Management expert, the late Peter Drucker once observed that the four most difficult jobs were: President of the United States, a university president, hospital administrator, and you guessed it--pastor of a church. I can hear some of you saying "Are you kidding? He only works on Sundays."
Well, that's not quite true, is it? The research shows that pastors are burned out, prone to moral failure (and not just sexual), and their marriages are often troubled. Who in their right mind would want to be a pastor? It's a tough gig, and God most definitely needs to call you to the pulpit. It's not for the faint of heart or the thin skinned.
There's also this warning from James: Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. James 3:1 NLT
The job is 24/7/365, shepherding the flock of human sheep who, if we're honest, aren't great at following. The church is full of critics and usually the most severe criticism is directed at the pastor. The average pastoral tenure is less than four years. That's a high turnover rate and who wants to sit on a pastoral search committee? Since it's hard to replace pastors, how can we improve and keep the ones we have? Here are four ways we can start today.
1. Pray for your pastor regularly, try daily. I don't mean "God bless the pastor and please let him finally have a good sermon this week." I mean get serious about praying for the pastor, Pray for his health-emotional, physical, and spiritual. Pray for strength, wisdom, the ability to resist temptation, leadership skills, etc. Pray for his wife and kids. They have a tough job too and have the same struggles we all do.
2. Don't whine about church "stuff" on Sunday morning. As one who's been in church leadership for a lot of years, there's nothing worse than a church member who must complain about the music, the carpet, the temperature, or that someone is sitting in his or her special pew right before the worship service begins. Really? That's what's on your mind on Sunday morning? Nothing will take the wind out of any church leader's sails quicker than a Sunday morning complainer.This includes your Sunday school teacher and worship leader. I double dog dare you to say something encouraging to your pastor if you must say anything. If the carpet is such a distraction, call the church office on Monday and make an appointment to talk about it. Bring your checkbook too. I have a feeling when Monday rolls around it may not be such a big deal.
3. Support your pastor. By this I mean show up if you've volunteered for a workday, or to teach, usher, serve in the nursery. Don't be the person who "forgets" the commitment, or calls his cell phone 15 minutes before a service to say you won't be there because you have a hangnail. Be quick to speak positively and steer conversation away from a sermon critique at church, and in the car on the way home. Both my grandfathers were pastors and one wryly commented that most parishioners had roast preacher for Sunday dinner. Don't let that be the entree at your table.
4. Express your support and love. A card, an encouraging phone call, babysitting the kids, so he can take his wife out. What would you like someone to do for you? Do it for your pastor.
Paul warned the young pastor, Timothy of the hardships in the pastorate. There are plenty of teachers/pastors who eagerly tell us what we want to hear. If you have a faithful pastor who preaches the Truth of God's Word, be grateful and show it.
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3 NLT
Improving our pastors has everything with making a change in us.God takes care of the rest. Follow the truth, brothers and sisters as we begin the journey of 2014.