Weekly Thought – August 25, 2020
Fred encouraged pastors for he knew the pressures they faced. He watched his pastor Father minister to suffering men and women throughout the Depressions of the 1920s and 30s. He and Mary Alice were never members of a congregation without befriending the pastor and his family. This final excerpt from the address to a large Pastors’ Conference summarizes his last points.
A Layman Looks To His Pastor, part four
Depression is a natural ailment in the ministry. I have great compassion for this struggle. The nearer one gets to God the ore Satan fights. The sharpest arrows come to the most potent soldiers.
I have spoken to you about the pastoral responsibilities to the congregation. Encouraging you all is a primary responsibility of each congregant. Charles Spurgeon urged each member to include the pastor in daily prayer.
I was told a pastor’s wife once spoke to Mother Teresa when she was in Washington, DC. “What can I do to make a difference in my husband’s life and ministry?” The Sister with great compassion took the woman’s face between her gnarled hands and sweetly said to her, “Love your husband and children.”
Sometimes pastors just need enough encouragement to take the next step. Don’t you think we often need a pit stop more than a pep rally?
For good measure I am going to give you a 10th point:
10) I want my pastor to have a spirit of participating in the Body of Christ, not as an organization, but as an organism. I am a proponent of denominations because they decentralize power. A centralized church tends to become a political church. Control leads to ownership, not to stewardship.
However I want him to have fellowship with those who bear different denominational badges. I like the picture of heaven with John Wesley, John Calvin, Martin Luther gathered around a table sharing stories.
I don’t want my pastor creating tribal loyalties which exclude other faith traditions. When I hear Christian leaders criticizing others I like to ask, “Are they going to be in heaven?” Their positive response prompts me to say, “What right do you have to beat up on another member of the Body of Christ?” When there is legitimate need for doctrinal discussion in love we should try to be corrective, but not destructive.
Like the English priest who guided me through the Roman catacombs said, “My brother, it is not the form that separates us but the blessed hope of the resurrection which unites us.”
This list isn’t designed to create the “total pastor,” rather stimulate thought and conversation. I believe such conversation can contribute to a pastor’s finding accomplishment, meaning, and challenge enough for a lifetime of faithful ministry.
This week think about: 1) How can I encourage my pastor this week? 2) What would I add to Fred’s list? 3) As a pastor, what can I do to strengthen my congregation?
Words of Wisdom: “Sometimes pastors just need enough encouragement to take the next step.”
Wisdom from the Word: “For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope.” (Romans 15:4 NET Bible)