We Need To Talk About Your Pastor

Emily Robertson | May 6th 2019

My grandfather and dad were both full-time chaplains for the London City Mission, my father-in-law is a vicar, and my husband is an elder in our local church—while also studying part-time for an MA in Christian ministry. I live a close distance from men who aspire to shepherd God’s people and in so doing have chosen a bittersweet path. In public they are men who lead up-front, but in private they are often on their knees.

I think it’s true to say that ordinarily those who lead our churches can sometimes feel a little far-off. In fact, when we think about the role of those who step up to the plate every Sunday—if we do so at all—it can be easy for our thoughts to swing wildly…

On some days we may be deeply aware of the sacrifice the job of a pastor demands, while on others we might be tempted to wonder what it is they do all day(!), while finding criticism comes easily to our lips.

The Book Your Pastor Wishes You Would Read

The Book Your Pastor Wishes You Would Read

$9.99 $5.00

Caring for your pastor and the difference it makes.

Part of the problem might be that while our pastors take centre-stage at church on a Sunday, their day-to-day comings and goings often remain a mystery to us. Some of us may feel we know our pastor very well, while others may know very little about the person who serves them week by week. And so a feeling of disconnection can creep in as we lose touch with who they are, and how we can best serve them (if that thought ever occurs to us at all).

Whatever your experience of being ‘pastored’, the health and well-being of the person who is committed and responsible for shepherding your church family is of vital importance to the well-being of the church as a whole, and therefore to you. And while you may at times feel disconnected from the person who takes the pulpit each Sunday, it is right to remember that pastors are people too and that if we want a joy-filled church, we need to have a cared-for pastor.

So what exactly can we, as members of a local church do to motivate, encourage and bless our pastor in the role to which they have been called? In this warm and practical book—The Book Your Pastor Wishes You Would Read (but is too embarrassed to ask)—Christopher Ash unpacks some of the surprising ways in which we can care for our pastors in a way that really makes a difference—to them, to us, and to the church as a whole.

One simple thing to do today

Below is a short extract from the book outlining a simple action we can all take today that can have a profound impact on our pastors:

"We want to make sure our pastors live the kind of lifestyle that any wise Christian will seek to live—with time to wind down and get enough sleep, with opportunities for regular exercise, with activities that refresh. “So what do you do to relax?” “How much sleep do you get?” “Do you take exercise?” These are all the questions of a caring church. If the answers are “I don’t relax; I hardly sleep; I never get exercise”, then we will want to explore with our pastors why this might be. It may be their foolishness, in which case we want to help them learn wisdom. But insofar as it may be down to preventable pressures from the church, we will want to educate one another to keep that watchful loving eye over our pastors.

The feeling of being “stuck” is deeply demotivating: “I feel trapped. I sense I am not making progress. My life seems to be ebbing away in this miserable place, with no hope of growth or development.” How terrible if those dark thoughts are going round in the mind of our pastors. How much better they will pastor if we contribute to a sense that “I am growing, developing, maturing in godliness, in pastoral skills and abilities, and in wisdom. I am so thankful to serve a church who encourage me, help me and enable me so to grow.”

Why not stop and think, right now, about ways in which you can thoughtfully watch over your pastor to help them use their time well and wisely? This might mean asking your pastor how their holiday went or how well they are managing to take their days off. Or you could check with one of the elders/lay leaders to discover whether they pay for your pastor to go to any conferences. And if you know that your pastor is about to have time away—be that study leave, a conference or holiday—why not ask how you can pray for them? That’s a simple and very practical way to be an encourager."

In The Book Your Pastor Wishes You Would Read seasoned former pastor, Christopher Ash, urges church members to think about pastors not just in terms of what they do—how they lead and pray and preach and teach and so on—but about who they are. He encourages us to remember that pastors are people and to pray for them as they serve us. Buy it here

Emily Robertson

Emily is part of the Marketing team at The Good Book Company. She is married to Dave and has two daughters.

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