What is it like to walk in your pastors’ shoes? Does being your pastor bring them joy? Or does it make them groan?
Hebrews 13:17 (ESV) says:
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
I reached out to several pastors and their spouses to find out about the joys and the “groanings” they experience. I also asked how their church members could best support and encourage them.
I appreciated their candor. Here are snippets of what they shared with me.
They revealed it’s not easy for them to come alongside us in our struggles and strike the right balance between being there for us and helping us ultimately depend on God. It pains pastors when people feel offended when they (pastors) don’t do more.
These people of God genuinely enjoy the relationships they’ve built within their churches and communities. They’re hands-on and try to stay in touch with their congregation – even when they’re exhausted or dealing with their own personal or family issues. Many of them juggle a second job to make ends meet.
Sometimes our pastors end the day discouraged, wondering if their labor is bearing fruit. They often must pray for strength when people in their church don’t value their efforts. Based on the responses I received, the worst thing about being married to a pastor is when people in the congregation criticize their spouse.
On a positive note, our pastors and their spouses live to serve God and bring individuals to Christ. They rejoice every time they see someone’s life transformed by God’s grace. When they see that person invest and pour into others, pastors feel tremendous joy. Several said paying it forward is a great way to show our appreciation for all they do for us.
We can also thank our pastors and their spouses in tangible and practical ways by giving free babysitting services, a gift card to their favorite restaurant, or a paid fun getaway.
One pastor wrote that it would be an honor to help church members get started on a vision or service they feel God is calling them to. “I cannot think of anything that would show me more love than this.” (Don’t you love this?)
Above all, every pastor and their spouse said they coveted our prayers for them. I have no doubt that our prayers could make the difference in helping them shoulder their responsibilities with more joy and less groaning.
Let’s commit to praying for our pastors and their spouses every day. And then let them know we’re doing it.
What do you think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this post. (Others might also benefit from your comment.)
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