In July of 2018 my pastor at Antioch in Conway, Arkansas, Dr. Jason Aultman, asked each of the national and state department directors who were church members to preach one Sunday of the month. I felt led to share a message titled “How to Be Your Pastor’s MVP (most valuable player),” which was my version of an effort John Maxwell spearheaded in the early 2000s.
The thesis of the message was to convey that the single most important thing we can do for our pastor is pray for him daily. Not making supplication on his behalf through vague prayers, mind you, but interceding with specificity.
Charles Spurgeon stated that our prayer life can often be likened to us browsing through a department store: We go here and there meandering around but really don’t put much thought into what we are doing.
To aid our church in implementing the challenge of the message, I asked our pastor beforehand for his three greatest prayer needs. I assert that the three requests he made known then are applicable to all pastors, missionaries, and ministers at large today. Please consider the following when praying for your leader.
Unless you have experienced living in a pastor’s family, you have no idea of the inherent burden that some church members place on his wife and children. According to Brian Croft in a May 2020 article in Tabletalk magazine, “Eighty percent of pastors surveyed said the ministry has had a negative effect on their families.”
He further states that research shows a majority of church members expect their pastor and his family to live at a higher moral standard than they live themselves, leading to the proverbial ‘glass bubble.’”
A church leader needs enough margin to pastor his family before he pastors the church. Members should be mindful of boundaries that allow him to prioritize his investment in his wife and children. Years ago Bro. Arnold Knight shared, “After looking back over my ministry, I wish I had spent more time with my kids and less time worried about disgruntled church members.”
Sundays come awfully fast. Because of many peripheral responsibilities, a pastor’s time in the Word may often be confined to sermon preparation. Such action does not necessarily build his spiritual vitality.
In his book Leading on Empty, Wayne Cordeiro claims that 85% of what we do we could delegate, 10% of what we do we could train someone to do, but 5% of what we have to do only we can do. This top 5% relates to his wife and children (as mentioned earlier), his health, and his time with the Lord. Our pastor must have the marginal latitude to focus on his top 5%, and at the top of that list is his personal walk with God. He cannot lead us where he has not been, and he cannot give us what he does not have.
A Clear Vision
In Proverbs 29:18(a), Solomon writes, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” This verse does not refer to the importance of vision in leadership but to the importance of a clear understanding of God’s Word and directives.
The pastor has a heavy responsibility to seek divine revelation then lead his people accordingly. His challenge is to discern the difference in the latest leadership fads and the timeless truths of God’s Word.
Next, as Henry Blackaby states, he must not “sell the vision” but communicate what God has revealed, trusting the Holy Spirit to prepare hearts. This is no small task, and divine intervention on behalf of his flock is paramount.
In conclusion, to the pastors of our churches, you have what I consider to be the highest calling in the world. This calling is the passion of your life. Consequently, though you and your family may not be tired of ministry, you may be tired in ministry. So don’t try to be a lone ranger. Share your burdens with your church and give them an opportunity to intercede on your behalf.
To the members of our churches, let’s be faithful to pray specifically for the following:
– that God will bless your pastor’s family so that they may thrive in their calling
– that God will sustain your pastor’s spiritual vitality so that he may thrive in his preaching
– that God will make his vision crystal clear to your pastor that he may thrive in his leading—all for the glory of God!