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Monday, December 13, 2010

"How To Get A Better Pastor"

This is an article from a friend who writes a daily devotional. I found it to be quite an accurate account of a pastor's daily life & also I loved his last 4 points.

Blessings,
Al

How to Get a Better Pastor

November 29, 2010
Sometimes I feel a little like the Wizard of Oz, a man who lives behind a curtain of misperceptions. One little girl saw me in the grocery store and said, "Mommy, God left the church." That's not good! Yet, even many adults do not really understand the reality of the daily life of ministers. Many perceive that pastors enjoy a relaxed lifestyle. In fact, a pastor is always a pastor wherever he goes. It's not a job, it's a way of life. He (Could well be a 'she' too, but I'm writing from my point of view.) awakens in the middle of the night with people's hurts on his mind, and lifts them to God in prayer. He must negotiate rapid shifts from emotional highs to lows; visiting a nursery and a funeral home on the same day, congratulating someone's achievement and sharing another grief on the same Sunday morning. Pastors provide the equivalent of spiritual and emotional Emergency Room care for their congregants. He must remain a student of Scripture and his world throughout his lifetime so that when he stands before the congregation to preach he is able to provide spiritual nourishment that connects with the people of God. And, he must deliver a message every Sunday - regardless of his personal state of mind or circumstances. And, he loves every minute of this life to which God has called him!



Yet, he is susceptible to becoming ineffective for many and various reasons.
So, how can you help to make your Pastor's better in his work?

1. Pray for him, everyday. - Spiritual leaders are front-line targets in the battle with evil, as they encourage people to stand with God. If a pastor falls, there is devastating fall-out suffered in many lives. Some even lose faith. Others conclude that Christianity is a fraud. Many lose their trust in pastors because they think all preachers are like the one whose sin was exposed. And even where there is no moral compromise, pastors know the attack of the Enemy through discouragement. So, pray for your Pastor - not for an easy life, but rather that God will keep and protect him, that he will be disciplined and courageous, and that he will finish the race well.

2. Readily accept his ministry with the spiritual gifts God has given to him. - Pastors are not equally adept at all kinds of ministry service. You bless your pastor if you appreciate and encourage him in his unique strengths. Understand that God has equipped him to minister in a way that will not be exactly like the ministry of your favorite preacher or that father-figure pastor who introduced you to Christ. He knows the gaps in his skills and gifts better than you do, but it will be a waste of his strengths if he is constantly pressed to 'fix' his perceived deficits rather than being encouraged in what he does best in God's service.

3. If you must criticize him, and no pastor is above correction or criticism, do it honestly, directly, and person to person. - Every pastor deals with "Mr. They Say" in his church. This mystery man whom few know, but everyone quotes, is ubiquitous! A good pastor will never respond to anonymous criticism because he has no context for it. Still, he wonders, "Does it mean that a majority feels this way, or is this just the opinion of the same two people who are never satisfied with anything I attempt?"



If you have an issue with your pastor, be mature about it. Don't play games, hinting at the difficulty. Know what you really want and be courageous to state it. If you think he's missed the mark, tell him first; not after you have told a dozen of your best friends. If he's wise, he'll listen and evaluate. He may have an explanation for the decision with which you disagree or he may have a higher priority than making you happy due to his principles, convictions, or demands of leadership of Christ's church.



Many people get angry with the pastor and fail to understand that they are actually angry at God! If you're mad at the Lord and admit it, your pastor can help you with your doubt or confusion but it will be doubly difficult for you both, if you're misdirecting your anger at him.

4. Don't idolize or idealize him. - Pastors are disciples of Christ, who are human. They are raising kids who don't always do what they're taught, just like you. Their marriage hit rough spots, just like yours. They have real emotions and fight temptation - just like you. Yes, you should expect him to live what he teaches, but not flawlessly because, like you, he's a sinner who is working out the implications of God's grace each day. If you make him into idol, you sin because only God is worthy of your worship and devotion. If you idealize him, thinking he's more or better than he is really is, you set yourself up for disappointment. You may then mistakenly transfer your disappointment to Christ which would be doubly tragic. When you put a minister on a pedestal, remember that you make his ability to serve you faithfully all the more difficult. He teaches you best, not from some lofty place far removed from your life, but as he is allowed to demonstrate, in ordinary circumstances, a living faith in a loving Lord.

Here's a word from the Word. "Appreciate your pastoral leaders who gave you the Word of God. Take a good look at the way they live, and let their faithfulness instruct you, as well as their truthfulness. There should be a consistency that runs through us all.... Be responsive to your pastoral leaders. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God. Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harder for them?" (Hebrews 13:7, 17 The Message) "Elders who do their work well should be paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "Do not keep an ox from eating as it treads out the grain." And in another place, "Those who work deserve their pay!" Do not listen to complaints against an elder unless there are two or three witnesses to accuse him." (1 Timothy 5:17-19, NLT)

Until Next Time,
Al

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