You may think a pastor’s life is simply breezing in Sundays to teach, shaking some hands, smiling a lot then taking Mondays off before preparing for next week’s sermon. I mean, really, how hard can it be?
Pastors preach from the pulpit, pray for the needy, visit the sick, officiate weddings and funerals, lead-hire-and-fire staff, manage details and resources, strive for growth, create new events, counsel individuals, deepen their own walk while leading their own marriages and families, so most people think pastors don’t ever have problems. I call it the “pedestal effect.” Unfortunately, it places unrealistic expectations on us and creates unwanted loneliness. Both of these dynamics are the Devil’s playground.
While the enemy plots to bring pastors down, men of the church need to provide a hedge of protection and encouragement to their spiritual leader.
After all, they’re God’s hired hands, right?
Here’s what pastors want you to know:
- 1. We struggle with sin.
When the Bible says in Romans 3:23 that “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;” it includes pastors. Pastors are not exempt from temptation. The enemy knows our weaknesses and when we’re vulnerable. Jesus said in Matthew 26:41, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Pastors have fleshly desires, ambitious goals and pride. So here’s how you can help:
- Form a tight-knit, small group with your pastor. Create an environment of openness, honesty and integrity. Ask your pastor how you can pray for him. Study together and don’t expect the pastor to lead every time. Provide encouragement and a support system. Allow for graceful accountability, and assist with enforcing proper boundaries.
Use this: Every Man Ministries media library.
- 2. We’re not taught leadership and management in school.
Although some pastors may have taken some business classes in undergraduate school, their Master of Divinity is focused on the Bible. We are not trained at hiring, firing, managing “employees” and event details, deadlines and corporate growth. So here’s how you can help:
- Form an advisory board, perhaps separate but in conjunction with the elders, that assist with corporate and management issues. Or, hire an executive pastor trained to run an organization, relieving the senior pastor of these duties.
- 3. We need friends and fun.
Being a pastor can be a lonely experience, despite ministering and serving people. It’s hard to relate to other men, when pastors are constantly under scrutiny. Pastors deal with serious life and death issues daily, and carry the burdens of many. Pastors are physically tired, emotionally drained, spiritually taxed, and financially stressed. So here’s how you can help:
- Pastors need men who can treat them like “one of the guys.” Pastors need friends, willing and available to create periods of recreation, rest and rejuvenation. Friends can help cutoff criticism at the ground level, join pastors on the front line, and prevent sabotage among the congregation. But mostly, friends are simply available when you need them.
Cultivating a happy marriage, while leading a congregation, takes serious effort. Raising “pastor’s kids” also demands unique support. Both the spouse and children can feel left out, deprived of attention and love that only a husband and father can give. This is often a juggling act with no audience. Pastors have the same pressures at home as other men, so here’s how you can help:
- Support your pastor so he can maximize his life at home. Give him and his wife regular and frequent weekend retreats they can’t afford. Buy them dinner and a movie — and a babysitter — so they can get out and enjoy some time together alone. Help with practical needs around the house, car repair or yard work. Help them raise their children, whether it’s sending them to conferences or buying the books, or memberships to this site. And, relieve them the financial pressure of providing for their retirement and kids’ college education.
“Remember those who lead you, those who speak the Word of God to you.” (Hebrews 13:7. This is put there for men in the church because someone needs to be thinking about the guy who is always thinking of everyone else. Pastors are really good at giving their time, energy, empathy, study and knowledge. But they’re not very good at receiving. Maximize your pastor’s life by remembering they are people too.
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Every Man Ministries, founded by president Kenny Luck, gives men the tools they need to walk with God and navigate the difficulties of life. As the men’s pastor at Saddleback Church, Kenny Luck created a program for men to start and lead their own men’s ministries, the Sleeping Giant program. Watch Kenny’s teachings at EveryManMinistries.com and start your men’s group today.