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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Help Your Pastors Thrive

By Lisa Clay
Oct. 17, 2010

Most believers love their pastoral staff and enjoy seeing them healthy and well cared for. If you are one of those, perhaps you’ll be inspired to work hard at ensuring your shepherds survive the pressures, spiritual battles and health-threatening demands that often accompany ministry.

Men and women in ministry often do not ask for help and may give only vague hints that they are suffering. Pastors are spiritual, emotional and mental health caregivers to hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people. The demands of ministry can bring depression, stress and bottled-up pain.

Pastors’ spouses are also at risk. Studies show they deal with a high rate of depression, which can impact pastors’ effectiveness in ministry.

Sometimes we forget or are unaware of how fragile pastors’ and their spouses’ emotional, mental and spiritual lives can be. But you can help. All believers are called to be armor bearers to their leaders, to guard them against the kingdom of darkness. Here are nine ways you can help your pastors thrive.

1. Ask your pastors if they are getting an effective weekly Sabbath rest. Approach church leadership to seek a solution if a true day off is not currently in place.

2. Send an encouraging card or note of support to your pastors. Make yourself available to help around the church.

3. Speak positively about your pastors. Show your support by not taking part in gossip.

4. Get together with a group and plan an outing for your pastors and their spouses. Encourage them to regularly get away throughout the year so they can focus on their first ministry: their families.

5. Find ways to show your pastors’ children that you love them. Be sure they know they are loved by God and their church.

6. Establish a prayer group that prays for your pastors daily, during church services and especially during difficult days in their lives. Pray for God to grant wisdom, strength and good health to your pastors. There’s no need to ask personal questions; just reassure your pastors you are praying for them.

7. Help your church establish a “Moses Strategy,” raising up lay leaders to handle the daily load of tasks so your pastors can focus on vision and larger goals.

8. Stay out of church strife. Take every opportunity to promote unity in your church.

9. Do unto your pastors as you would have your pastors do unto you.

Although these strategies are not exhaustive, they offer a good start in helping your pastoral staff thrive as they face the rigors of 21st-century church ministry.

LISA CLAY, an Assemblies of God minister, has served in full-time pastoral ministry for 24 years with her husband, Rich.

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