Your pastor: are you wearing him out or helping him out?
I shared an article on Facebook about Pete Wilson resigning from Cross Point, the church he helped plant and then pastored to megachurch status, and it got me to thinking:
Your pastor will either be run down or rested up. Which will benefit you (and the Kingdom) most in the long run?
Here are some ways you can help your pastor:
- Give him time to rest. “That’s what his days off are for” isn’t adequate. When you give him his vacation, let him unplug. Very rarely will your church experience true catastrophe while he’s out for a week. Some guardrails you can give to help him take his week (or two) of vacation are to make sure he sets up his email vacation responder, fill his pulpit for him, and even hold him to taking that time away with his family. And please, don’t make him feel guilty for taking his vacation.
- Give him access to someone off campus to get help. “That’s what his ministry friends are for” isn’t adequate. They can help, and often do, but your pastor needs a therapist or counselor outside of your congregation to get help from, regularly. Your pastor sees and hears things that break others hearts, and yet he hears more than a normal person ever will. And most pastors feel and empathize with each scenario. That kind of burden needs counseling, so help him clear his calendar somewhat regularly to take care of his soul.
- Lift him up. “We’ve got him at the top of our prayer list” isn’t adequate. His deacons/elders need to pour into him spiritually, keeping him fresh. Most churches don’t have systems in place to help spiritually feed the pastor, so where does he get it from? I’d venture to say most don’t, which is why Pete Wilson (and countless others) often run on empty. If you’re a deacon/elder, read a book with him. Pray over him at every deacons’ meeting. Ask him (not in public) how his spiritual walk is. One great question I heard a deacon ask recently was, “What question do you not want me to ask you right now? Let’s talk about that.”
- Bless his family. “That’s what his vacations are for” isn’t adequate. His wife hurts. The kids see dad absent a lot. And sometimes he gives up a Saturday putting final touches on his Sunday morning or evening sermon. Find ways to bless his family, whether it’s surprising them with a meal, or gifting them to a family outing (one guy gave us a family ticket to the zoo once!), or offering to babysit the kids so the pastor and his wife can invest in their marriage.
Will you wear him out or help him out?