Thursday, March 19, 2009

Shepherd and Sheep Series-How to Encourage Your Pastor

Discouragement is a pastor killer. The Lord's Sheep have a wonderful opportunity to be of great encouragement to God’s under shepherds. Your pastor would be encouraged if he knew you were praying for him consistently. Even the Apostle Paul pleaded for the prayers of those to whom he ministered. He also told them how to pray. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:18-19). Your pastor would appreciate help with routine tasks so that he could maintain his God given priorities.” When a pastor is expected to do everything, he has little time for the primary ministry to which God has called him. It was for this reason that Godly assistants were chosen in the early church. Then the apostles could give themselves…continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). Your Pastor is encouraged when people come to church expecting to receive a message from the Lord. Rather than evaluating or critiquing the points of the sermon, a Christian who is hungering and thirsting after God’s Word will be alert for insights and direction through songs, prayers, messages, the reading of the Word, or Scripture which God brings to their mind during the service. Nothing encourages a pastor more than reports of those who were hearers and doers of the messages which God used him to bring. (See II Corinthians 3:1-6). Your Pastor is strengthened by members who work for harmony within the church. Harmony begins by each member being in a right relationship with the Lord. It is strengthened by a friendly smile and a word of encouragement whenever Christians meet together. It is guarded and protected when members refuse to spread gossip. And if broken, it is restored when Christians ask forgiveness when they have been wrong. “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3). Your Pastor is grateful when members offer special assistance prior to a major church event. Often a person whom the pastor was counting on finds that he is unable to carry out a responsibility due to sickness, conflicting responsibilities, or the need for further assistance. One pastor stated, “Whenever a person calls before a major event, I can always thing of several things that he could do that would help me out.” Your pastor is thankful for members who honor the Lord in their finances and give in obedience to His direction. True giving occurs when members dedicate the ownership of all they have to the Lord and live in harmony with His principles. One of these principles involves laying in store as God prospered you during the past week. (See II Corinthians 9:7). A wise pastor knows that those who sow generously will reap generously and those who sow sparingly will reap sparingly. (See II Corinthians 9:6). He is also aware that whatever is given to the ministry of the Lord constitutes eternal treasures which are laid up for the giver in heaven. (See Matthew 6:19-21). Your pastor is challenged by members who have an effective witness in the community and who are leading others to Christ. A healthy church is not only growing by those who receive Christ during the services but by those who are witnessed to during the week. Pastors are overjoyed when they see members bring to the church those to whom they have witnessed during the week. This is what took place in the early church. “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). Based on these ideas, can you say that you are participating in the action described in Ephesians 4:16? “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Which one of these could you do right now to encourage your pastor today? Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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