We Must Give Our Spiritual Leaders Our Support
The post “What Should We Expect from Our Pastors?” looks at the wrong expectations too many parishioners place on their ministers. Now let’s look at the ways we should support our spiritual leaders, the things our ministers deserve to receive from us.
Pray for Them
We should first support our pastors with our prayers. In many of his letters Paul asks his recipients to “pray for us” (Colossians 4:3, 1 Thessalonians 5:25, and 2 Thessalonians 3:1). So do the writers of Hebrews (Hebrews 13:18).
Another time, Paul confirms that the prayers of the people helped protect him and his team (2 Corinthians 1:10-11).
Paul says we’re to pray for our government officials (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Even more so we should pray for our spiritual leaders.
Though the first group primarily impacts the physical parts of our lives, the second group addresses the spiritual aspects. While our physical nature will end, our spiritual nature will continue forever. It matters most.
We can support our pastors by encouraging them. We should encourage them just as we want to be encouraged (Matthew 7:12).
Scripture repeatedly instructs us to encourage one another (2 Corinthians 13:11, 1 Thessalonians 4:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, and Hebrews 3:13). This includes our ministers and those who guide us spiritually.
And not only should we encourage our ministers, but we should also extend this same support to their families. The command to encourage one another covers them too.
We may not think of praising our ministers, but the work they do to advance the Kingdom of God is praiseworthy.
Though we should guard against assuming they can do no wrong and placing them on a lofty pedestal no one deserves, we must avoid the opposite. But this is what happens when we criticize them.
Yet too often we view everything our pastors do with a critical eye, scrutinizing all they say and do, as well as whatever they don’t say and don’t do. We criticize them. This is the opposite of praising them.
If we share our criticism with others, this is akin to gossip. Many Christians excel in gossip. They claim sharing this information helps others to better pray.
Our ministers deserve a double honor (1 Timothy 5:17). We should, therefore, support our pastors by rightly praising them and withholding criticism and gossip.
Offer Them Grace
Next, we support our pastors when we offer them grace. And this extends to their spouses and their children—especially their spouses and their children.
In his great love for us, God extends us his grace (1 Corinthians 1:3-4). We should offer this same grace to others, especially our spiritual leaders.
Last, we also support our pastors in a tangible way when we pay them. Paul writes that a worker deserves his wages (1 Timothy 5:18). Though this is a good principle to apply to all workers, the context pertains to our spiritual leaders.
Too often I’ve heard of people who consciously withhold their tithes and offerings to show their displeasure over something their minister did or didn’t do, said or didn’t say. This shouldn’t be.
Yes, some pastors do fall short, just as we all do. But we shouldn’t use money as a punishment-and-reward system to manipulate our pastor’s behavior. Instead, we should trust them to follow God’s leading in how they lead us.
Support Our Pastors
We support our spiritual leaders when we pray for them, encourage them, praise them, offer them grace, and pay them. They deserve nothing less. They deserve all this and more.
Consider what changes you should make to better support your spiritual leaders.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.
Bogged Down Reading the Bible?
Get the Bible Reading Tip Sheet: “10 Tips to Turn Bible Reading from Drudgery to Delight.”
Enter your info and receive the free Bible Reading Tip Sheet and be added to Peter’s email list.