If oft quoted statistics are to be believed, as pastors around the world step into the pulpit to deliver their Christmas Eve messages this year–most of which are filled with the hope and peace found in an infant born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago–more than two-thirds of them are looking for work outside of vocational ministry.
If you are thinking, “Well, not my pastor,” statistically, two out of every three readers are wrong.
Some churches love their pastors really well, and occasionally I hear those stories. Stories of pastors being left notes of encouragement on the regular, congregants going out of their way to thank their pastors for the loads they carry and the ways they serve. But, and don’t be offended, most churches don’t do this.
This year your pastor has received more hateful, complaining, critiquing, and downright nasty emails, phone calls, conversations, and been the subject of unkind gossip than probably any other year of his ministry career. Add on to that the ever-watching eyes of the community as angst towards COVID and desire to lay blame on someone (him) or something (your church) has more than likely added to an already heavy burden.
Most pastors will never let you know the depth of the burden they are feeling, the weariness in their souls, and the long dark moments spent questioning their calling. They are still busy praying, preaching, counseling, caring, and supporting the church.
Have you ever wondered what an exhausted bird without a place to land looks like five minutes before it falls from the sky? Probably much like a healthy one–they’re both flying.
Friends, this Christmas-time, please take the time to go out of your way to encourage your pastor, to check in on them, to let them know that you know they’re weary from pouring themselves out to serve you and those around you in this very trying time.
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. – 1 Tim 5:17
What might honoring those who keep a watch over your souls look like this season?