I’m a pastor by calling. For eight years I’ve been involved in a somewhat different role of ministry, though I still get to do a bit of pastoral work. These days I can speak to the thought of pastoring from a different perspective and my comments not be seen as overly self-serving.
The Greek word for pastor is the same word translated “shepherd.” According to a recent USA Today article, a keeper of sheep is one of the most under-paid laborers in North America. Unfortunately in today’s cultural climate to have the term “Pastor” attached to your life does not mean one is held in high regard by the community. That lack of respect only changes with much hard work, showing integrity and being a person who deserves to be respected.
- Accept him as a person and not just as a parson. Let him know you accept him as he is.
- Build him up. Say "thank you” for some specific thing he or she has done.
- Communicate with him.
- Do all you can to defend him when someone is trying to run him down. I’m not talking about defending the indefensible, but go directly to him to speak of any concern. Tell others that it is a Biblical requirement for them to do the same.
- Entertain him. He likes to enjoy life too. For me – banana pudding is a wonderful form of entertainment! If the pastor is a golfer, buy some golf balls or green fees for him. Do something similar if he is a hunter or fisherman.
- See that he has a family life. If he is bi-vocational, he likely has no more than 10-15 hours of each week to devote to the ministry. Respect his wife and children’s need for him.
- Be genuine. Be honest with him. Be yourself around him.
- Honor him. DO not put him on a pedestal, but respect him. If you are a leader take responsibility for your pastor to be honored one Sunday this month. If you are not a leader, suggest it to someone who is. Perhaps print this article and highlight relevant portions.
- Provide him a decent income. Bring your tithes into the storehouse. Ten or fifteen tithe paying families can pay a pastor enough so that money is not a major concern for him.
- Don’t be overly judgmental. The fellow has a stressful job, and won’t always make the right decisions. Unfortunately, we expect him to never miss. As a former (and likely future) pastor I’le tell you now that even the best pastor misses on occasion. Give him grace!
- Be kind to your pastor. Kindness is expressed in how you treat all of his family.
- Love like in 1 Corinthians 13. The love depicted there is active. Love is not simply emotion, but it is active.
- Maintain the pastor’s family in every way possible. His family has the same needs as any other family in the Church, but of no other family is as much expected or demanded.
I don’t think we should put the ministry into an unrealistic position of being beyond question and always “up there” somewhere. Paul spent and entire chapter talking about his accountability regarding money. I’m not beyond question, nor should any of us be. However, this person watches for my soul – respect and honor are important.