LET YOUR PASTOR LIVE NORMALLY
By S. G. Norris
Do you know that most ministers are preaching far below their ability? Do you realize that many of our churches would receive far better sermons if their minister was permitted to be normal? I do not mean that our ministers are subnormal in intellect nor reluctant to use their ability for God and the people. The old prophet stated a truism many years ago when he trumpeted forth. . . “Like people, like priest.” In other words, whatever caliber the people are like, so also will their minister be tainted by the same color.
The deep cry in the heart of every minister is to be normal, to be able to live a normal life, to be able to think, read, pray, preach and talk in a normal manner instead of being influenced by a number in his congregation that do not walk with God. The members in an assembly that do not live close to the Lord’s will are constant influences against the minister being normal. Because of their thoughts and ideas as to what the will of a Holy God is in the church, their own minds and lives only barely exist above the surface of the world.
Many ministers are forced to live subnormal lives and their families the same. The pressure of the lukewarm, the worry of the backbiter, the uneasiness of the critic, the burden for the sinner, (although I believe the burden for the sinner is the least of all). Because of these things the average pastor does not have opportunity to worry about the sinners. His time is consumed with the flock already in the fold, or about to leap out of the fold. All tend to make the minister subnormal. If our ministers could live normal lives, practically all of our churches would fill to overflowing. He could concentrate on the unsaved and preach inspiring sermons that would win the lost to a church that was on fire for God.
When a minister has to worry about you because you won’t pray–but gossip, when you won’t seek God for souls–but criticize; when you won’t pay at least your tithes and he has to worry about the financial condition of the church. When you clique off with a few of your friends in the assembly and snub the strangers or others, who might not be on a social standard with you, you bring more worry to your pastor. How could you expect him to be at his best? What if you lived that way in your home? Suppose your family treated you in the same manner in which you conduct yourself toward the church and the ministry? What if your employer and your place of employment had you under constant scrutiny and criticism? What if you had to ask a half-dozen individuals for their advice every time you made a move in your home or at your office or the factory? How normal would you be? How efficient could you operate; how much time would you have left to develop something new or reach out into new endeavors? Very few laymen could stand the pressure of the ministry for six months. They would go screaming back to their pews and stay there.
Many minister’s children feel this pressure. That’s why so few of them ever get saved. If they do, they, as a rule, make good saints in whatever assembly they attend because they know how to help the pastor to be normal. It would be a wonderful accomplishment if every saint had to pastor a church or evangelize for at least one year, then go back in the ranks of the layman. What marvelous churches we would boast of in the Lord!
Your minister knows what to do, if you would free his hands so that he could be normal. Did you ever hear your minister preach at a convention or a fellowship meeting when the ‘pressure’ of his own church was off his mind? Didn’t he speak grand? Remember when he first came to your church–before he knew all about the troubles that were smoldering underneath? Wasn’t he a fine evangelist or pastor? Sure. You couldn’t wait until you had voted him in. When Paul first preached at Galatia they were ready to pluck out their own eyes and give them to him in exchange for his weak ones, but later they would hardly listen to him. Who changed, the people or Paul? The shifting of ministers back and forth is not the answer. Changing pastors every new moon is a proven failure. The churches that are progressing and making the presence of God felt in their communities are those that have retained their ministers. Not because these men are perfect, but because they pray themselves, and have learned the secret. No minister can accomplish much for God when he has tied hands; when he is being criticized continually and not permitted to be normal as a minister, father or friend.
DEMAND NORMAL MINISTERS
Thank God for the majority of saints in our churches that have learned the lesson of cooperation and obedience to God’s will. You may never do anything outstanding in your assembly, such as preaching, singing solos, being an outstanding altar worker or giving extra generously in your offerings, you can live a good steady clean life for God. Hold up the hands of your minister, pray and pay regularly, my friend, then you are a marvelous saint and there is not enough fine printing paper, or gorgeous color of ink to put in this article to compare with what God will give you for helping your minister to be normal. Whatever revival or progress comes to your church, a goodly portion of that reward will be shared with you on that other shore. Down deep in the heart of your pastor he esteems you highly and offers a prayer of thankfulness every time he thinks of your faithfulness or hears your name mentioned.
Some ministers are miracle men. They make progress in spite of the wrong conditions outlined in this article and may God richly bless them, but even they could go ahead in leaps and bounds if they were allowed to be normal–just what God wanted them to be. May God bless and encourage the ministry, most of them live subnormal lives. There is a better day coming, brother Keep up the good fight of faith. Your assembly needs you more than ever before, with this awful war against sin raging. Keep looking up to God and pray to live a normal life for Christ. Don’t forget that most of those in your flock are for you and will do all within their power to help push the battle to the gate. Don’t spend all your time preaching at the lukewarm critics and backsliders, give the best meal to the good saints in your assembly. Prayer will dissolve much of the pressure. God wants you to be at your best for the home stretch of this race.
(This article was originally written by the late S. G. Norris, Pastor in St. Paul, MN, president of ABI, and North Central District Superintendent)
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE LOUISIANA CHALLENGER, AUGUST 1997, PAGE 2. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.