THE PASTOR AND YOU
By Mark Christian
“Life is made up of relationships,” he said, and then repeated the statement, adding perhaps a deeper note of emphasis on the phrase. How outstandingly true his words are. They still ring in my mind today as I attempt to cover some of the aspects of a relationship in which each evangelist will inevitably have a part— that is, the evangelist’s relationship with the pastor.
Start On Good Terms
One of the psychological laws of life is that people generally respond in like manner to the “platform” or “approach” made by another individual to them. By being open and unassuming, we allow those we meet greater freedom to respond in a positive manner to us. To pigeonhole people before we get to know them will result in opportunities for great rapport being missed. Since the life expectancy of an evangelistic ministry can be affected by improper approaches to people, it is best to allow everyone a chance before hurriedly placing them in the category we feel they are most likely to fit. Your relationship with the pastor prior to coming for revival probably has been minimal. But it is wise to “like” him before you arrive. Go expecting to enjoy the fellowship that will ensue.
The pastor who has opened the doors of his church to your ministry must have recognized desirable aspects about you. Otherwise, the invitation to come would never have been extended. In connection with the above, we also recognize the fact that the pastor’s ministry and feeling of concern for people has already been established with the church. Therefore, the evangelist will do himself a favor to promote the image of the pastor. Without being trite or hypocritical, any words of praise that can be used about him in regard to his ministry or his image as a true servant of the Lord will serve not only to help the pastor but also to bolster the kind feelings of the church toward the evangelist. Recognizing your confidence and appreciation of him, the church will extend confidence and appreciation to you.
Much of life’s rewards are contingent on a positive stance being taken. Talk revival to the pastor. Let it be known you believe a harvest of souls will be brought in.
Sell and promote what you believe for the benefit and good it will bring to others. Personal remuneration will come. God will make it up to you. The emphasis should always be on “What can I give?” If giving is done abundantly, the divine laws of God will see to it that we are taken care of. Somewhere it will come back.
Faith in action is the key. Bring faith alive. Talk about what God is doing and is going to do.
How Long Do I Stay at a Particular Church?
Obviously it is better for things to end on a high note. Sometimes meetings can be carried so long that a church will go through a slump after the revival because everyone is worn out. Spiritual instincts will offer reliable guidelines to follow.
Some have found it best to decide by Friday or Saturday night whether the meeting should continue so as to offer opportunity for further planning in the future. Pastors do not appreciate being called on Sunday night after church for the purpose of changing dates for a meeting previously scheduled. There are obvious reasons for this.
Pastors at times become very forceful in their approach toward whether you should stay. The reason for this is the intense interest in the church God has given him to care for. A friend told me once concerning scheduling revivals, “Perhaps there were some places I could have stayed longer, but I figured it would be better for me to leave when they were wanting me to stay rather when they were wanting me to leave.”
Be A Good Listener
It is said that one of the great arts is listening. To leave one with the feeling that what he has to say is not important can be taken as an insult. Human beings find themselves psychologically indebted to a good listener. Most people know the answer before they pose the question or start the conversation. But keen appreciation is granted to the man or woman who is willing to take the time to wait while the other party lets it unfold.
Much can be learned from listening, and all that is absorbed does not cost a red cent. It will pay us well to be broad enough in our approach to life to allow ourselves to learn this art. Of course, we all are attempting to recognize and harness the value of time, so steering the conversation into a vein of worthfulness and “productive talk” is an excellent ability to develop.
On occasion the evangelist may find himself the recipient of an “outwash” of anxieties, frustrations, or problems of one sort or another. It is a compliment when a person takes you into his confidence. Allow a man to talk long enough and the indications as to what is really inside his heart will be revealed. Do not begrudge the pastor of this opportunity. Utilize what useful knowledge comes to you by writing it down. For get what is unimportant. Some things are just as well forgotten before crossing the threshold. If perchance there lingers in your mind particular attitudes of hard ness which are not conducive to productive living, wash them out in prayer. The best place to talk about it is to God. Telling Him first is extremely important.
One other point to remember: allow no one to blatantly waste your time. Although instances of this nature where one finds his time being totally abused will be the exception, dealing with it properly is important if this does take place. In most situations, some thing profitable can be gleaned if attention is given to finding it. Personal discretion is obviously in order here.
Edify One Another
Since some period of time will be spent between the evangelist and the pastor, it is wise to make it constructive. Anyone will appreciate a faith-filled outlook on life. Every evangelist has known the blessing of being ministered to by a pastor. Some men in a beautiful way impart insights of life to a person that often prove to be meaningful and of much help.
Since the evangelist travels and has contact with numerous places, it is beneficial to take note of concepts in teaching, evangelism, any new ideas, principles, programs, truths, or songs—anything that would serve to edify a brother. When this is shared, one will leave the company of the other uplifted and thrilled with a greater sense of purpose.
The Extra Mile
It is important to go the “extra mile.” Reference here is made not to miles one may have traveled, but rather to willingness on the part of the individual to promote and do more than is required. This could mean any number of things, and we will be made aware in given situations what the “extra mile” is.
Taking a personal interest in people is good. Praying with people is of benefit to one’s own ministry. Even visiting with the pastor in people’s homes or in the hospital can be, if not carried to extremes, reasonably beneficial. If one only does as much as he is expected to do, he is receiving all the compensation he deserves. It is in the realm of the second mile that an accrual of benefits are built up. Doing more than is expected can only serve to better one’s own interest. The divine Lawmaker so stated that if we give it shall be given, and if we sow we shall reap.
It is important also to do everything with an attitude of abundance, never engaging in endeavors grudgingly or because of force. The winners in life enjoy the full aggressive, wide-open, upbeat realm of the second mile. Not because I “have to” but because I “want to.” This attitude will serve as a strong positive influence with any pastor.
In the words of a man for whom I have great admiration I found these thoughts. He said he knew what it was like to be taken advantage of. But if an individual keeps his head up, lives with the right attitude, and takes everything to God in prayer, there is no way he can lose.
I don’t mean to imply that pastors are out to take advantage of evangelists. More often than not, feelings of being taken advantage of evolve from the wrong sources. I can say that I have never been mistreated. Generally feelings of mistreatment stem from the struggles that ensue when flesh begins to cry that it is giving more than it is receiving.
Remember, man of God, the laws of the universe are on your side. We follow the steps of one who came not to be ministered unto but to minister and give His life a ransom for many. Give the pastor an aura of expectation and abundant faith, and he will serve to be a valuable friend. If we live with an attitude of abundance, being willing to bless and be blessed, God will see to it that our needs are supplied. In addition, there will be the incorporation of great relationships into our lives which will serve as strength and support both now and in time to come.