I am fiercely protective of those I love. God is even more so. He promises to defend all His children, including those in servant leadership positions. It is easy for average churchgoers to forget that their pastors are just as susceptible to being wounded by gossip, passive-aggressive bullying, slander, and unjust criticism.
Jesus understands pastors’ weariness as they deal with impossible expectations placed upon them by their congregants. On many occasions, He was exhausted from the ministry and slipped away to spend time with His family – Father and Holy Spirit. None of His disciples dared complain that He was putting His family ahead of His ministry.
Some churchgoers live under deception. They believe that a ministerial title safeguards a person from weariness, emotional hurts and wounds. They think that pastors gave up their right to be human when they took the assignment to be in leadership. God thinks differently. God looks past the title and sees his precious child. More times than not, that child has no ally outside of the Holy Spirit from whom to find solace.
People leave a church because they were offended by an off-the-cuff remark or a judgmental criticism from someone within that church. And yet, pastors are wounded, criticised, and held to an impossible standard by people who feel entitled to do so. They are expected to soldier on, even as their wounds fester.
Pew-sitting critics believe they have the right to criticise because they are paying their pastors’ salaries. Many of those who say they pay the bills are the ones who slip a dollar or two into the offering basket every couple of months to justify that sense of entitlement.
I firmly believe that the church across the world would explode in effective evangelism, healing, and good works if congregations spent as much time praying for their pastors and ministry teams as they do complaining and worrying about the state of their church. However, simply not complaining about your pastors is not the answer. They need your prayers and words of encouragement. They need to be seen as brothers and sisters in Christ who face the same challenges that come with living everyday life that you do.
Sowed prayers of faith and encouragement will yield a better crop than hurled stones of criticism and complaint.
As I pray blessings upon my leadership, I cannot help but be blessed in return. Only good can come from my prayers for God’s refreshment, healing, and encouragement to be released over them. As my pastors are sheltered under God’s wing, they’ll have the space to seek vision and direction for their church.
Galatians 6:6-7 – “Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 – “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labour among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.”
1 Timothy 5:17-21 – “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,’ and, ‘The labourer deserves his wages.’ Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.”
Hebrews 13:17 – “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
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Until Next Week
© 2022 Katherine Walden
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