Most pastors will admit that they have considered quitting and doing something else. Some are led by God to do so, others just imagine doing so, and the rest realize that God has called them to this task and so they continue. For the pastors who know that God has called them into pastoral ministry but are struggling with continuing on, this sermon is for you. While this sermon is from one pastor to another, it is shared publicly for the benefit of others. May God grant pastors the strength to carry on and grant all Christians greater clarity. Pastor, remember the following:
- Remember Who You Serve. Pastor, remember that you are a servant of Christ. When Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, he called himself a “bondservant” of Christ Jesus. This word literally means a slave: someone who is the sole possession of a master and owes complete allegiance to their master. Paul said that his Master is Jesus and demonstrates this in Galatians 1:10: “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Pastor, your actions must be guided by the desire to serve Christ and please Him, not anyone else. Practically speaking, if you are being faithful to God, it does not matter what anyone else thinks. While it is important to remember that you are a bondservant of Jesus, you also must remember that you serve others in Jesus’ name. Pastors are not the rulers of the local church, but the chief servant of the church. Pastor, the church is not your master, Jesus is; and Jesus has placed you in the local church to shepherd and “keep watch over their souls” (Heb 13:17).
- Major on the Majors. Pastor, there are many aspects of the pastorate and it can easily become overwhelming. There is sermon preparation, ministry meetings, committee meetings, visits at the hospital/home/nursing home, counseling sessions, phone calls, etc. All these aspects are important and it is imperative that you wisely invest your time. While pastoral ministry is important, you must not neglect to spend time with Christ and your family daily. Sermons need to be written, but they cannot be written by a spiritually dry pastor. Meetings need to be attended, but not to the neglect of meeting with God. Visitation is necessary, but do not fail to visit with your family to let them know how much they mean to you. Do not neglect your family.
- Jesus is Enough. Pastor, it is normal to end the day with the feeling that more could be done. There are always phone calls to be made, emails to be read, visits to be made, and there is always more that could be said or said better in the sermon. On top of the demands you place on yourself, there are the demands that others place on you. Maybe you do not visit someone enough, maybe you did something or did not do something that upset someone else. Pastor, remember that another person’s priorities may not necessarily be your priorities. Pastor, never forget that Jesus is enough. This is the most important aspect of the pastorate. Your motivation for serving is Jesus. Jesus is the One you are ultimately serving. Jesus will guard you when people stand up and cheer and Jesus will sustain you when people revile you and jeer.
Being a pastor is a noble task (1 Tim 3:1) but not an easy one. Pastor, remember that you serve to please your Master: Jesus Christ. As you serve Him, serve others with gladness.
Grow Group Guide
I Will Pray for My Church Leaders (1 Timothy 3:2-5)
As a result of this sermon, prayerfully consider making the following pledge to God to be a functioning Church member:
I am a church member. I will pray for my pastor every day. I understand that the pastor’s work is never ending. His days are filled with numerous demands that bring emotional highs and lows. He must deal with critics. He must be a good husband and father. Because my pastor cannot do all things in his own power, I will pray for his strength and wisdom daily.
Questions for Study: (From “I Am a Church Member”)
- Using scriptural backing, explain why the pastor’s family is such an important factor in his ministry.
- What is meant by “above reproach” in 1 Timothy 3:2? Is that standard even possible for the pastor?
- Explain the implication of the devil’s trap in 1 Timothy 3:7.
- What is the meaning of “outsiders” in 1 Timothy 3:7? Why should they be a concern to church members or pastors?
- Find some key passages in the Bible where intercessory prayer takes place (someone praying for someone else). Relate those passages to praying for your pastor.
The Perfect Pastor
The perfect pastor preaches no more than 20 minutes and spends 20 hours per week on each sermon. He condemns the sins that I don’t commit and excuses the sins I do commit. He is always available when I call. He spends most of his time at church in the office in case someone were to stop by. On top of that, he is always in the community making at least 5 house visits per day and sharing the gospel with others. He has a burning desire to work with teenagers and spends most of his time with the senior adults. He works from 8am until midnight. The perfect pastor makes $40 a week, wears good clothes, drives a nice (but not too nice) car, buys good books, and donates $30 a week to the church. He is 29 years old and has 40 years of experience. He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his church.
Modified from an advertisement that first appeared in the Rochester Courier Journal in September 1981.