One of the best known illustrations of support in Scripture can be found in Exodus 17 where Aaron and Hur hold up Moses’ hands as Joshua led the Israelite army against the Amalekites. Have a read. It’s a beautiful picture of supporting a leader. Correlating that passage and pastor appreciation month (October) provides a springboard for suggesting some ways we can support our pastors.
You can support your pastor through patience. No pastor knows everything, but I’ve been in ministry long enough to know that being in front of people props up the misconception that the pastor knows every theological issue, is gifted at fundraising, crisis counseling, politicking, leadership, congregation care, and the list could go on and on and on. Some pastors are naturally gifted at a great many things. Some are not. The bottom line is that a church should guard their expectations of a pastor with patience. Sure, it is only right and fair to expect him to do his job, but pastors are only human and should be given the grace to learn, to fail, and to grow.
You can support your pastor through your presence. Few things are more discouraging to a preacher/communicator than abysmal church attendance. And I realize there are always a host of factors (sometimes beyond our control) that keep you from church. But one of the best ways you can actually support and encourage your pastor is to faithfully and consistently attend church and express your worship of God underneath the preaching ministry of your pastor.
You can support your pastor through your participation. You can go a long way in supporting your pastor by not expecting him to do “everything.” Paul wrote in Eph. 4:11-13 that the pastor’s role was to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. It is not his job to do “all” the ministry. It is his job to train and equip the body of Christ to do the ministry. You can encourage and assist him by participating in the ministry and work of the church.
You can support your pastor through your praise. As humans we all need a little praise in our lives. Now I’m not talking about the kind of praise (in terms of worship) that only God deserves. I’m talking about the recognition for a job well done. When your pastor does something well, tell him about it. Believe me when something goes wrong or there happens to be a conflict or complaint, that always seems to make it to the ears of the pastor. But compliments and praise may not always make it to him. Encourage him through thanks and praise. One practical thing you might do is take some time to just write him a heartfelt thank you for what he has meant in your life and how his ministry has influenced you.
You can support your pastor through your prayer. This is the single greatest thing act of support you can offer your pastor. He has a giant target on his back. Satan hates him and knows if he can wound or destroy a pastor, that an entire congregation of believers will be damaged. Your intercessory prayers will go a long way in protecting your pastor. Even Paul asked for prayer particularly that he might preach and speak the gospel with boldness (Eph. 6:19). Want to see your pastor succeed? Pray for him – for his holiness, his time with God, his energy and spiritual stamina, his growth, his family, etc. You might even ask him specifically how you can effectively pray for him.