Last year I read Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas, a biography of the noted pastor who became a martyr during Hitler’s reign. Dietrich Bonhoeffer taught pastors, focusing on their prayer life as well as their knowledge of Scripture. Metaxas writes,”Bonhoeffer took preaching seriously. For him a sermon was nothing less than the very word of God, a place where God would speak to his people. . . Preaching was not merely an intellectual exercise….It was a holy privilege to be the vessel through whom God would speak.”
Pastors have a high calling from God and are most effective when, like Bonhoeffer, “they are entirely in God’s grasp.” Pastors engage in a demanding vocation. They need to be love, appreciated, encouraged and supported.
Pastors have played a huge role in my life. My father, grandfather and a brother-in-law were pastors. Here’s an excerpt from Changing Churches about pastors:
Pastors perform a variety of tasks and are on call, day in and day out. My father wrote in an old diary, "I’m excited about my first church, but it’s hard to imagine giving up my
Sundays and my weekends for the rest of my life."
Pastors follow a different schedule than most of us. They give up their weekends and
holidays —because they’re working. They’re in demand at odd hours—when people are sick, when tragedy strikes, and on happy occasions like weddings. Often their family life is slighted.
Pastors also suffer from the apathy of members. Parents who pour their hearts into their children know how it hurts when their children are indifferent. This is also true for pastors. John MacArthur says, “The toughest thing to deal with in the ministry is indifference.” Spurgeon, in the late nineteenth century, said the same thing, “Everywhere there is apathy. Nobody cares whether that which is preached is true or false. A sermon is a sermon whatever the subject; only, the shorter it is the better.”
Pastors and leaders are under attack from needy or disgruntled church members. They can’t possibly meet the expectations of every member, and Satan also is after them!
Chuck Swindoll, in his book, The Church Awakening says, “Any pastor who is doing the hard work of communicating the truth—and also living it—lives with a big, bold bull’s-eye on his chest. Every courageous pastor who speaks the truth is under the gun. He is in the direct line of fire from the adversary. . . Pray for your pastor! He needs it more than you can imagine. I urge you also to let him know of your commitment to pray for him.”
Christians, respect, value, and love your pastors and pray for them daily. They are human and have a difficult and holy job.