“How can I help you, Pastor?” The man served in our church as a ministry leader. He ran a large business with several employees. He was a busy man, and yet he wanted to know how he could help me! I invited him to pray for me. Immediately he stood up, walked next to where I was sitting, placed his work-hardened hands on my shoulders, and asked God to bless his pastor. And he kept doing that for the next several years, dropping by my office each week to pray for me. It was his way of supporting me.
How can you support your pastor and staff in the ministry that you lead? Here are five ways you can communicate your support.
Know the Plans. When the Lord is directing His church, the ministries of the church will be moving together in the same direction. He already has the plan for your church – and His plan is the only one that matters! (Psalm 33:11) Consequently, the Lord often gives pastors a global view of the church and insight into the next steps that need to be taken by ministry leaders. Ask your pastor how your ministry area fits into the “big picture” of churchwide priorities and events. Discuss ways your work can best align with the overall mission of the church.
Raise the Team. One of the great challenges to your pastor is the ongoing need for new leaders. Jesus taught His disciples to pray for more laborers, and so should we! (Matthew 9:37-38) Without new ministry leaders, your church is just one generation away from extinction. Make raising up new leaders a lifelong priority with any ministry you lead (2 Timothy 2:2). Take advantage of the training opportunities provided by your pastor and staff, but realize that you are best qualified to train your team to do what you do. Give them opportunities to gain experience.
Tackle the Problems. Problems are an expected part of doing ministry in a fallen world. The early church in Acts experienced one difficulty after another—and each time the Holy Spirit had a way for them to turn the problem into an opportunity to accomplish their mission. Effective ministry leaders pray for wisdom to solve problems (James 1:5). Carry problems to the Lord before you carry them to the pastor. Pursue solutions and seek biblical outcomes. For example, look for ways to turn critical comments from others into constructive conversations. Lighten your pastor’s load by doing what you can to resolve an issue before involving him.
Tell the Stories. Share with your pastor and staff what God is doing in your ministry area. Several years ago, a ministry leader expressed concern that she was bragging when she reported her ministry’s “success,” choosing instead, not to say anything at all. Yet throughout the Bible, we find stories of God’s activity and greatness. Jesus taught that shining a spotlight on His activity is a primary way of giving Him the glory (Matthew 5:16). I suspect that the more we tell the stories of His work, the more stories He will give us to tell!
Bless the Shepherds. No pastor suffers from too much encouragement! When I have served in denominational roles outside of a local church, I had the opportunity to be “just” a church member with no professional duties. Knowing firsthand the steady flow of criticism that pastors experience, I decided that I would never criticize my pastor. I wanted him to hear positive feedback and words of affirmation from me. I wanted him to smile when he saw me coming, knowing I was coming to bless him in some way. Encouraged pastors are better pastors for the churches they serve (Hebrews 13:17). As a ministry leader you can say things to your pastor that can make his day or ruin his week. The choice is yours.
“How can I help you?” There are many times that ministry leaders have blessed me as a pastor with that question. Ministry leaders want to meet needs and make a difference, but they have discovered the personal joy and ministry effectiveness that comes from supporting their pastors and staff.