Sometimes I listen to my pastor on Sunday morning and can’t help to marvel at the knowledge that God has given him. I notice Elders counseling with various members of our congregation multiple times a week.
They have it all together, don’t they! Of course our leaders don’t fall into the same temptation that the rest of us do, right? They know the Bible forwards and backwards. They are the ones that we go to for counsel. They have a good knowledge of the Scriptures and put it to work. The time they spend studying God’s word is evident. The wisdom that they each contain and their desire to follow it is undeniable. They are men of God. They would never ever fall to sin, right?
Wrong! Very, very wrong!
First, let’s be clear about who the leaders of the church are. We often think of the pastor as the leader and that’s true. He is a leader but he, alone, is not “the leader”. When we speak of the leadership in our churches, that also includes the Elders.
Please remember that our pastor and Elders are human too. This is too easily forgotten. Sometimes we hold them in such high esteem that we forget that they too have a family with needs. They too have a wife that would like a little bit of attention once in a while. They too are tempted to sit in front of the tv instead of sit in front of their Bible. They are not above any sin.
We too often forget that there is a spiritual warfare going on all around us. Think about it, who would Satan love to see fall? Who does Satan target? Who can do the most damage to Christ’s name?
Someone in leadership.
And when Satan attacks these men, do you know where he most often strikes? In their families. Because if he can destroy the leader’s family, he can destroy his ministry and discredit any teaching that he has done. Ouch!
All too often we forget to pray for these faithful men. We may feel that they are so much above us that we mistakenly think that they don’t need our prayers. But nothing could be further from the truth. They need prayers as much as anybody does. Perhaps more.
Because right now, as you are reading this, Satan is attacking. He is scheming. He is planting seeds of discontentment in your pastors’ family. He is doing all he can to create discord and chaos.
If you have the thought that your leadership doesn’t fall into temptation, remember King David. He was chosen by God to be king. He was the first Godly king and was blessed greatly by the Lord. He is remembered as one of Israel’s greatest kings and is described as a “Man after God’s own heart,” (1 Samuel 13:14). But he fell into the temptation of his lust for Bathsheba. And Christ came from his family! Nobody is above sin. Nobody!
So what can we do to help them?
1. Pray, pray, pray!!! I cannot stress this enough. Pray that the Lord will give them strength, wisdom, and diligence with their time. Pray that God will give them rest. Pray that they will have unity with their wives and children. Pray for their whole family.
2. Encourage them. Sounds simple, right? Yep, it is. Yet it is something that few of us often do. It does not take long to write out a simple note letting them know of the appreciation you have for the time they have devoted to their ministry and invested in you.
3. Encourage their wives. Usually wives are behind the scene. But your leadership could not do their job as well as they do if their wives were not supporting them. Realize that they make sacrifices too for the sake of the Kingdom. And this sacrifice is often a loss of time with their husband. They choose to share their husband with you. And on occasion, I’m sure they would like to know you appreciate this.
4. Be respectful. Remember that your leaders are husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons. While they would really like to attend every function that the church hosts, every birthday party that they are invited to and visit with each church member every Sunday morning, they just can’t do it all. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. They MUST make time for their family too.
Please don’t misunderstand me, we ought to take advantage of their wisdom and counsel. To seek Godly influence and instruction is a good thing. No pastor, Elder, any of their wives or children would ever want you to feel like you could not speak with them.
It is a good thing to develop relationships with our leadership. They need friends too. Nobody wants to feel left out. This also gives us a window into their everyday lives so that we have a better knowledge of how to pray for them.
What I am saying is that they do have a lot of responsibilities. If you invite them over for supper and they decline, please don’t be offended or get upset. Just realize that it may be an opportunity for him to reconnect to his family. He is working hard to guard time with his family and not allow Satan a foothold there. Grant grace and be respectful.
While this post is meant to be about the necessity of praying, encouraging, supporting, loving, and being respectful to our leaderships and their families, the truth is that we all need these things. We all need to be prayed for. We all need encouragement. We all need to respect one another’s time. Truly, we each need to realize that Satan uses busyness to whittle away our family time. We must diligently guard against that and our church leadership is no different.
Even the notion that church leaders have it all together is an attack on their family. Because it is 100% complete deception. Just because God has placed them in a place of leadership does not mean that they are immune to sin. It means they are attacked more.
The reality is that church leaders are just like you and me, someone who is striving to model Christ. This month is Pastor Appreciation Month. So it seems fitting that this would be the perfect time to begin storming the gates of heaven for them, letting them know how much we appreciate their investment in us, and the sacrifice their families make for us. Let’s do all we can to encourage them and their family. Let’s show them that we support them, love them, and value them and their time.