So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Acts 6:2 NIV
I want to share five things the church can and should give to its pastor in some posts over the next few days. A pastor is to shepherd and oversee the work of God in a local church. (For the purposes of this series I will use the masculine form. This is not an endorsement or a criticism of female pastoral authority. That is not the intent of this series it just makes writing easier.) Please prayerfully consider your pastor this week and see if your church is meeting his needs.
The first thing to consider is that your pastor needs time. The pastor needs time away from the ministerial responsibilities and activities of the church so that he can commit time to his family and to the ministry of the Word of God. The early church leaders are not criticizing the ministry of waiting on tables in today’s verse. Every activity done in the church is important, according to God’s Word. They are simply pointing out that their primary responsibility is to teach God’s Word to the people.
I have witnessed too many pastors who burn out in their work, because too many demands are placed upon them. If there is a social or an activity in the church or among its people, most people expect the pastor to always be there. If someone is sick, the pastor should always make the visit, according to most church members. There is rarely any consideration to the fact that the pastor needs time with his family; and certainly time to prepare the message of God’s Word.
Please, let me share with you from practical experience. If you want your pastor to be prepared to deliver God’s message of the week to you and, if you want his family to be strong enough that he can model family life for you, then give him time alone with God during the week. Make sure he has time to study and for his family. Too many demands on his time will make a very stressed out pastor!
(I hope for those at my church reading this series that they can understand I minister to lots of pastors. This is not a personal plea. Thanks for being the kind of church that allows me to protect my time. Grace is a great place!)