I want to share a blog written by a pastor’s wife who has lived this story. I know many of you could have written it as well, but I pray it will be an encouragement to you and that you can share it with some of your church members to help them see how they should treat their pastor.
He was a struggling pastor, discouraged and financially strapped. He spent most of his days in the Word of God, studying to gain insight, approval and wisdom. He received 2 degrees in less than 4 years. This was how he chose to spend his time, to better his preaching, his relationship with God and to better the Church.
The degrees were beneficial, but not free. There were other bills to pay that came with growing kids and a family to feed. Many times, “Peter was robbed to pay Paul” and money was tight. Some things that were needful and attainable for others were pushed down the priority list and became not needful nor attainable for the pastor and his family, like haircuts, new clothes and shoes, basic dental care, health insurance and yearly trips to the Doctor.
He did his best to provide for his family on half of what he made in the secular world. There would be no vacations for several years because the money just wasn’t there to do so. Pay raises that had been promised never happened. When he did receive a pay raise he had to ask for it and that was very difficult for him. When he or his wife spoke of their needs or fears, they were quickly put in their place by others with phrases like, “Where is your faith? Don’t you know God will take care of you? You’re blessed in other ways”.
He was a discouraged pastor, struggling to not give up and quit. As his youth was becoming a thing of the past, he couldn’t help but be concerned about retirement and a home. He and his family had lived in church owned homes for 15 years. What would they do when their time at the church was up? Where would they go? All these thoughts and the weight of his reality weighed heavily on him. He became sick. He lost nearly 30 lbs in a small time frame. His wife worried about him. How could she not?
Everyone is quick to say, “God will take care of you, preacher.” Well, can you put the title to the side and just see a man? Why does everyone think he is some super spiritual being? You have the same access to God that he has. Please, don’t classify him as someone who doesn’t have needs and even desires. If you couldn’t survive on his paycheck, why do expect him to survive on it? He’s just a human being with a wife and a family to support. Look and see a normal man with normal desires to provide for and take good care of his family. He’s just a man. His wife is just a woman. His kids are just normal kids who want a normal life.
This may be hard for some of you to hear, but I make no apologies for what I’m about to say. Your Pastor truly needs your support and not just a, “Hey, I enjoyed that, Preacher” while going out the door on Sunday morning. He needs to know you really appreciate the sacrifices he is making. Sacrifices that affect him and his family. He needs to know that you have his back when times get tough and if he comes to you with a personal need, concern or burden, please know, he is taking a huge chance on you to be understanding and helpful. Your pastor needs to be supported properly. He shouldn’t be making just enough to get by. He should not be living on or near poverty level. What is the median household income for your area? He should at least be making that. At least. Are you able to take a vacation? Your pastor should be able to as well. Do you have a nice home and car? Is there any reason why your pastor shouldn’t have those things as well?
Your Pastor needs your support by you being faithful. He prays and studies all week for Sunday and it is very discouraging when you are not faithful. Most of the time, you could be there, but you choose not to be. This is so hurtful to your Pastor. What would it look like if your Pastor was as faithful as you? Seriously? What would that look like? Your Pastor’s main job is to preach the Word, everything else is secondary. Too often people forget this and they want him to be doing other things that workers in the church should be doing. We all have a part. If you see something needs to be done, may be God is telling you to do it.
And something else your pastor needs is trusted friendships. How rare that is for pastors, especially in the church. You can be a friend to your Pastor. Be there for him. Tell him you got his back and mean it. Help him in areas he is lacking. Don’t talk to others about his weaknesses. Don’t put him down for not reaching perfection. Pray for him. Be understanding that he is not going to do everything right and be everything to everybody.
Please know your Pastor cares deeply for you. He prays for you and your family. He wants to help you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He wants your kids and grandkids to come to the Lord. Don’t take that for granted. If your Pastor has led a family member of yours to the Lord, thank him. Bless him, if you have an opportunity to do so. The Bible says, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due”. Don’t just say you appreciate the man, your Pastor, show him. Show him! He already carries a heavy load, please, be sure you’re not adding to it, but helping him carry it. I really believe, God will reward you for it.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-14. And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
1 Timothy 5:17-18. Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”
I know this may be preaching to the choir so to speak, but my prayer is that you would have a trusted friend you could share it with who may help educate others on how your pastors needs their prayers and support.