By Kelsey Bruxvoort
Growing up as a Pastor’s Kid I loved the attention. How could you not love getting candy and cookies all the time because people found you cute as a button. However, I hated the fact that I felt pressure to be perfect in every way, from how I looked to how I acted to what I said.
Those expectations are not just of pastor’s kids they are of pastors and their wives as well. People automatically look to pastors as the example of godliness. Now, several years later, I can look back and understand that pastors are people, too.
Because of my experience growing up as the child of a pastor I can see that there are several things that we can do as members of the congregation to support our pastors and their families. Here are a few.
We need to give our pastors permission to be who God created them to be. We are all of the same sinful nature. We should not place unrealistic expectations on them. Let’s not compare them to the previous pastor or to the television evangelist we watch on Saturday night.
God created each of us with a purpose. This goes for pastors too. First and foremost our pastors are children of God and should be encouraged to live as such. God wants our body and our head to work together. To make this happen pastors, just like all other individuals, need to take care of themselves physically and spiritually. They need to allow for rest, for time to spend with God, for time to enjoy hobbies. In other words, they need balance. God created the Sabbath for a reason and He created it for all of His children.
We need to help protect our pastor’s time and commitments. I can remember so many times when my father was not able to attend my school or sports events because of church commitments. It still hurts to think about it. We need to understand that pastors have families and need to spend quality time with them. It’s okay for them to say no to some of the invitations that we as members of the church issue. They can’t possibly attend every meeting, every gathering, every celebration and party. We need to allow them to set realistic priorities. I believe that God would have their priorities be, God first, family next and then the church. In the world we criticize men and women who put their careers before their family but in the church we expect that of our pastors.
We need to pray for our pastors and their families. We need to pray for
- their spiritual protection
- their opportunities to transform lives
- their ability to set good boundaries
- their health and welfare
And finally, we need to encourage our pastors. The Apostle Paul tells us to “encourage one another and build each other up.” We need to do this consistently, not just during Pastor Appreciation Month. A card, an e-mail, a text, a gift card, these are all great ways to show our pastors that we care about them.
God has given our pastors an awesome responsibility to lead and guide His church. God has given us an awesome responsibility to support and encourage our pastors.
Remember, a healthy pastor means a healthy church.