5 Things the Church Can Do
1. Be willing to look at your church leadership structure. The pastors who seemed to be the most encouraged were those surrounded by a leadership team. Churches who were led by elders seemed to navigate these troubling times better than those who did not. If your pastor is having to make decisions alone, there is a great chance of burnout.
2. Turn off your news networks. Detach yourself from conspiracy theories. Give the politics a rest. Seriously, this stuff is destroying our churches. I am going to be blunt here. If you are viewing your pastor through the lens of political punditry, your pastor isn’t the problem—you are. You’ve moved away from the gospel. The main thing is no longer the main thing in your life, and you need to consider whether you’re still following Christ. If your pastor is faithfully preaching Jesus and expositing the Scriptures, then you’d do well to listen and have your worldview shaped thusly. If you’re devouring more news than Bible, if your chief concerns are more about who is in office instead of Who is on the throne, then you have a discipleship problem. If your greatest concern for your neighbor is his/her political affiliation and not his/her relationship with Jesus, you have a mission problem. And this is likely deeply grieving to your pastor. This is part of why he wants to quit—because he realizes that many within his congregation are more beholden to cable news than the gospel of Jesus. If you want to encourage your pastor, unplug from that which is stealing your affections.
3. Consider a vacation for your pastor. We haven't had extended time off for a couple of years. Start taking up an offering now and consider giving a couple weeks of a great paid vacation for Pastor’s Appreciate Month. Let your pastor unplug. Completely. It might have seemed as if your pastor had more time off than normal through this pandemic, but it’s simply not true. We just had to learn how to work from home. Our thought-time, decision-making, prep time, etc. actually increased as we had to learn many new things on a daily basis.
4. Be vocal about your support. We seldom hear when we make the right decisions. We usually only hear from those who believe we made the wrong call. Truthfully, even if you disagree with a decision, keep it in perspective. Assume that your pastor (or pastoral team) weighed all the options and made the best decision possible.
5. Love your pastor. Study up on 1 Corinthians 13 and reflect on how you relate to those who are trying to lead you in these trying times.
Pastoring is tough in this season. But there are also many reasons to be encouraged. God is still working. There are blessings in the midst of these dark days. Christ often shines the brightest in the darkest of places. He makes his presence known when all around us seems to be collapsing. Pastor, hang on to Jesus. That might mean something different for you vocationally. That’s okay. You aren't your calling. It’s okay to ask those tough questions.
Jesus is faithful. He will lead us through these trying times even when our own leadership tank seems to be running on empty.
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