The main reason we started this blog, an information website (now gone), and a discussion forum (now gone) many years ago was that we felt called to work with ministers, missionaries and church leaders.
These three grooups are not the easiest people to work with for many reasons better left for another time. We may not have hit the mark every time but for the most part, the members of those groups could come here and get good spiritual food to help them in their work for God.
Then we see articles like the one at this link and we get concerned. The contents in that article say to us that many people who take these positions in the church do not understand what church leadership is all about.
It seems that the pastors generally mentioned in the article want things to continue as they were before they became pastors and that is just not going to happen.
One analogy that can be used is when there are a group of friends in a business and for years they have done everything together and could talk, help each other out, and so on.
Then one day one of them is promoted to supervisor and suddenly that one person is not part of the group and is treated differently than they were before.
The reason behind that different treatment is fairly simple. The one promoted to the leadership position is no longer one of the group. he or she has been moved to a new group and the relationship has changed between the old friends.
It may not be right but that is the way it goes. When you become a leader you are not the same as you were before you got the call for higher office. You have been and will be changed. That means you have to find new friends and new places to find your support.
Take a look at Jesus. He called his disciples and us his friends, yet we do not see him coming to us or his disciples when he needed support, strength, advice, and so on. His disciples fell asleep on him in his darkest hour and many fled from him.
Friends are not always going to be there when you need them. When Jesus needed help, he went to the one place he could go, his Father. When Pastors, missionaries, and church leaders need help, they need to follow Jesus’ example.
They need to go to Jesus and seek his help and guidance. They should also go to their fellow pastors, etc., as they understand what a troubled church leader is going through.
The regular congregation does not have a full grasp of the situation and rarely can offer the type of support, guidance, and information a pastor needs. If you look at the Bible, God does not leave the pastor alone in the church.
He established the office of elders, men who are to be spiritual and can be there for the pastor when things start going wrong. The elders are not the pastor’s boss but a leadership co-worker.
To help pastors, missionaries and church leaders understand their role in the church better and be prepared to face what church leadership entails, one should look at Numbers 18. It is full of what God has outlined for the person who answers the call to be a leader in the church.
One verse will stand out and applies to this issue. It is found in verse 20 of that chapter and reads:
Then the Lord said to Aaron, “You shall have no inheritance in their land nor own any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the sons of Israel.
The pastor, missionary, and church leader should be cultivating a friendship with God over trying to find a friend among the people they are supposed to lead.
Trying to foster a relationship with different members of the congregation only leads to trouble for most ministers. it fosters jealousy, pride, allows for undue influence to take place, and can easily split the church.
That is not what God wants for his leadership. he wants his leaders to be founded, influenced, led by him not those who may not know the will of God. yes, pastors will be lonely in their church if they do leadership right.
That means they need to turn to God to find the right friends that will help their ministry and make the church better, more cohesive, and united under God’s truth. Those friends will be of the leadership group unless God has raised up a special congregation member to help minister to the pastor.
There are some points from that article we would like to address:
#1. The current “negativity of environment” is often “taken out” on caregivers like pastors and therapists, Sauls contended.
This is not unique nor special. Moses faced this issue when the Israelites were out in the desert wandering. Moses went to God for help, not the congregation.
#2. To care for their pastors, Sauls encouraged congregation members to “realize how important the ministry of presence is.”
To get the congregation to reach that level then they must be like the original first-century church we read about in Acts. Everyone was of one mind and followed the disciples teaching.
Then everyone met everyone else’s needs. No one was left needy and by the term ‘no one’, that included the disciples. Today’s ministers would take the place of the disciples and to get the people in one mind, they should be teaching what the disciples taught- the truth.
#3. Your pastor is not going to choose everybody; you’ve actually been chosen in the same way that Christ has chosen the 12 [disciples],” the pastor said. “Consider it an honor when your pastor also needs shepherding and care, and then give it.”
We disagree with this advice for the reasons we mentioned earlier. The person picking the pastor’s friends should be God so that favoritism and other negative characteristics are not given room to work.
Then Jesus did not pick the 12 disciples to be his comfort and support. he picked them to teach them his ways so that they could go out and be real church leaders that preached his words not their own.
On top of that, the pastor should not be going to the people he is supposed to be leading for help, comfort, etc. That shows weakness as a leader and may destroy any leadership he has in the church.
The people look at him differently when he is the leader and to go to people he is to lead to the right way to live and minister, is sending the message he does not have the answers, he does not go to God for his support and guidance and he does not do as he preaches.
Ministers are still human but there are better places to go to get help when one feels isolated and it starts with the examples of Moses and Jesus–they need to go to God first.
Ministers need true spiritual food and answers, not human interpretation or the best guess. That means they go to the one person who has those answers and spiritual food who will then lead them to the right men to help solve the minister’s issues.
#4. We don’t need to be fixed by our congregants,” he clarified. “But what we do need from our people is, ‘I see you, I know your job is to see me. I volunteer to see you.’”
Take comfort, pastors, etc., are seen. They are just not seen in the manner some ministers, elders, and missionaries expect. When you are a leader you are not seen as one of the crowd. You are seen as a leader who is supposed to be leading everyone to the correct path and the truth.
The congregants are not expecting you to have problems and if they do, they expect you to go to God as they may be in the same position and will need the answers you got from God to help them.
They are not expecting you to come to them when they do not have the answers a pastor, etc., needs. Once you are a leader, you cannot be one of the guys anymore. You have different responsibilities, different duties, and different places to go for help.
#5. Pastors need to be found,” he said, later adding: “It is not good to be alone.”
Pastors are not alone. If they have wives, they have someone God has brought to be their helpmeets, their sounding boards, their advice-givers, and so on. Moses and Peter had wives, as did many biblical temple leaders.
Most importantly, pastors have God to talk to and Jesus has been through it all so that pastors have someone who understands exactly what they are going through. At no time are pastors alone.
#6. Statistics show that 50% of pastors feel unable to meet the needs of the job
Then learn how to do it. Paul meets this issue head-on when he said
Therefore I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in distresses, in persecutions, in difficulties, in behalf of Christ; for when Iamweak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12:10
Feeling incapable;e of doing the job is not an excuse. God selected you for the role, so he thinks you have the qualities needed to handle the task. You just have to keep your eyes on Jesus like Peter did and avoid taking them off of him.
Then be ready to learn from the mistakes you will make and implement those lessons.
#7. 90% feel inadequately trained to deal with ministry demands;
This does happen in many bible schools and seminaries. Many graduates are sent out barely ready to handle the problems that come when leading a church.
But they have God and the Bible to help them. Moses felt inadequate as well and Exodus 4 relates that hesitancy to lead. learn from that example and rely on God to lead and give you what you need to be a strong pastor or missionary, etc.
#8. 45.5% of pastors say they have experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry;
This is not a problem and no one needs to feel guilty about taking a break from the ministry. Solomon dealt with this issue in Ecc 3:
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every matter under heaven—
The key is to stay with God in those breaks and let him renew you.
#9. 70% of pastors do not have someone they consider a close friend.
They must not consider God their friend then. Moses was called the friend of God and if you look at Moses’ relationship with God it was not perfect. Plus, we do not see him having a close friendship with anyone else.
His own brother and sister undermined his leadership at different times. Learn to cultivate a friendship with God who will not undermine you.
Leadership is not fun and games. If you want to be a good leader, then start a friendship with the one who first called you to be a church leader, etc. You want to be a success in the church, go to God, and start there.
God has called you, he will not give up on you nor lead you to bad information or leave you alone.