Sermon: "How To Care For Your New Pastor" . Sermon Text: I Thessalonians 5:12-22 . The New Testament lesson today is taken from the Book of 1st Thessalonians, Chapter 5, Verses 12-22. In Paul's letter to the Thessalonians, it seems that the apostle was trying as usual to give guidance to a sticky situation. Apparently one or some of those in leadership had become heavy handed or there was some kind of conflict or tension, at least in the opinion of some of the flock, things just weren't the way they ought to be. And so therefore, Paul was trying to remind the congregation of his day about the importance of pastoral leadership and spiritual leadership and authority, but he also reminds the leaders to be patient in their responsibilities and the exercise of their authority in relationships. So listen to the end or toward the end of 1st Thessalonians, Chapter 5, starting with Verse 12. "Now we ask you brothers to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard and love because of their work. Live in peach with each other. And we urge you brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire. Do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good; avoid every kind of evil." . These are not an exposition of the text as it were. These are reflections from experience. And so I would like to share with you ten brief points on how to care for your next pastor, or for your new pastor. #1. Let your new pastor dream his/her own dreams. And let me just say grammatically I have his or her there, but I took out her on all the other ones just for expediency sake. But expect that your pastor will have a vision for the future. And don't necessarily tie it to any vision that has been spoken in the past. It may be something completely new. Pray that God would make that vision clear, not just to the pastor but to all the leaders and that when it is made clear that there would be an effort for all to marshal the forces and move toward that vision. In this text Paul says, "Do not quench the spirit". I think it would be safe to say, it would be a quenching of the spirit if folks did not cooperate and support the vision that God had clearly given the leadership of the church. #2. Let your pastor be himself. Expect differences from anyone and everyone who has ever been in this position before. If the person is unusually funny, great. That's good. If they are unusually serious, that's okay too. Just let them be themselves. â€˘ Appreciate their uniqueness as a person, because in the 21st century, the pastoral role is very challenging. The pastor, many times, experiences a tension in their role, on one hand he is supposed to be the spiritual leader of the flock, and on another hand he is reimbursed or paid or hired, supported by the people of the church. So sometimes folks can think he is an employee, instead of a spiritual leader. And when that happens, that's the recipe for problems. So let him be himself and let him lead in ways that will keep everyone focused on Christ.
#3. Commit to stand with him through hard times. You know hard times and difficult times eventually come, conflict is inevitable in most places, because we are human beings. Things just seem to be so good and focused and that's not always the case, but sometimes that can happen. And so, if anybody is permanent more than passed that stage, disillusionment starts to show up. And it's then that you have to stick with the covenant of supporting one another. See your new pastor can't come in and say all this and so I am saying this. Be committed to that person for the long haul; we know that in a good marriage there is a reciprocity. Like for me, I can't just say as a husband, "Okay I just really want you to be a good wife and it's all up to you to be a good wife." You see being a good husband leads to having a good wife. Being a good wife leads to having a good husband. You see we can call one another into a being and into fullness or wholeness, or we can call one another to wither because of how we behave toward one another. A Redeemed farmer was talking to his neighbor and he was talking about how a pastor had just come and how he wasn't quite sure about the person and that gave the neighbor a chance to start complaining about his pastor. And the first person the farmer said, "Well you know we are not quite sure about this young man, but we have been praying and if he is good, we are going to be grateful to God. But if he is not, we are going to make him even better." And that's the kind of attitude that should accompany any congregation as they welcome a new pastor. I have every reason to believe that the person that Central calls is going to be excellent, but somehow there may be differences and so help him and support him in every way. #4. Let your new pastor lead. Let them lead. You know it's a difficult thing for any leader to come into a new situation and before anything is on the table, to sense that people just have their arms crossed and just are not going to be led, for whatever reason. Again the text says, "esteem pastors very highly in love because of their work" and when he gets out front and says okay we are going to go in this direction - follow. I have seen a funny thing happen in congregations. Many times they will grow and get complex and I have seen it happen and we have all heard the stories about when a congregation grows, new members will take an old member's seats, they will take their pew and how that creates all kind of tension or it gets to a certain size and people don't like it; here's the refrain - "I don't know anybody around here anymore." And so a new pastor will come into a church and it will grow and things will get more complex and ambiguous and then let's say that time ends and then after that let's say the congregation starts to shrink a little bit, and it goes back to its original size. Now I am not suggesting that any of that is going to happen here, I am just saying that what happens in the mind-set of people many times is that this is a good thing. It's like losing weight you know. People think- now I know everybody, now things don't seem so complex anymore, things are simpler. Be careful about that. Be careful about that because that's got nothing to do with Jesus' command to go out and to compel people to come in. And so as the pastor leads, as the church grows in size and becomes more complex and something different than it is right now, support and let them lead. #5. I almost feel like I don't even have to say this, but I will say it anyway. During the search, the home stretch of the search, don't lobby for certain candidates. Now I know that most people around here are thinking, we will just about take any candidate that the PNC would like to offer. It's okay to suggest people, don't get me wrong, it's okay to suggest people, but don't lobby for certain types of candidates, because that only leads to divisiveness eventually. But it goes without saying. #6. Here's a tough one. Support your new pastor even when they can't publicly explain why certain decisions or actions have been made. You see you need to bear in mind that pastors and leaders frequently cannot defend themselves publicly in order to protect the guilty. And professional ethics sometimes demands silence over issues that are very sensitive.
