Summary: Pastors need prayer and encouragement, but it is important for the congregation to first KNOW what pastors actually do.
Brethren, Pray For Us
Purpose: To explain the responsibilities that pastors have.
Aim: I want the listener to select pastors wisely and pray diligently for them.
INTRODUCTION: I have a two fold purpose for reviewing what the Bible teaches about pastors. First, in a couple of weeks you will have an opportunity (if you are a member here) to select up to three more pastors for this church and you should know what you are asking them to do. Second, pastors really need your thoughtful and consistent prayers.
Pastors really appreciate it when you pray for them, but the way one bulletin announcement put it was probably not what most pastors have in mind. ✔ The Church Board has voted to pray for the Pastor’s speedy recovery. The vote was 5 to 4.[Johnson, D. (2000; 2004). Did You Read That?. Thomas Nelson Publishers.]
Pastors also need your encouragement, but not like an imaginary letter that was written to the Apostle Paul from the head of a mission board:
Rev. Saul Paul
Dear Mr. Paul:
We recently received an application from you for service under our Board.
It is our policy to be as frank and open-minded as possible with all our applicants. We have made an exhaustive survey of your case. To be plain, we are surprised that you have been able to pass as a bonafide missionary.
We are told that you are afflicted with a severe eye trouble. This is certain to be a real handicap to an effective ministry. Our Board requires 20–20 vision.
At Antioch you opposed Dr. Simon Peter, an esteemed denominational secretary and actually rebuked him openly and publicly. You stirred up so much trouble at Antioch that a special Board meeting had to be convened at Jerusalem. We cannot condone such actions.
Do you think it is fitting for a missionary to do part-time secular work? We hear that you are making tents on the side. In a letter to the church at Philippi, you admitted that they are the only church supporting you. We wonder why.
Is it true that you have a jail record? Certain brethren reported that you did two years time at Caesarea and were imprisoned at Rome.
You made such trouble for the businessmen at Ephesus that they refer to you as “the man who turned the world upside down.” Sensationalism in missions is uncalled for. We also deplore the shocking “over-the-wall-in-a-basket” episode at Damascus.
We are appalled at your obvious lack of tactful behavior. Diplomatic men are not stoned and dragged out of the city gate, or assaulted by furious mobs. Have you ever suspected that gentler words might gain you more friends? I enclose a copy of the book by Dailus Carnagus, “How to Win Jews and Influence Greeks.”
You have caused much trouble wherever you have gone. You opposed the honorable women at Berea and the leaders of your own nation in Jerusalem. If a man cannot get along with his own people, how can he serve foreigners?
You admit that while serving time at Rome that “all forsook you.” Good men are not left friendless. Two fine brothers by the names of Demas, and Alexander the coppersmith have notarized affidavits to the effect that it is impossible for them to cooperate with either you or your program.
We know that you had a bitter quarrel with a fellow missionary, Barnabas. Harsh words do not further God’s work.
You have written many letters to churches where you have formerly been a pastor. In one of these letters, you accused a church member of living with his father’s wife, and you caused the whole church to feel badly; and the poor fellow was expelled.
You spend too much time talking about the “second coming of Christ.” Your letters to the people of Thessalonica are devoted almost entirely to this theme. Put first things first from now on.
Your ministry has been far too flighty to be successful. First Asia Minor, then Macedonia, then Greece, then Italy, and now you are talking about a wild goose chase to Spain. You cannot win the whole by yourself. You are just one little Paul.
In a recent sermon you said, “God forbid that I should glory in anything save the cross of Christ.” It seems to us that you ought also to glory in our heritage, our denomination and our program, the unified budget, and the World Federation of Churches.
Your sermons are much too long at times. At one place, you talked until after midnight and a young man was so asleep that he fell out of the window and broke his neck. Nobody is saved after the first twenty minutes. “Stand up, speak up, and then shut up” is our advice.