YOUR MINISTER: A MESSAGE TO THE LAITY
BY S. G. NORRIS
Your pastor is worth his weight in gold. God has anointed and placed him in your assembly to perform the service of the New Testament priesthood. Few on earth could duplicate his work because the Lord ordains a comparatively small number in each generation to be watchmen on the wall for the souls of His saints. Chances are that you will never know the struggle and conflict that rages in his heart and mind, in order to guide correctly the destiny of your church and the souls of individuals in its membership.
First of all, he is a natural man like yourself. All the spiritual battles that you engage in are duplicated in his life. If you
have family problems, sickness, or financial worries, he has the same. Where your warfare ends, however, his begins. His position is something like the old woman of nursery rhyme days who lived in a shoe and had so many children that she did not know what to do.
Your minister may be likened to a doctor, only far more important than medical science, because if his spiritual diagnosis is not correct it may mean the eternal loss of a soul. He is aware of this at all times and may wait sometimes for weeks or months before giving a final decision, hoping and praying in the meantime that the “sick” saint will get a fresh hold upon the Lord and regain the blessing of God on his life.
You can only carry your load to a certain point. From there on, you must depend upon the guidance, instruction, and prayers of the man of God in your midst. That is why Paul warns, “Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is.” He knew the value of the minister to the saints and the strength of soul and character that is gleaned at the house of God. Wise men and women in the assembly sense these facts and recognize God’s special plan in ordaining the minister for duties that are vital for their souls’ salvation and which can be performed only by a very few. It is easy for these that are wise unto salvation to pray for their minister and hold up his hands. They are the backbone of any church.
Your minister must push his own desires and plans aside that the church might have first place. He must constantly think of the welfare of the church as a whole and not focus his attention too long on any one department. In many cases his own family is neglected (although this should not be) because of the pressing problems of others.
He must be constantly alert to the spiritual condition of the assembly. Any deviation from God’s way in the lives of the members
causes anxiety and heaviness of heart. Many hours he spends upon his knees praying for the souls of the flock that are weary and weak. His ear must be constantly sympathetic to the trials and hardships of others and of necessity he must be an optimist.
In most churches the pastor must assist in carrying the financial problems of the assembly in addition to those of his own household. His children are reared under the scrutiny of the congregation, which is not always conducive to a happy home life. His wife is not first of all a servant of the church, but in most cases is, nevertheless, and must share with him some of the burdens that other women in the assembly never experience. She also is worthy of prayer.
The next time you are tempted to go astray, break the unity of the spirit, or cause friction in the assembly, just take a few minutes
and think of the results. It will undoubtedly cause an additional load to be thrown upon the already burdened shoulders of your minister. It will steal his time away from prayer, the Word of God, and his ministry to others who sorely need it. When you think of the blessing you can bring by obedience and the distress you cause by disobedience, a few minutes in prayer will change your actions from bad to good.
The next time you enjoy a good service and the blessing of God falls or the Word goes forth with unction and power, just remember that these spiritual blessings in church do not happen by accident. It is caused by someone paying a terrific price to bring it about and, in most cases, you will find the minister under the center of the load doing his best in the fear of God to raise the standard of Christ up before the people. Someone stated this truism: “It almost takes the life of a minister to raise up an assembly and keep it functioning for the Lord.” In good homes it practically takes the life of the father and mother to rear the children, and in church the same applies to the ministry.
How can you help carry the load? Look around in your church with eyes of helpfulness. Try to find something to do to show that your interest in the church goes farther than just the services. When you see something to be done, try to do it yourself even if it does cost you a little time or money. Do not approach the minister and tell him that such and such should be done. Offer your services and see how quickly he responds to your interest. It will bring him a blessing and that, in turn, will be passed on to the entire congregation. God will bless you for being a helper.
How long has it been since the members of your church got together and gave the minister and his wife a present? How long since
you insisted on their taking at least a two-week vacation without spiritual and financial worries? The church that fails to recognize
these opportunities only robs itself of many blessings that God would send its way. The finest Pentecostal churches in America are those that honor and respect their ministers the most. Little wonder that God blesses and adds to their number.
If you wish to find the secret in serving God with the least amount of trouble, if you wish to place yourself in a position where
God can bless you both spiritually and in basket and store, pray for your minister and hold up his hands in the battle for the souls of men. God will bless them that bless the minister and curse them that curse him. That law will never be changed on this earth.
Your minister is the most valuable friend you have this side of heaven. God has loaned him to you for a little while to help guide you from earth to glory!
“And the Lord directs your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ” (II Thessalonians 3:5).
Brother S. G. Norris was among the pioneers of Oneness Pentecostals. He pioneered a church in New York City before accepting in 1934 the pastorale of Midway Pentecostal Tabernacle in St. Paul, Minnesota, and remained pastor until 1971. In 1937, he founded Apostolic Bible Institute, of which he sewed as president. For a few years he sewed as editor of the Pentecostal Outlook, and for twenty-five years he sewed as district superintendent of the North Central District, UPCI.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE PENTECOSTAL HERALD, SEPTEMBER 1999, PAGES 10-11.
THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.