If a tough decision takes place, support your pastor amid the criticism that always comes on the heels of tough decisions. #7. Release him/her from being your best buddy. If a church has above 100 people in attendance or even membership that's more than anyone alone can socially involve themselves with. You know, you hardly even know 60 or 70 people by their first name, if you are here for a long time. Let the pastor love you. They will of course, but don't try to spend large amounts of time, because if a person is stretched too thin, then they will be ineffective. And I know that when new pastors come folks have all kinds of expectations, just give those over to God and if you are able to spend time, fine. If not, let that be okay too. #8. Let your pastor's spouse be themselves. Again, don't anticipate a certain personality type. Don't expect that they will necessarily invest themselves in ministry here. And don't expect them to be doing particular ministries or be like former pastor's spouses. Just love them in to finding their place. Don't put that expectation on them to fill in and play piano whenever it's needed. Alright? #9. Look for opportunities to encourage and affirm your new pastor. Again, I am preaching to the choir. Just from my experience, I know from verbal comments, from written notes, you all are a loving bunch and I know that the next person is going to experience that. But you know that person will not have had the advantage of being on the staff of this church 20 years ago. I don't think. That person will not have that advantage more than likely. And I was able to hit the ground running and I knew so many people. And so, in new ways look for ways to affirm and encourage the new pastor in every way possible, in prayer especially. Because the church will reap huge benefits especially when you pray, pray for the pastor. You have all heard the line that "poor preaching is God's joke on a prayerless congregation". Have you ever heard that? That's true and as you pray for this person you are going to benefit. #10. Stay focused on the big picture. I think about the only issue that would make me personally think about separating from a church if I were across the pew, so to speak, would be that the pastor in a Christian Church would deny the reality of Jesus Christ and therefore dilute the power of the gospel. You see when we get focused on issues, and there are many issues to get focused on, they can become idols and then they lead to divisiveness. Ask this question, will the issue that I am concerned about be important a year from now? Will it matter 5 or 10 years from now? Better yet, will it matter in eternity? Because the big picture is loving one another and that will go on for all eternity. Because love never ends, never fails. And I know that sometimes conscience will compel us to move from one place to the next, but if that ever happens, if that desire to separate happens, it should happen on the heels of a great deal of prayer, a great deal of conversation and dialogue.
PART 2. Hebrews 13:7 HOW TO TREAT GOD’S GIFT TO THE CHURCH Intro: Place a finger at Hebrews 13 and turn your Bibles to Ephesians 4:7-15. According to verse 11, your Pastor is God’s gift to this church! There may be times when you will think you have received the “booby prize,” but you haven’t. He has been given to you to strengthen your spiritual life and to help you grow into maturity as a believer. He has been sent here to encourage you, to feed you, to lead you and instruct you in the business of God. If he walks with the Lord as he should, he will be equipped by the Holy Spirit to effectively carry out his duties, and he will be a blessing to this church and in your personal walk with thse Lord. My assignment this morning, however, is not to preach about what God requires from you. My assignment is to preach about what God expects from you as individuals and from this church body in your relationship to your Pastor.
Just as your pastor has certain responsibilities to you as the Pastor of this church, you also have some responsibilities toward him that you need to discharge. I have read just one verse of Scripture this morning, but from that verse, I would like to share some thoughts about God’s expectations in your relationship to God’s gift. If I may, while we have this time together, I would like to speak to you on this thought: How To Treat God’s Gift To The Church. There are three thoughts in this verse that I would like to point out this morning. I.
THERE IS A WORD ABOUT REMEMBERING (Ill. The church is commanded to “remember.” The word “remember” has the following meanings, “To be mindful of; To keep in mind; To think of and feel for a person; To make mention of.” Let’s take a moment to consider what it means for the church to “remember” the Pastor.)
Speaks Of Consideration – “to be mindful of, to keep in mind” – This has the idea of “being thoughtful.” This is a call for God’s people to be considerate of their Pastor. God did not send this man here to be at your beck and call. He sent him here to feed your souls and to lead you deeper in the things of God. I would challenge you to be considerate of his time. Give him time for his family. Give him time for prayer and for the study of the Word of God. Be sure to take the time to speak a word of encouragement to him. Far too many churches forget the load that their Pastor carries; far too few realize just how heavy that load really is! There will be nights when your pastor will wet his pillow with tears because of his burden for you. There will be times when he will be away from his family because he loves you. There will be times when he will shoulder your burdens and carry them to the throne of grace and do spiritual battle on your behalf. All I am saying is be thoughtful to your Pastor! When he makes a mistake, forgive him. When he falls, help him get back up again. Remember that he is God’s man, but that he is still a man. If you will learn to carry your Pastor in your heart, God will bless his ministry here.
