Saturday Sermon: Pray for your pastor
"We're leaving this church, Pastor, and I'm here to tell you why. It's not your fault, but (Blank)."
- John 17: 20-26
No matter what you fill in the blank, that pastor has to suffer for someone's mistake or misunderstanding. It's one of many slaps in the face these men, called by God for service, have to suffer. They have to endure the brunt and stress of almost everything that goes wrong in the congregation. They are peacemakers, administrators and spiritual leaders, among many other things. There is no way possible seminary training can teach them all the things they will be confronted with in the congregation.
Though I graduated from seminary and preach almost every week, I have never filled a pastor's job in a church. I have many friends who pastor in many different Christian churches. No matter what denomination, they all have many similar problems. Somehow, God seems to use the best and the worst of men to suit His purpose. To be a human is always a learning experience. To reach maturity takes a lifetime. Wisdom comes with experience and humility, not with age.
All people perceive things in different ways. Pastors are no exception. Some are better preachers and some are better at pastoral people skills. Some are dynamic at one and poor at the other. You may get lucky and get one that's great at both. Some are even great counselors and gifted at hospital ministry. Even if they are great at everything, they will sometimes offend people because they misunderstand the situation. Usually when this happens, your perception about what he does or says is wrong. Sometimes his is.
Any problem can be corrected if people work together in love. The greatest gift your pastor can give his church is that he concentrates his love toward God. When he does this, he will address your problem with love. His nature is then guided by God's love. His job then becomes easier and better. But we must realize pastors are human, and sometimes they do make mistakes. We need to love them and pray for them always.
October was designated as Pastors' month. It's great when people recognize their hard work. Pastors are no different than others. They like to be loved and appreciated. But even if you don't remember, they will be there if they know you need them.
So today, I'd like to take this time to ask you to pray for your pastor. If he does his job, he prays for you, just as Jesus prayed for you in the Garden (John 17). Jesus prayed for your Christian friends, too. If Jesus took time to pray for you, don't you think you should pray for your pastor and friends, too? It makes things so much easier and understanding so much better.
One of my friends accepted a pastorate in a nearby town, and on his first Sunday, he was very nervous. He reached his Easter pulpit and saw a rose on the pulpit with a note. The note read, "Pastor, when you see this rose, remember someone in the congregation is praying for you." He said he was immediately at ease. It made his first sermon much better. Every week, he found the rose in the pulpit. He said it was very comforting to know no matter how difficult his sermon or job was, someone was praying for him.
Pray for your pastor. God has placed him in this position. It isn't easy, and he needs all the help and prayer he can get. Amen.
May God bless you all.
Charles Placker is a licensed minister who writes for the Victoria Advocate.