Church, the gathering of believers to worship, encourage, and sit under God’s teaching, takes many forms across the country as well as throughout the world. Whether you worship in a gathering of 50, 500, or 5,000, the pastor is the crucial component of each body of believers—the leader ordained to shepherd the flock. Though he may never say it out loud, the pastor spends hours each week preparing to execute a service that will best meet the needs of the congregation. From coordinating with the worship team, to preparing a message that is biblically sound and engaging, they do more than many of us can imagine. Most who are called to pastoral leadership carry the job with amazing grace and few complaints. Yet, as I undertake my new personal journey as a pastor’s wife for Enlighten Church, I can see how many unspoken needs local pastors carry with them daily.
Truthfully, many members of the body of Christ have become comfortable with being just consumers on Sunday morning. In doing so, members neglect leaders who pour themselves out for the good of the body. Here are 10 things your pastor may need, but will never ask for:
Photo Credit: Getty Images
1. The Truth
Many times, we are nervous to share how we feel with our pastor. We may think he is too busy, committed to his own ideas, or emotionally unavailable to listen. This is especially true if you feel your opinions were disregarded in the past. This might lead you to avoid any confrontational interaction or conversation. However, I have found that there are many pastors who desire insight from the congregation. Perhaps you’ve noticed the music is too loud for comfort, or that the church doesn’t attract a certain generation.
Rather than keep the frustration to yourself, schedule a time to share your honest opinions. Does this mean we should rattle off complaints every Sunday? No! However, it does mean that with prayer we can be willing to approach the difficult topics. God may want to use you to inspire the change. A leader who refuses insight is not a leader, but a dictator.
With this said, if you choose to address a problem, be prepared to provide possible solutions.
We all “miss it.” Even the best pastor may accidentally hurt your feelings, tell an insensitive joke or misspeak here and there. Rather than blast them on social media and refuse to ever again, choose grace. Remember the words found in Romans 8:23: “ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Note that the word “fall” is not past tense but present. In other words, none of us can escape the reality that we are not perfect. This statement applies to your pastor as well. Pray about which instances require deeper conversation and which ones require you to quickly forgive and move forward. The best way to approach moments of frustration with your leadership is with your leadership, not third parties. The intent is for them to listen, not necessarily to be obligated to comply wholeheartedly with your wishes.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” (Matthew 18:15)
Regardless of the outcome, choose forgiveness and offer the same grace you would want in that situation. When in doubt, remember we all fall short.
Photo Credit: Unsplash
3. Respect for Their Boundaries
Recently, I read a story of a church member who knocked twice and walked right into the pastor’s home. Although some pastors may have an “open door” policy, the wife, who was home alone during the time of the uninvited guest, was not amused. Though you may want to get close to your pastor’s family, we should respect their boundaries.
For example, I have seen some pastors choose Monday as their “off day.” In case of emergencies, they are available. If your pastor has a built-in family day, it’s best you allow them to have their family time and time to refresh. It’s not a personal jab at you if they don’t respond to you right away. Know that they have to balance the church members and their own family. Remember, even Jesus needed time for solitude (Luke 5:16).
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
Putting on a weekly church service requires many helping hands. From the musicians to children’s workers, there are a lot of moving pieces. For many of us, we have found our favorite aspect of the ministry to engage in. However, with every team there comes times when we must be willing to be flexible and step in where the need is greatest. One month may require you to serve an extra Sunday, or another week you may be of better use in the nursery versus hospitality. Whatever the case may be, we have to remember the mission and purpose of the Church.
The Church is not just for us to receive our individual spiritual nourishment, but also to invite others into the fellowship. This means that each person has a role in making sure that every visitor feels welcome. This attitude of creating an environment where all can encounter Jesus must be our motivation for serving. When it is, we can easily switch from our normal routines to help the greater good of the team.
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and not all members have the same function, so in Christ we who are many are one body, and each member belongs to one another.” (Romans 12:5)
Just as we should try to assist in the local church with our time, your local pastor also needs people to come alongside the church financially. Alongside the truth that the gospel should be given freely to others, we sometimes neglect to realize that there are many financial aspects involved. Pause for a moment and think about your church building. Have you ever wondered who pays for all the elements involved? Whether your church gathering is provided with chairs, sound equipment, running water, lights, instruments, nursery supplies or coffee, every provision took groups of people who were willing to give. Many might consider giving to just be providing pastors with a paycheck.
However, more and more pastors are now co-vocational because the church lacks the finances to sustain their livelihoods. They pour out their extra money or savings to provide a life-changing experience for the members. Pastors need people willing to make investments that can lighten the load. Quite simply, without finances, any establishment will have to eventually close. When the offering bucket passes by, consider this as an opportunity to support something bigger than yourself, listening to what God may be leading you to give. The resources God has given you not only help with day-to-day missions, but also community outreach seeking to share the love of Christ. As I heard a pastor say recently, “We don’t have to give, we get to give.”
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
A congregation in one accord is a pastor’s dream. While there will be times of disagreement, your pastor’s heart breaks when he sees his members in disarray. Whether there is racial tension, gossip, or cliques forming in the church, sorting out the confusion can be difficult. Instead of being able to focused on meeting with others to pray, the pastor may find himself settling petty arguments amongst members. One can only imagine how much time is wasted on things that could be avoided by intentional kindness and respect for others in our community.
We should strive to be in one accord with our fellowship. When we fail to do so, we lose sight of the Great Commission and the role of the church. Though we come from many backgrounds and beliefs, let us be intentional about creating relationships that can withstand disagreement, and deal with it in a healthy and mature way.
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
More than anything else, your pastor needs prayer. Those with a heart for shepherding God’s flock do not do so lightly. They recognize that the Lord has placed many requirements on them to guide people in love, truth, and by example (1 Timothy 3:1-9, Jeremiah 3:15). With this heavy responsibility, pastors need a great deal of prayer to sustain them. They need other believers praying to keep them from temptation, pride, worry, or even depression.
Let us keep our pastors and leaders in our prayers outside of the Sunday morning service. Certainly, the more people to come alongside them in prayer, unity, and teamwork, the more successful they will be in building up the body of Christ and sending it out to share Christ’s light with the world.
Victoria Riollano is an author, blogger, and speaker. As a mother of six, military spouse, Psychology professor and minister’s wife, Victoria has learned the art of balancing family and accomplishing God’s ultimate purpose for her life. Recently, Victoria released her book, The Victory Walk: A 21 Day Devotional on Living A Victorious Life. Her ultimate desire is to empower women to live a life of victory, hope, and love. She believes that with Christ we can live a life that is ALWAYS winning. You can learn more about her ministry at victoryspeaks.org.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Originally published Thursday, 28 March 2019.