Speaks Of Compassion – “to think of and to feel for a person” – This has the idea of simple human “kindness.” Learn to treat your Pastor like you would want to be treated. Take care of him. Supply his needs, after all that is God’s command to the church, 1 Tim. 5:17; Gal. 6:6. Come by him with a word of encouragement every now and then. Let him know you love him and are standing with him in the battle. Be a friend to the man of God! Have a heart for what your Pastor faces and remember that very often, his load will be heavier than your load. Why? Because he carries his burdens and he carries yours as well. So, when you think of Your pastor and his family and when you are around him, always show him kindness. God will honor your efforts to be a friend to the man of God.
Speaks Of Conversation – “to make mention of” – This is a call to the church to lift of the man of God in prayer. One of the greatest gifts you can give to your pastor is the gift of your consistent, constant, heart-felt prayers. Your pastor is embarking on the greatest undertaking of his life. Being the Pastor of a RCCG is a responsibility greater than any man can bear alone. He needs you to stand with him and to hold up his hands in prayer. Just as Aaron and Hur stood with Moses, held up his hands and thus enabled him to minister to all the people, those who sacrifice their time in prayer for their Pastor enable him to be a better servant of the Lord and the Lord’s people. If you pray for him, you will reap the benefit through his ministry of the Word of God. He will be empowered and God will use him to lead, feed and bless your church, your family and your life. You should certainly take care of the financial and material needs of your Pastor, but you must take the time to pray for him! Get in that closet and lift up his name in prayer. God will honor that kind of sacrifice.
(Note: Every duty in this church should not rest upon the Pastor’s shoulders. Get under the load of this work with him and the Lord will accomplish great things. Leave it all on the Pastor and nothing much will be accomplished! Your Pastor’s primary duty centers around prayer and the proclamation of the Word of God, Acts 6:1-7. you would do well here to allow him the liberty to be who God called him to be, instead of burdening him down with duties that others could do just as well. There must be a sharing of the load if the work is to be done right and effectively.) II.
THERE IS A WORD ABOUT RULING (Ill. The word “rule” had to do with “leadership.” It speaks of the authority God has placed in the office of Pastor. A lot of people have trouble with pastoral authority, because of preachers who have abused the office, 1 Pet. 5:1-4. The author of Hebrews is not referring to the pastor as a dictator, but as one who has been placed in a position of leadership and authority. By the way, the phrase “have the rule over you” is in the passive voice. This means that these rulers are not in their positions by personal choice, but by the call and will of God. And, the phrase “who have spoken unto you the word of God,” qualifies who the writer is talking about. He is referring to the men of God who preach the Word to God’s people in the office of Pastor! Allow me to take that and share a couple of thoughts that come to mind.) A. Speaks Of A Rank – Nature teaches us that living organisms only have one head. When an animal is born with two heads, it is called a “freak” and is an anomaly. The church of Jesus Christ is a living organism. As such, it can only have one head, and the head of the church is the Lord Jesus, Eph. 5:23. Jesus rules His church through His Word and through His Spirit. However, in the church, there is to be order and part of that order requires that there be a leader in the local church. That leader is the Pastor. Friends, God did not place the authority for leading this church in the hands of the Ministers and workers. He placed it is the Pastor. He did not place it in the hands of the leader of the Women’s Auxiliary; He placed it in the office of the Pastor. There can only be one leader in this church and that leader is to be the man of God, the Pastor! Your duty is to fall in line behind him and follow him as he follows the Lord. It is his commission to lead; it is your command to follow. Again, I am not advocating a dictatorship with the Pastor as the head. I am saying the God will lead this church through the man of God. As your Pastor, he deserves respectful obedience and he opens the Word of God and seeks to lead you into the green pastures of God’s perfect will. Fall in line with God’s man and God’s plan and God will bless it! B. Speaks Of A Relationship – I know that Your pastor has been in this church for some time. However, your relationship to him has forever been altered. He has been placed in a position of authority over you. He has been placed in an office that should be honored and respected by others in the church, 1 Thes. 5:12-13. The phrase, “to esteem them very highly,” means they are “to be held in the highest regard.” Respect is something that cannot be demanded. It is something that is earned over time. However, there is a certain amount of respect attached to the office of Pastor. As time goes forward, Your pastor will earn your respect through the sermons he will preach and the ministry he will render. In fact, I think he has already earned the respect of many here, or he would have never been called to be the Pastor of RCCG. Be that as it may, he is to be respected for the office he holds. Your relationship to this man has forever changed! He is no longer just “John” He is the man of God! He is the Pastor and he is to be respected as such. Teach your children to address
him properly. Discipline yourself to treat him as the Pastor. Never be guilty of acting like he is still just “one of the guys,” because he isn’t! Again, we are not talking about honoring and exalting a man, we are talking about honoring an office. Your relationship to your Pastor should be one of respect. C. Speaks Of A Reality – Since God has placed him in this position, he has a duty to tell you the truth, 2 Tim. 4:2. There will be times when your Pastor will have to address hard issues and he will probably plow your life hard and deep. When the Word of God comes your way, remember that your Pastor loves you, that he has a burden for you and that his goal is to help you grow in the Lord. Your duty as a church is to gather around the preaching of the Word of God and to respond in humble obedience to that word when it is preached to you. Sometimes the word will be sweet like honey, at other times it will cut like a knife. However, it comes, remember that it comes from the mouth and heart of a man who loves you and has been sent by God to feed you and to lead you. Get behind the man of God; follow him and the Word he preaches. God will honor that kind of attitude!
