How can we honor and respect our pastors who are our spiritual leaders? Andry, a lay leader, share his thoughts.
Pastors are men and women who have responded to the call of God to serve the community of believers. The office of a pastor is not easy. They may receive unfair criticism with many unkind words. It is time to look at them as our brothers and sisters who are serving the Lord. It is to our benefit that they do well in their ministry to encourage and guide us. We can view our pastors as fellow travelers on this journey to be closer to the Lord. Then we can begin to honor and respect them as the Lord’s servants placed over our lives.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 exhorts us to appreciate and love them.
“And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love.” (The Message).
I have heard that pastors have been hard on ministry team members; demanding “results” in ministry. Before we are quick to rebuff them with unkind words, perhaps we should try to see it from their perspective. The pastor’s people skills may not be polished but it is their intention to spur us along. The pastor is there to encourage success in our ministry. This should not put us off in ministry but an opportunity to pray for the ministry, the pastor and team members. We should honor and respect the pastor who works hard to encourage us.
The pastor has the responsibility to teach and make sure that the right teaching is delivered so that we remain faithful and obedient to the Lord (2 Peter 3:17). Not many have the privilege to learn the principles and method of interpreting scriptures. We should then appreciate the pastors who would devote their time in preparing sermons that explain the Bible and help us apply the godly principles to our life. There are times that the sermon comes to us as “boring” and we respond with a “snore”. This should not be our response. It is an opportunity to pray for the pastor and the congregation to hear from God. Remember that it is only by His grace that we hear Him. Let us then check our posture and humbly submit. It is when we can appreciate our pastor’s heart that we can overwhelm them with love.
We can show our appreciation by praying for our pastors and their ministry. The work of a pastor can be very challenging in the face of the prevailing worldviews. We can pray with our pastors for the biblical worldview to permeate our lives. When we live godly lives, our pastors can smile as it is a reflection of their prayers and effort to spur us toward God. The world is filled with temptations and unless we comprehend the biblical worldview, we would see more grey areas in our decision and perspectives. God is good in providing us with men and women who would show us the way to please our God. It is a high calling to be a living example; to live a life that pleases God. We thank God for their response to this call of God.
We can also show our appreciation by submitting to their direction. Hebrews 13:17 tells us to obey our spiritual leaders as they are accountable to God.
“Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they know they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this joyfully and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.” (NLT)
We respect our pastors because of the God-given authority; regardless of the age, experience and education. Pastors do not have this authority because they are perfect or have “arrived” but because they have a duty to perform. A young pastor may struggle and hence we read Paul’s encouragement to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12. It would be to our benefit to give our pastors some room to develop their gifting and respond fully to their call. Let us then obey our spiritual leaders so that they will minister with joy. We can partner in this journey to encourage the pastors and receive their encouragement as we do the ministry.
In closing, I would like to thank every pastor who has responded to the call to serve the Lord in the local church. As the congregation looks to them as a living example of godly living, I pray for an extra portion of His grace to be upon them that will enable them to fulfill the call and humbly take up the mantle of leadership. Pastors, lead the church with the God-given authority that rests on you.
About Andry Lie
Andry is 55 this year and works as a foodservice consultant. He has been serving in the church as a lay leader for over 30 years.