My dad didn’t become a pastor until after I had gone away to college. He was in his late thirties. He’s been at the job in different churches ever since.
I wasn’t a child growing up in a pastor’s house, so I missed a lot of the stress and pressure that is put on a pastor’s kid in the church and in school. Pastors and their families live in a fishbowl, with people constantly scrutinizing them under a microscope. After all, if they can find something wrong with the pastor, it helps them justify their own failures.
In this column, I’d like to encourage everyone who attends church to make an effort to be a blessing to their pastor and the pastor’s family this week. That can take many forms. Pray for them. Speak blessings over them. Send them an appreciation card. Take them to dinner or cook for them. Tell them you are praying for them.
If you get offended by other people’s comments or lack of sensitivity toward you as an individual, I can tell you that a pastor and their family probably get the same thing multiplied by ten. If you get discouraged carrying your own load, just imagine the pastor and his family who often have to help carry many people’s loads at the same time. Being a pastor is not for wimps.
In small churches across the region, we have faithful men of God carrying on the work of their spiritual calling in obscure places. The hills, hollows and small communities of this region still need pastors who understand them, love them and care for them like a shepherd caring for his flock of sheep. When we get to heaven, I have a feeling some of the most prominently known and popular TV ministers will be surprised to find how God sees and honors the faithfulness of this army of invisible men who never show their face on television, but faithfully carry out the responsibilities of what God has called them to.
A pastor who is more interested in building “his ministry” than in growing the kingdom of God is one to stay away from. Another type of pastor to avoid is one who is more interested in being served than in serving others. It is a struggle for some men to have so many people looking up to them and listening to what they say without letting their ego convince them that they are “special” or that they deserve man’s adoration.
I thank God for my dad and the servant’s heart I know he has about doing God’s work and helping people. This is a transition time in his and my mother’s lives where they know that because of age, it is time to transfer the mantle of their ministry into the hands of a younger pastor. If one can be found who has loved the people and lived right before the Lord as my mom and dad have, the congregation will be in good hands.
I thank God for my pastor, Roland “Bo” Lee, who also has a servant’s heart in his ministry. I am thankful for his family that serve alongside with him. Instead of promoting himself, he promotes Christ. Instead of seeking man’s approval, he is obediently focused on doing what he believes God would have him do. His work behind the scenes in ministering to the needs of others says louder to me than anything else about him that he is a man who truly loves God and is a kingdom builder rather than a “ministry builder.”
To all people of faith, I want to encourage you to pray for your pastor, speak words of life over them and speak encouragement to them. As your pastor is blessed and as he grows in wisdom and vision from the Lord, you and your congregation will also be blessed and grow.
Without worshipping them, you can be a blessing to the pastor and his family by little acts of kindness, prayers for them, and appreciation for them. A true man of God will give God the glory for all of his successes instead of trying to keep the glory for himself. As our pastors serve us and stand by us in our times of struggle and need, let us stand by them and lift them up, encourage them, and support them. We will all be blessed by that effort.