THERE IS A WORD ABOUT RESPONDING (Ill. The author is probably writing about leaders in the early church, such as the Apostles and others, who have already passed away or were martyred for their faith. The readers are challenged to consider the way they lived, the convictions they held and the example they left behind; and they are called to get in line behind them and live like they lived, do what they did and go after them faithfully to death. You are blessed this evening in that your Pastor is still here. The writer of Hebrews tells us how we are to respond to the man God has given us to be the Pastor of the church.) 5. Speaks Of An Examination – “whose faith follow” – Before you can follow a man, you must look at his walk. This is not a call to criticism or to a judgmental attitude regarding your Pastor. If you look too closely at any man’s life you will find many areas of fault and failure. This is a call for the church to look at their Pastor. The church should watch him as he walks with God by faith. The church needs to observe the convictions that grip his heart. You should understand the fact that he carries you in his heart, Heb. 13:17. See the depth of his convictions; the reality of his walk with God; the commitment he demonstrates; the faithfulness that characterizes his life and burden he carries for the church and for the Lord. See these things and know that he is God’s man; that he is worthy to be followed; and that he worthy of the respect due to the spiritual leader of this church. Let his life serve as an example for your own walk with the Lord. B. Speaks Of An Emulation – “whose faith follow” – You are to watch the way your Pastor lives. You are to watch him as he walks with God, so that his life can serve as a pattern for your own walk with the Lord. You are not to watch him so you can judge him. You are not to examine his life so that you can find fault with him and criticize him, but you are to observe faith as it is lived out in his life and follow his example of dedication, faith and service for the glory of God. This sounds like we are exalting the life of a man, but this was the council of Paul. Three times, 1 Cor. 4:16; 1 Cor. 11:1; Phil. 3:17; Paul told his readers to “be ye followers of me.” Paul knew that he was living the life and walking with the Lord and that his example could be followed. Your pastor’s challenge is to live that kind of life as well. Your duty is to get behind the man of God and follow him for the glory of God.
Conc: Church, God has honored you greatly! He has given you a Pastor. He has given you a man of God. He has given you someone who will pray for you, who will love you, who will tell you the truth, who will carry you in his heart, who will serve you faithfully and who will do so much for you that only in eternity will you know the depth of his commitment to you. Here is my charge to you: 1. Protect His Time – Give him opportunity to pray and study the Word. Don’t expect him, his family or his home to be the center of entertainment for the community. Every Pastor wants to be available when needed, but no spiritual man of God can afford to waste his time! 2. Pray For Him Continually – Call his name out to the Father and God will fill him and use him. 3. Pay Attention While He Preaches – The sermon is not the time to be fiddling with the checkbook, looking through the hymnal, cutting your toenails or taking a nap. The man of God has labored long and hard to prepare the spiritual meal. At least have the common decency to pay attention when he preaches! 4. Provide For The Needs Of Your Pastor – God will bless the church that blesses the man of God. 5. Please The Lord Through Your Ministry To The Pastor – How? • Respect him for the office he holds. • Follow him as he follows the Lord. • Help him carry out the Lord’s work in this place.
