(Handle with Love and Care)
By Rev. T.F. Tenney
I am thoroughly convinced that the most wonderful people in the world are members of the United Pentecostal Church. I have observed that they have never, by and large, failed to support what they fully understood. Possibly we in leadership positions have
been slightly replete in our duty about the information contained in this article. For this I apologize.
Let me immediately address the subject at hand – the proper care of a pastor. There are probably some things that your pastor would never feel free to fell you on his own. Let me slip past the veil, secure several crumbs right off his personal table and return to share it with you. You see, there are very few pastors who want to put themselves in a precarious position of stating what benefits they think they should personally receive from God’s work. So, here goes.
Withhold your tongue from gossip. Why some church members enjoy every little black tidbit that comes along is beyond me. There are those who do not initiate particular stories, but are quick to lend their tongues to the original slanderer by simply saying, “They said,” or “I heard,” or “Did you know”.
There are others who say, “The reason I’m telling you this is so you can pray about it” Some prayer requests ought to be kept to yourself.
Pastors live in glass houses. Their lives and their family’s lives are constantly on display.
They are human. Your image has feet of clay. They have habits that irritate you; they even occasionally have a quarrel with their wife.
I have known of those who ran a stop-watch on how often their pastor fished or hunted. Just remember this: it doesn’t add to the church-growth climate of your assembly for you to constantly be detracting from your minister’s credibility through faultfinding. If there is something sincerely bothering you, then the Bible tells you what to do. I Timothy 5:1 instructs you to intreat him as an elder and a father.
Let’s talk about his time schedule. Several years ago I read an excerpt from a survey made of church members concerning their pastor. Various questions were presented to the congregation with the by-line of “How much time do you think your pastor should spend in this area?” The inquiry contained such things as prayer, study, hospital visits, etc. When added up some of the dear darlings thought the pastor should be working at least 160 hours per week. There are only 168 hours in a week! Well, at least he could get an hour’s sleep each night.
Now I realize that is the extreme, but give it some thinking. Your pastor cannot become a member of every civic endeavor in town. He cannot constantly be a full-time public relation for all your whims. It would be impossible for him to come every week, drink coffee and while away the time. He must have and protect precious hours for prayer and study. The apostles set the criteria when they said, “We must give ourselves to the word of God and prayer.” There may occasions when he’s made an appointment with your only to have to break it because of an emergency. Be understanding at times like this.
Let’s talk about the peril of comparison. How many good men of God have been sacrificed on the altar of, “But Brother So-and-so said…” Remember, your present pastor is not your past pastor. No two men operate just alike. Give him time, honor, and love and you may even appreciate his ways more than his predecessor’s.
Give him proper respect both in public and private. He is not just “old Brother Joe” or “old Brother Jones” he is a man of God who stands to represent God to you and you to God. Don’t refer to him by his first name. Titles are not that important, the only thing we ask is that you call us “Brother” or “Pastor”
Believe it or not, it even takes money for preachers to live. I Timothy 5:17 tells us that those that rule well in the Word are worthy of double honor. The work “honor” here is the same as used for honorarium or fee. There are those who believe this passage refers to two different kinds of honor. One, an honor of remuneration, and the other, an honor of respect. From the context, it should be clear that wages are included.
Could it be Paul implies that a pastor is worthy of double pay? Or to say the least, he should receive a salary commensurate with a comfortable standard of living. I guess I’m just a little old fashioned, but I still believe the Levites are to live from the tithes.
With reference to the pastor’s expense, remember it will usually average much higher than any church member. He has his Social Security to pay in total. He has his hospitalization, his housing arrangements, and utilities, plus convention expense, usually gasoline expense, study materials, books, etc. Then, of course, every time the offertory comes, he is expected to lead the way. His pledge must be as high as possible for Sheaves for Christ, Mothers’ Memorial, etc. One other little addendum to this: his income should be adequate for him to afford an occasional private and restful vacation.
As one man observed, considerate church members should see that their pastor does not have to concern himself too much with money needs. They should do their very best for him. Though pastors are willing to humble themselves and settle for little to serve God, it’s up to the membership to show the pastor that they understand the value of the position God has appointed them. It may be that due to size your church absolutely cannot do for him what you would like to in a financial way. There are extra things you can do: A special drive for his conference expense, remembering him at Christmas and anniversaries, possibly you could just sit down and write him a note telling him how much you appreciate him. M. Roshen once said, “A pastor’s life is often lonely and demanding, and even discouraging at times. Your pastor needs to know that you care and that you appreciate him. Treat your pastor well and encourage him to do his very best for God. A right relationship between the pastor and the congregation will please God and make your church and its ministry a blessing to the entire community.
Well, let’s keep all these tidbits in mind. Don’t fail to commend him. Tell him it was a good sermon. Thank him for the many hours he gives for God and His cause.
Stand behind him, support him, and above all, remember what the apostle said, “Obey those who have the rule over you.” Here’s to the happy, harmonious relationship with your pastor – handle him with prayer and care.
(The above information was published by the KENTUCKY DISTRICT NEWS, October 1993)
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