Summary: If churches want to help their leaders be all they can be, they must pay them well, treat them fairly, and pick them wisely.
When I get a chain letter in my Email, I usually ignore it; but sometime ago, I came across this chain letter, which gave me a chuckle. It was written to church members looking for the perfect pastor. It said…
“The perfect pastor preaches exactly 10 minutes, but thoroughly expounds the Word. He condemns sin roundly but never hurts anyone’s feelings.
“He works from 8 a.m. until midnight and is also the church janitor. The perfect pastor makes $40 a week, wears good clothes, drives a good car, buys good books, and donates $30 a week to the church.
“He is 29 years old and has 40 years experience. Above all, he is handsome.
“The perfect pastor has a burning desire to work with teenagers, and he spends most of his time with the senior citizens.
“He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his church. He makes 15 home visits a day and is always in his office to be available when needed.
“The perfect pastor always has time for every church board and committee. He never misses any of their meetings and is always busy evangelizing the unchurched.
“The perfect pastor is always in another church!
“If your pastor does not measure up, simply send this notice to six other churches that are tired of their pastor, too. Then bundle up your pastor and send him to the church at the top of the list. If everyone cooperates, in one week you will receive 1,643 pastors. One of them should be perfect.
“Have faith in this letter. One church broke the chain and got its old pastor back in less than three months. (Source Unknown)
That letter is obviously written tongue-in-cheek, but it does illustrate the difficult task to which church leaders are called these days. Even so, the church can help its leaders be the best they can be. The church can help their pastors be better pastors and their elders be better elders.
1 Timothy 5:17-18 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” (NIV)
How can we help our leaders be the best they can be? It’s simple, first…
PAY THEM WELL.
Make sure they have an adequate salary. Take care of them financially.
Church leaders have a tremendous responsibility. God calls them to “stand before” His people. That’s what the word “direct” literally means in vs.17. Church leaders are those who stand before God’s people to lead them, to be in charge, to give direction to the church. They’re the ones responsible to manage the church to see that it follows God’s will.
But they not only lead God’s people, they are to love God’s people as well. They not only manage the church, they are responsible to minister to the church as well, to care for God’s people. In the common usage of the day, this word “direct” was used of a caretaker, who cared for an estate, a guardian, who protected and cared for children, a farmer, who cared for his land, and a friend, who supported another friend in times of trouble.
You get the picture? Being a leader means so much more than sitting on a board once a month to set policy. Being a leader means comforting the troubled, visiting the sick, and caring for the people. Because you cannot lead God’s people if you don’t love them. It is impossible to impact lives from a distance.
Sometime ago a teacher celebrated her 80th birthday. It was a special occasion because a great number of her former students came by to celebrate it with her.
She had taught in one of the worst sections of Baltimore, and the school she taught in was known for its crime and violence. But after she started teaching there, people began to notice a change. Many of her students became good citizens with good character. Some became doctors, others lawyers, educators, ministers, craftsmen, and skilled technicians. That’s why so many of her students remembered her on her 80th birthday.
A newspaper reporter was there, and he asked her, “What was your secret? How were you able to turn out such good students?”
She replied, “Oh, I don't know. When I look at the young teachers in our schools today, so well-equipped with training and learning, I realize that I was ill-prepared to teach. I had nothing to give but love.” (Don E. McKenzie, Northway Christian Church, Dallas, Texas, as quoted by James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited, p. 316)