THE PROPER CARE AND FEEDING OF A PASTOR By Moishe Rosen [1994 – 1995 ?] Most church members don’t know how to treat their pastor! If you want to be a considerate church member, there are some things you ought to know that your own minister will never tell you. Few pastors will put themselves in the precarious position of stating what benefits they feel they should receive from their ministry because they deem it improper to seek for themselves the remuneration and respect due their office. Nevertheless, proper care on the part of church members in certain sensitive areas will aid both the pastor and the church in fulfilling their God-given roles. The Pastor and Gossip One thing that hurts ministers the most is that some church members like to gossip. They take devilish delight in relating to their fellow church members those things about the pastor that represent his shortcomings. Pastors are human! Some may have bad habits or may make grammatical errors; others may quarrel with their mates, or devote too much time to personal affairs at the expense of their ministry to the congregation. You don't help your church to grow by detracting from your minister's credibility through faultfinding. If he has a character flaw that you regard as severe, go to him and speak with him respectfully, following the Scriptural admonition to exhort an elder as a father (I Timothy 5:1). Above all, pray for your pastor, that he might be able to live up to his own ideals. The Pastor and His Time
Some church members want their pastor to join every civic group in town because they feel this is good for their church image in the community. As worthwhile as some of these groups may be, they take precious hours away from his duties in the church, from his prayer and study time and personal family time. This kind of community involvement should be left strictly to the discretion and wishes of the individual minister. Many pressing responsibilities claim a pastor's time. He should spend between 20 and 40 hours a week in study, prayer and preparation for his messages. The younger a pastor is in the ministry, the longer it takes him to prepare his sermons. In addition, he must attend board meetings, committee meetings and Sunday School meetings and often must oversee youth work and children's work. In many instances the younger pastor finds himself shepherding a small or new congregation that is less than affluent and sometimes cannot even afford a paid custodian. In such a case the young pastor may find himself to be the chief fund raiser, custodian, secretary and errand boy. These are all areas where church members can help to shoulder the burden by typing letters, making phone calls, Cleanning the church and cleaning the church compound. Eg Daddy Tataw cleanning the church to welcome me,and giving me water when Buea Town lacked water,Bro vincent ,cleanning the church. Proper Title of Respect This is a small matter, but it's important. Even if your minister tells you to call him by his first name, perhaps it's better for your family and other members of your church if you address him in public with a title of respect He might give you the right to call him Ed, Jim or Joe to help you feel at ease with him, or you may even enjoy a special friend-to-friend relationship with him. Nevertheless there are times when out of respect to his office you should refer to him as 'Pastor Brown, Smith or Jones," or at least as "Pastor Ed, Jim or Joe." Salary or Living Allowance A neglected fact of Scripture is that the Apostle Paul in I Timothy 5:17 wrote that a pastor deserves double pay. Check it out for yourself. The word "honor" as used in that text is related to the word "honorarium" or "fee." Some interpret this as referring to two different kinds of honor: remuneration and respect. However, the noun is used in the singular form, suggesting only one kind of "honor," and the context clearly speaks of wages. The Apostle Paul set an example of not taking pay for his ministry because he ministered for the most part among new and immature believers. Still, the Scripture teaches that "a workman is worthy of his hire." If the pastor deserves double pay, he should at least be accorded a salary that will allow for a comfortable standard of living. Many denominations in this country maintain set policies for the welfare of those who minister under their auspices. The specified benefits in such cases include minimum required salaries, hospitalization, annuities and educational allowances. Nevertheless there are many other groups and independent congregations that have no such set policies, and it is to them that this advice is directed. A good rule of thumb for a pastor's living allowance is not in terms of money, but in terms of the median life-style of the congregation which he serves. If almost all of the people in the congregation live in apartments rather than in single-family homes, then the pastor and his family should be able to afford a nice apartment by community standards. If the church people generally own their homes, the pastor should be accorded a salary whereby he and his family may enjoy the same privilege. Oftentimes church property includes a parsonage. This is a practical and convenient arrangement because the house is usually close to the church and the housing benefit allows for a lower salary to be taken from the annual church budget. Nevertheless some pastor's families may not be comfortable with such a living arrangement. Self-esteem, privacy and being free to choose one's place of residence are all important
factors to be considered. Besides this, the monetary benefit to the church may be offset by expenses of repair and maintenance for the parsonage. Another factor in favor of a pastor buying his own home is that under IRS rules a home owner enjoys substantial tax benefits in the form of deductions for all housing expenses. In any case, if the pastor were to feel more content in a home of his own choosing, the church might well consider renting the parsonage to someone in the community and adding the amount of the rental to the pastor's salary. Your pastor has many other needs and expenses of which you may not be aware. As the leader of a faith mission I have found that ministers are extremely generous. They often support Christian causes with their own funds. It is not unusual for Jews for Jesus to receive a gift from a minister that represents his whole week's salary. In addition, because a bishop must be "given to hospitality" according to I Timothy 3:2, pastors must entertain much more than the average church member. That can be expensive. Then, too, the successful pastor is busier than the average working man in his church and can't do some of the things for himself and his family that can be done by the ordinary layman. He may have to pay for things like shoveling the snow from his front walk in winter, or mowing his lawn in summer. Just about the time he gets ready to repair this appliance, or do that errand, he is likely to be interrupted by some church emergency. It is necessary that he be paid enough so that he can devote as much time as he needs to his flock and leave errands and chores to those whom he can pay. Another minister's expense involves study materials. Did you know that your pastor will need to spend $500 to $800 a year for books and periodicals just so he can do the work of informed preaching? Other ministry-involved expenses include the cost of attending conferences and denominational conventions, and the all too often forgotten major expense of an automobile. The pastor's car is a business tool, and the pastor should be reimbursed for the use of his car in behalf of the church. Car expenses should be in the same category as office equipment used for church purposes. Furthermore, most pastors find themselves in a social security trap. Under present law, everyone is covered by social security unless he files for an exemption stating that he is conscientiously opposed to any government help for himself or his family. If the pastor does not file the exemption form, he must pay the full social security tax of a self-employed individual out of his own pocket. If he does choose to file an exemption, he is not covered by social security. Then he is left to provide for his own retirement and hospitalization benefits unless he is fortunate enough to belong to a denomination which makes it a policy to provide for such needs. Another expense for a young pastor might be an outstanding school debt. Few church members realize that a man who completes college and seminary often graduates owing a considerable amount of money. The debt was incurred in preparing himself for the ministry. His income should be sufficient to allow the repayment of that debt. The pastor's income should also be adequate for him to afford an occasional private, restful vacation that involves travel and hotel bills. A visit with family or friends, while enjoyable, does not usually comprise a time of rest and privacy. As a considerate church member you should see to it that your pastor does not have to concern himself too much with money needs. Most pastors spend as many years in school as does a doctor or a lawyer, and they deserve a salary commensurate with their training. Though pastors are willing to humble themselves and settle for little in order to serve God, it is up to you to show your pastor that you understand the value of the position to which God has appointed him. What Else You Can Do
If your church is the kind that cannot give your pastor a proper salary and uphold him financially the way that he deserves, there is one thing you can do that is always welcome. Sit down and write your pastor a note. Tell him how much you appreciate him and what he is doing. Be specific. If you were moved to action by a particular message, tell him which one. There's another way you can uphold him. Tell other members of the church specifically how and why you appreciate him so that they might look for the same qualities in him and gain from God what your pastor has to give them. If you know that what you have received from him is of God and you are growing spiritually and are headed in a proper direction because of his ministry, why not tell others outside of the church too? Through your efforts the congregation may gain new members, and nothing pleases a pastor more than to see God's kingdom grow, especially if it's his own little flock. A pastor's lot is often lonely and demanding, and even discouraging at times. Your pastor needs to know that you care and that you appreciate him. Treat your pastor well and you encourage him to do his very best for God. A right relationship between the pastor and the congregation will please God and make your church and its ministry a blessing to the entire community.
