Published Jun 29, 2021
by Jerry McCullah
I want to encourage pastors, and at the same time, plead with church members to be aware of your pastor and go beyond to see into your pastor’s heart. Check your pastor’s spiritual condition and his physical well-being often, and also that of his family.
This past year and a half have been new, challenging and painful for pastors attempting to do ministry as self-imposed and congregationally imposed expectations on a variety of plains were not met. But then, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the playing field and the boundaries were redrawn.
Being a pastor under normal conditions is beyond challenging. Of course, the call of God to minister in His name is an extreme honor, but also has extreme sacrifices. Experiencing a broken heart is familiar to the call as pastor.
Oh, how it breaks my heart to:
- see how the evil one works to destroy the best lives and strongest families,
- watch people in our churches suffer pains and sorrows over the enemy’s attempt to draw their children into the most ungodly activities, or
- witness the self-destructive abuses which attempt to convince they are the better paths.
These are often helpless feelings within an already tired warrior pastor. When a friend and member of the church suffers the loss of a loved one, who is also your pastor’s friend, the pastor mourns and grieves as well. However, the pastor’s grief is usually alone. I have conducted 113 funerals to this point; I am familiar with the pain of grief. (The week after my mother’s funeral, I conducted the funerals of three of my members’ mothers. That was a tough, lonely week). Brother pastor, I feel your pain and fatigue, your difficult times and perhaps even those long dark periods.
However, I do not pretend to know or understand the depths of the things you face. And, I would never say they soon will be over. But, I am one preacher who has been in the depths of darkness, seemingly a half step from the pits of hell itself. While I never thought about or planned suicide, I confess, death looked pretty good from my position (staying in bed for days at a time. My memory of the time is a complete blur). However, I did come close to disappearing from sight. I thought if I would just disappear into the homeless arena, my family would be in a far better place. But, somehow, God stopped me from doing that.
All I can say is that you are going to make it in ways you and I cannot imagine.
So, hang in there and get help if needed. Hold on to the promises of Scripture even if they are hard to believe during your current circumstance. Don’t be afraid to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 800-273-8255. It is open 24 hours.
Dearchurch, before you regret it, intentionally care for your pastor.
- Pray for him, yes, but also pray over him often.
- Make sure you know his heart.
- Watch for signs of needing help (if you get close to him, you will recognize the signs that he needs help).
- Be sure he gets time away for relaxation, even if only a few days often.
The spiritual warfare pastors face is demanding (we know yours is too, but we are prone to carry some of the weight of yours as though it was our own).
Here are good suggestions in helping your pastor and church be successful:
- Be faithful in serving your church.
- Do not allow your pastor to do it all, even if it appears as though he wants to.
- Serve one another with gladness!
- Be faithful in attendance.
- Be on time.
- Expect to hear a Word from God.
- Show love and gratitude to one another, including your pastor.
- Be praying, loving and compassionate children of God.