What we owe our pastor
By Teresa A. LeNeave
Two things happened this week that inspired this article. First, a reader gave me a photocopy of What I Owe My Pastor. I don't know where they got it so I can't give credit to the author. All I can tell you is that I did not write it. Second, this week, my daughter's pastor preached his last sermon at Community Fellowship Church admidst a lot of tears and sadness from his congregation. CFC is a growing and active church. They have two Sunday morning services and hundreds of members. He was a much loved pastor, but left for another church he felt God called him to. He will definitely be missed.
With those two things happening I couldn't help but think about the relationship between a pastor and his flock. I think the pastor-member relationship is a relationship like no other. People look to their pastor to help solve all their problems. They ask hard questions and expect him to know the answers. They expect him to be honest above all others; to be on call 24/7; to be available for all unexpected crisis; and to be at the hospitals, nursing homes and the funerals. He is there for the weddings, the births and the deaths. He is expected to hear, and convey, the message God has for the church body. All this causes a bond of trust and love between a pastor and the congregation. The Bible says a true pastor is a shepherd. As such, we, the members of each church, look to our shepherd for spiritual guidance.
The question is, "Do we owe our pastors anything for all they do for us?"
I need to say here, you can't paint everything, and everybody, with a broad brush because some pastors are not really pastors at heart. Some are just preachers. But, if your pastor is a true pastor, s/he deserves honor as mentioned in the following piece that a reader gave me this week:
What I Owe My Pastor
REVERENCE. I owe my pastor reverent attention while he is preaching the living Word of God. I should not be disrespectful by talking or checking cell phone messages, or disrupting the service in any way. I owe my pastor the courtesy of attention when I go to church. I owe my pastor the courtesy to teach this to my children.
TRUST. I owe my pastor trust. Trust that he hears from God, and that his messages are for my benefit, sent to teach me a better way of living.
PROTECTION. I owe to my pastor the protection of kind silence and prayer if I hear someone slandering him or my church. I owe him the honor of not participating in the gossip, but standing up for him when possible because I understand he has difficulties in life just like we all have.
ENCOURAGEMENT. I owe to my pastor encouragement in that I don't burden him right before the service with my personal gripes or disapprovals. I understand this hinders the work of the Holy Spirit, for he is trying, at the time, be in an attitude of worship.
PRAYER. I owe to my pastor to pray for him each day. He has the burden of many, many people on his heart. Even Apostle Paul requested prayer. If Paul needed prayer, then I know my pastor needs and wants it as well.
AID. I owe my pastor aid to help in his ministry of the church, when and where he needs me.
APPRECIATION. I owe my pastor a kind word of appreciation when his ministry is helpful and encouraging to me. Appreciation strengthens him and helps to bond the body of Christ in unity.
TIME. I owe my pastor my time for his time. I expect him to study and pray and have a message for each service. I owe him my time to come and listen to the message he prepared for me.
So now, what do you think? Do you owe these things to your pastor? If you owe it, it may be time to pay up.