Why Your Pastor Needs Encouragement Now and How to Help

Andrew Roycroft | January 8th 2022

In 21+yrs of pastoral ministry, I have never spoken to so many weary colleagues. This isn’t the normal tiredness arising from the rigours of ministry life but is genuinely concerning spiritual fatigue.

Covid-19 has presented a perpetual front line for pastors—demanding lots of snap decisions without the benefit of long-term strategic planning. It is also a war of attrition, a long stand-off, a grinding battle against a continually morphing set of circumstances.

Ministry workers have not had firebreaks they normally enjoy. Even things like extensive pastoral visitation, hospital visits and fraternal gatherings have been absent or greatly restricted. Believe it or not, these provide fellowship and relief in the work. Rest does too.

Some things are certain. Your pastor and elders are ordinary people.

There has been perpetual decision-making as well as long-term uncertainty. Many pastors still don’t know what shape they or their church will be in post-pandemic.

Colleagues across the UK whom I regard as robust and seasoned servants of Christ are wrestling and struggling, and young pastors are perhaps questioning their whole future in ministry. Long after the pandemic, the effects of this will be felt.

I hesitate to call this a crisis, but it feels close to it. I’m not sharing this as a cry for help; I am in generally good fettle personally, and wouldn’t post about this if I wasn’t. But I’m burdened for friends whom I esteem in contexts outside of my own.

What can be done? 

1. Please pray for your pastors and elders. Examine what the ratio is between the time you spend discussing their approach and the time you spend praying for their souls. There might be room for repentance and a rededication to upholding those with pastoral responsibility. 

2. Remind yourself of why you committed to your local church. If this is a bumpy period, consider your covenant and vows and settle yourself to ride this storm out, even if you don’t agree with everything that is happening. Tell your pastors and elders that you’re doing this.

3. If you’re close to your pastors and elders, ask them how they are. Minister to them. If you’re not close to a pastor/elder, find someone who is and ask them to check in. Find areas where you can be affirmative and supportive. Perhaps read a book like the one linked at the bottom of this post. 

Some things are certain. Your pastor and elders are ordinary people. Many have broken hearts. Many are wrestling with personal and family issues of their own. They can feel helpless, commodified, and marginalised. They are breakable. They need prayer. They need you.

The Book Your Pastor Wishes You Would Read

The Book Your Pastor Wishes You Would Read

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Caring for your pastor and the difference it makes.

Andrew Roycroft

Andrew has been in pastoral ministry for 18 years, and served for a short while as a missionary in Peru. He is currently the Pastor of Millisle Baptist Church in Northern Ireland,  is married to Carolyn and has two daughters. Andrew serves as a visiting lecturer in Biblical Theology and Apologetics at the Irish Baptist College, and is part of the organizing committee of the Irish Men’s Convention. Andrew is presently studying part-time for a PhD in historical theology, which he fits in around ministry, family life, running, reading, and hill-walking. He is a regular blogger on ministry-related issues, and provides articles and book reviews to a number of Christian magazines and websites.

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