Yeats, John (web)

October: A great time to bless our pastors

Several decades ago a movement started to use October as a month to bless your pastor and/or staff members. According to Ephesians 4, a pastor’s role is to equip people in the church and encourage church members to reach their godly potential. This is both the most satisfying and daunting task you could ever imagine.

A pastor can lead the flock of God but he cannot make the sheep consume all that God has for them. That is the role of the great motivator, the Holy Spirit. There are days in ministry that disappointment and discouragement overwhelm the man of God. And there are days when he understands the vital importance of his ministry in pointing people to the ways of God.

To assist the people of God in blessing the man of God, I offer the following suggestions:

1. Jump on the bus. Don’t just be a spectator or armchair ecclesiastical quarterback calling out from the sidelines. Be faithful to attend and demonstrate your willingness to embrace the church’s mission. Studies show this kind of attitude will bless your life and your family for generations. Be ready to see how God can use your giftedness and skills to bless others in the name of Jesus. Being part of the team blesses your pastor. Remember, we do what we do in and through the church to lead others to Christ.

2. Let him drive the bus. You called your pastor to lead your church, so let him lead. The Word of God says, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the Word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith … Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who give account.” Heb. 1:7, 17a. The men of God I know understand that the call of God on a pastor’s life is to lead His church, not for the pastor to dictate or manipulate His people. Like Moses leading the children of Israel or Nehemiah rebuilding walls, a pastor leads people through change with a destination in mind.

3. Be attentive. One of the best things I was taught to do as a believer was to carry my Bible to church and be prepared to take notes. Be active in your listening with a nodded head or an “Amen” or “You got that right” every once in a while. This lets the pastor know you are tracking with him. If you think your pastor is repeating himself too much, it could be because he doesn’t think you are “getting it” yet. Taking notes on what he is teaching helps him know you are engaged in learning from the Word of God through him.

4. Pray for him. There is not a day that your pastor doesn’t need your intercession. He counts on it and believes your calling out to God in his behalf fortifies him to fulfill his purpose of equipping saints with the basics for engaging the enemies of God and leading people to discover the truth about God’s provision through Christ Jesus our Lord.

5. Pay the fare. While the church does not have dues, it does mean we are called to be faithful stewards of our resources by tithing through our local church. Just so there is no confusion, I am not a legalist. However, I do believe that giving at least 10 percent of my income to my local church is a testimony that my God owns all that I call mine. Faithful stewardship always blesses a pastor with a sense that the people of God are growing disciples.

6. No talking in the back. In these days, public leaders, like your pastor, are targets of incessant criticism. If you hear criticism, consider the source. Sometimes negative words are the product of a hardened heart. Save legitimate concerns for a private conversation. Remember, criticism behind someone’s back is actually gossip and, when distributed, it has the potential to illegitimately harm a leader’s reputation, credibility and trust.

7. Look for ways to encourage. I have a file that is full of encouraging cards, notes and blessings. Some of these words of encouragement were sent directly to me or intended for my wife and family. As I look through them and reflect on the people who gave them to me, I’m encouraged to press on in deeper faith. Praise doesn’t cost anything but it sure pays dividends.

Use this month as an opportunity to pour out a blessing on your church’s pastor and/or staff. Recognize your pastor for his leadership. If you want to give a generous love gift, know that God has a way of blessing the church that is openly generous with their church leaders.