There is an old saying in “church world” – “If you want a better pastor… pray for the one you have.” The truth is, we should all want a better Pastor to the point of placing them on the alter and bathing them in daily prayer. I can assure you they want a better church too. Any Pastor worth their “salt” will pray for their church… their “flock,” if you will, every day as well.
A Pastor is an under-shepherd to The Great Shepherd – our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He (and he must be a man) has a huge responsibility and is accountable to God for how he leads, what he says and how he treats people. As a congregation, we are subordinate to our pastor’s leadership, but he is obligated to us and our spiritual betterment.
It is an interesting irony that we demand pastors be incredibly faithful men in all areas of their lives, yet they rely on the faithfulness of their flock for their living. Pastors are not perfect. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors and ages with different gifts, abilities and talents.
We expect them to like everybody and to be fair in their treatment of all their church members. Make those hospital visits, and don’t ignore anyone on Sunday. We want a leader with vision who serves without complaint and suffers in silence. Pastor – you better be available 24/7, ready to counsel through any crisis and help the poor soul who appears on the church’s doorstep.
Stay on top of those committees, have that sermon ready and study your Bible with a passion. Then be ready for that unexpected death, divorce, or pregnancy.
While it is true, no one held a gun to their heads, pastors who have truly responded to God’s call of full time vocational ministry, gave up not only an opportunity to pursue any number of professions, they also gave up any public right to the excuse-making we seem to embrace so easily. “I drink to unwind from the stress at work” one person says. “It was just an affair, no one got hurt” another person says. “We grew apart” they said. “Everyone has two sets of books…” they say. What if a Pastor said those things?
What about the flock? Are we good sheep or do we have too many blemishes? What about the rams? Are we willing to help fight off the wolf and bear and lion? Does the pastor even know he has any rams or do we all look like ewes to him? Do we let the shepherd lead or just wander all over the pasture seeing if we can hook up with more attractive flocks?
Jesus said “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). You can’t follow anyone you don’t allow to lead. Pray your pastors are following Christ, and then it will be much easier to follow your pastor. Hopefully our pastors understand there is a huge difference between wanting a better one and wanting a different one.