not just for him.
Your pastor needs you, maybe now more than ever. He’s always been there for you; perhaps it’s time you let him know you’re here for him.