PART FOUR. EDITORIAL: How to treat your pastor�s wife By Jim White, Editor Thursday, October 08, 2009 For the last four years, I have had the great pleasure of serving the RCCG as their youngpastor. They have recently called Matt Tennant who will begin Oct. 18. Matt and his wife have two young sons. For the past several weeks, I have been preaching a series of sermons on how to care for their new pastor. Last Sunday the topic was caring for your pastor’s wife. For that, I asked my wife, Connie, to draw from her 25 years of experience and speak to them. Because her comments were so well received, and because so many pastors’ wives are hurting, I decided to make them the subject of this week’s editorial. Here is what she said -- Editor. Like their pastor husbands, no two pastors’ wives are identical. Despite this, some needs are nearly universal. Were I once again a minister’s wife with young children and relatively little experience in a full-time pastoral setting here are some things that I would want a congregation to consider. First, I would like the church to realize that I am my husband’s most ardent supporter and that if I am not mindful of this, I may also slip into the role of being his self-appointed defender. I would like to realize that he doesn’t need me to fix the challenges he faces. It would help me if you realize that my concern always is that he be the best pastor he can be. I want him to succeed and to be well-loved, and I want only to help him minister effectively. However, I also have a family who needs him. Because of this, I would need you to help us by insisting that he take his day off and that he set aside at least one night each week for our family. Further, you can free him to attend school and athletic activities even when they occasionally conflict with church activities. It is important to me that our children remember that their father was there for these important events in their lives. I would also ask you to respect our privacy. In no other profession is the husband’s success so dependent upon his family’s behaviors. When we face family issues, I want you to love us, pray for us, and offer to help us. But I don’t want you to assume that you need to know details.
Sometimes we just need your love and support. We will all function better if you give me and our family the space to be normal. The same thing is true for our children. I already know that they aren’t perfect and that my husband and I are not perfect parents. If there is a significant issue, I would want you to meet with us privately and redemptively. Otherwise, I would ask that you not feel called to identify all our children’s weaknesses to me or others in the congregation. If you don’t know already, you will soon learn that my husband has a fw faults as well. Similarly, when my husband disappoints you -- as he inevitably will because he is human -- I would hope that you will speak with him directly rather than attempt to register your disappointment through me or anyone else. I have noticed that you take all your compliments straight to him, but you are often more comfortable pointing out his flaws to me in hopes that I will relay them to him. Please don’t put me in that position. Before you speak critically of my husband, our family, or our church, I would ask you to think about your concern. Sometimes, if you think about your criticism, pray about it, write it in a private journal, tell it to your pillow and to God, you may decide that it doesn’t warrant any further action on your part. At other times, when you come to the conclusion that your concern is justified and that my husband needs to hear it, please go to him directly and privately. Please be mindful that others will always overhear things you say in passing and that the damage done to my children should they hear you belittle their father may be immeasurable. When you decide that you need to speak to him or us, please do so kindly and with agape love. When we arrive, I will bring with me the grace gifts that God has given me. Therefore, I will need the freedom to develop those gifts in ministries that support and uplift the church. A problem may arise if you believe that I have certain gifts because I am married to your pastor, or that I use them in the same way as a previous pastor’s wife. Sometimes those expectations can be harmful to all of us. Your allowing me to participate in church ministries according to my giftedness will enable all of us to thrive. On the other hand, if you project your attitudes about what the “perfect” pastor’s wife should do and be onto me, we will all suffer. You will be disappointed in me, and I will think I can’t succeed. If, however, we mutually respect and affirm each other, the work will benefit and we become more mature Christians. When you have information that my husband needs to know, I would like for you to just leave a message for him to call you. I will covenant to relay messages and follow-up to make sure he has returned calls. However, I have children to tend and a home to manage, and I don’t need the pressure of remembering specific details of conversations and I don’t want to get it wrong. I would want the church to reach out to us in simple ways. For instance, it would help me if you offer to care for our children when both of us need to be away for church-related events or responsibilities. During a cycle of crises when several people are facing critical situations and my husband is being pulled in every direction, your showing up with a home-cooked meal or a batch of fresh cookies would mean more than you can possibly know. My deepest hope is that all of us can foster an inclusive environment that mirrors God’s redemptive love as we develop the kind of faith community that draws a lost and dying world into the fold. To that end, I would challenge us to remember Paul’s admonition in Eph. 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another just as God in Christ has forgiven you.” And Peter’s words in 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.
