Some of my earliest memories of Church date back to the ’80s. At that time the church
program was designed like a sandwich: First service, Sabbath school, Second service. This was before the big sanctuary was built. Due to limited space, we had two congregations that would converge during Sabbath school. Then we had one pastor who had to preach two sermons whenever he was on duty- which happened often.
Having made friends with pastors over the years I have seen how thankless their work can be. Have you ever imagined what Sabbath looks like for a pastor? What time do they wake up? What time do they return home? And what do they do in-between?
30 years and many pastors later we have better Infrastructure and technology which has made life easier. But for pastors, some of these advancements have meant more work. For instance, the number of committees pastors sit in- physically during working hours and online after work hours- not to mention the number of emergency calls they attend to.
At times it seems that we don’t believe a normal conversation with a pastor is okay. Presenting a challenge of some sort- be it theological or personal life stresses- makes the conversation seem more worthwhile. Imagine the number of people pastors interact with daily! Come Sunday and we can’t rule out the possibility of a church board which will be followed by consultative meetings to align on issues raised.
During the week its normal for the pastor to attend to calls and meetings concerning funerals, counselling members who have lost their jobs, those with court cases, marital issues, hospital visitations, resolving conflict between church members and the list goes on…Yet he still has work reports, needs to keep track of what is happening in church departments as he nurtures his flock.
With that as the norm, the pastor has to be ready to deliver a sermon on demand, be present for his family and keep tabs on the happenings within his extended family while still handling more prayer requests within that space.
These are many words to say a pastor’s calling is not easy. They are human and also appreciate rest, empathy, normal human interaction and good news. Remember when Jesus healed the 10 leapers (Luke 17:11) It was only one who come back to give thanks. How many times have we been the 9 leapers?
Maybe that’s why Jesus spent a lot of time with Lazarus, who is not listed as a disciple or credited to have written a book. He was referred to as “he whom You love.” John 11.1. Could it be that Lazarus had the time to genuinely find out how Jesus was doing? Perhaps instead of making requests, Lazarus took time to find out how he could be of help in Jesus’ ministry?
Pastors have dedicated their life to full-time ministry which means handling member’s challenges is part of their job description. How much better could we make their lives if we encouraged them in their work, shared our answered prayers and empathised with them when they didn’t meet our expectations? Next time you meet a pastor, ask them “How are you pastor” then lean in and listen.
Leave your words of appreciation to the pastors in the comments section