PART FIVE. This is the time of the year when the Church receives many men into the Office of the Holy Ministry. We Redeemites have a particularly beautiful word for the Office of the Holy Ministry, used in our beloved Book of Concord. It is the word Predigtamt, or “Preaching Office.” The man who serves in the pastoral ministry is, first and foremost, one who comes into our midst to be a spokesman for Jesus Christ. Our Lord Christ told His apostles, and all those who would, through the ages, stand in the office of public preaching and teaching of the Word, “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” (Matt. 10:40). So, as a congregation receives a new pastor, it should receive the man as One whom the Lord has sent to be His spokesman. As St. Paul says, “Here is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” (1 Cor. 4:1). Your pastor is the ambassador of Christ, as St. Paul explains of the ministry, “We are ambassadors of Christ, God making His appeal through us.” (2 Cor. 5:20). Receive your new pastor with thanks and joy. Thanks, for the gift God has now given you. Joy, that the Lord continues to answer the prayer Jesus told us to always keep praying: “Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers.” (Matt. 9:37). Receive your new pastor with understanding and charity. If the man you are receiving is new to the ministry, do not expect him to be an expert in all things. Do not expect him to have the wisdom that comes with greater experience. Be patient with a man who is new to the ministry. He will make mistakes. He will learn as he goes. He will stumble and fall on occasion. Forgive him, even as the Lord has forgiven you. Focus on the Word He brings and the Sacraments He administers, not so much on him and his personality. Some men are, by nature, gregarious and outgoing. Others are more shy and retiring. Every pastor, every man, is unique and different. There is no one “perfect pastor” and no pastor is a clone of another. So, don’t expect your pastor to be “just like” some other favorite pastor in the past. Don’t let your pastor be hearing constantly, “But Pastor So-and-So did it this way.” That gets very old, very quickly. And, if a pastor is a young man, keep in mind St. Paul’s advice to young Pastor Timothy, “Let no one despise you for your youth” (1 Timothy 4:12). Don’t allow yourself, or your family, and friends, to fall into the trap of making one of the items on your Sunday lunch menu “roast pastor.” Sadly, sometimes people find themselves gossiping about the pastor, or his family. If you have a true concern with your pastor, about something he said, or did, please make it a point of going directly to your pastor with your concerns. Give him the opportunity to hear you out and then give him the opportunity to explain himself and help clear up something you may have misunderstood. Be careful about playing the “Pastor, people are saying” game. Sometimes when people have a concern to express, they choose to approach the pastor with these words: “People are saying, Pastor…” and then proceed to recount something to the pastor. If a member of your congregation has something to say to the pastor, don’t let them tell you and then encourage you to tell the pastor. Instead, if, or when, you hear a person beginning to complain about the pastor, or offer some kind of criticism, please encourage that person to go speak to the pastor. Welcome your pastor’s family into your home. Don’t assume “everyone is inviting the pastor over” for in fact, what might be the case is that everyone is assuming everyone else is, and in fact, nobody is. Please make sure your pastor and his family does not have to spend a holiday by themselves, alone, perhaps far from their loved ones. Your new pastor loves you, as the flock over which the Holy Spirit has made him the overseer. Receive him then as a father in Christ, one who has care of your very soul, for indeed he does. Your pastor is not a mind-reader. He will not simply “know” or “sense” when somebody is sick or hospitalized or needs pastoral care. If you, or a member of your family, need to go to
the hospital, do not think your pastor will find out about it simply by hearing about it from somebody else. Please let your pastor know. He wants to be your pastor and bring you the comfort and promises of God’s Word and the Lord’s Supper at those moments when we find ourselves, or our family members, in crisis. Do not hesitate to call your pastor, at any time of day or night, when a loved one dies. He wants to know, right away and to come to your side and support and encourage you at these particularly dark and sad moments when death touches us. Nor is your pastor a miracle-worker, though of course miracles never cease. But your pastor should not be the “last resort” when your marriage is having problems, or when you face a struggle or problem in your life. You will be greatly blessed by God when you turn to your pastor for the private confession and absolution it is his privilege to provide for you, in keeping with his duties. Go to him sooner, rather than later. Turn to your pastor for spiritual counsel and help when you face issues and challenges that feel overwhelming. He will cherish the opportunity to be your pastor. Let him be pastor to you. Your pastor may come into your congregation with suggestions and new ideas for your congregation. He may do things differently than your last pastor, or other pastors. And if, in his enthusiasm, he fails adequately to explain what he is doing, don’t become upset or angry. Speak gently to him and let him know your feelings. But also do consider that sometimes changes are good and even necessary. If however your congregation chooses not to accept some of the things your pastor is doing, don’t “go to war” over it. Sometimes your pastor has been influenced by other pastors in our church who have particular hobby-horses they like to ride and axes they like to grind, on all sides of these kinds of potentially emotional issues. Particularly inexperienced pastors are prone to these kinds of influences. Gently make suggestions and where necessary, offer corrections in a spirit of humility. And by all means, do not fault your pastor when he makes use of the approved hymnals and other worship materials from our Church. If your pastor asks the congregation to learn a new hymn it has not sung before, go ahead, learn it. You will never learn anything new unless you try it. There are so many wonderful things to learn from our new hymnal. So, enjoy it and don’t begrudge your pastor’s desire to help your congregation grow in its worship life. Respect your pastor’s privacy and his family’s privacy. Just because your pastor may live in a church-owned house gives absolutely nobody in your congregation the right to treat the house as “public property” and come barging in to it. If your congregation provides a parsonage, than take care of it and keep it well repaired and maintained. Understand that unless it truly is a genuine life/death emergency, or some other profound spiritual crisis, your pastor and his family would very much appreciate not being interrupted during the meal time, or in the later hours of the evening. Your pastor will need time with his wife and children. They, in turn, will need time with their husband and father. Encourage your pastor to take a day off once a week and to spend time with his family. It is very easy for a pastor, quite literally, to work non-stop, all day long and into the evenings, every day of the week. The pastoral ministry is certainly not a 9-5 job, but don’t let your pastor be so consumed with his work he falls into bad habits of neglecting his family and his own personal needs. As for your pastor’s wife, here it is very important to understand that your pastor is the man with the call to be your pastor, not the pastor’s wife. Her call is to be your pastor’s wife, and the mother of your pastor’s children. Do not tell her things that you should be telling your pastor. It is inappropriate and not helpful. Do not use the pastor’s wife to relay information to the pastor. Just give the pastor a call, drop him an e-mail, etc. Your pastor and his wife will be very polite, and will probably never tell you that they really would appreciate it if you would keep these distinctions clear. A pastor’s wife will want very much to support her husband’s ministry and will be a loved member of your parish, in short order, but keep in mind that the pastor is the pastor, not his wife.
Pay your pastor as well as your congregation can afford to pay him, not just enough to make it from paycheck to your paycheck. Your pastor has not taken a vow of poverty and your congregation should not treat him as if he has. Never balance your congregation’s budget on the back of your pastor and his family. Take care of him, as is your duty toward him. “The laborer is worthy of his hire” and “Do not muzzle the ox while he is treading out the grain.” (1 Timothy 5:18). If you don’t know what you should pay your pastor, your circuit counselor and district office can help provide good guidelines and advice. Make sure your pastor has time for true vacations. Make it possible for him to get away from the pulpit, from time to time, with a substitute preacher. Provide funds for your pastor to increase his learning and skills, by attending seminars, classes and adding to his library. By all means, hold your pastor accountable to preach and proclaim the Word of God purely, according to the Lutheran Confessions, even as he has promised to do in his ordination. But even as you do, do not ask or expect your pastor to act, and preach, and teach contrary to the public confession of our Synod. For example, when your pastor can not commune your Methodist aunt, or a member of your family that is not a communicant member of our church, or is a member of a church with which we are not in fellowship, do not fault your pastor for carrying out his duties to be a faithful steward of the Lord’s Supper. Don’t be angry with your pastor when he points out the problem with singing secular pop love songs at a wedding, or not permitting some non-Christian organization from being involved in a church funeral. Don’t be upset if your pastor can not participate in a public community worship service where all gods, and all opinions about God, are treated as merely being equally true points of view. Don’t demand that your pastor act contrary to his ordination and contrary to the doctrines and practices of the church in which he is now an ordained minister. It is unfair and wrong to demand your pastor to “make exceptions” that are actually actions contrary to God’s Word. Don’t expect your pastor to do something contrary to his ordination vows and that would be a sin against his conscience. Finally, pray for your pastor. Daily. Ask God to guide, strengthen, protect and keep your pastor and his family safe. Ask God to bless your pastor’s ministry. Pray for your pastor as he conducts his ministry. Remember his preaching in your prayers. Pray for him as he makes his many sick calls and speaks and ministers to people in your congregation. And then, let your pastor know you are praying for him. If you really want to surprise and delight your pastor, ask him how he is doing. Ask him how you can help him. Your pastor is not a spiritual superman. He has his moments of sadness and doubt and discouragement. He needs your encouragement, just like you need his. Remember him in your prayers but then demonstrate your commitment to be praying for him by letting him know about your prayers and seeking out ways to encourage him and help him. Recall what God’s Word teaches us: “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).