Honoring God’s Ministering Servants
“Give honor to whom honor is due.” Romans 13:7.
As a pastor and minister, I have served 62 years in full time Christian service. Twenty-five of those years have been focused on “encouraging God’s ministering servants.” During those years, I have visited personally with over one thousand ministers across the nation and world.
I have been both the receiver and giver of encouragement and I know what it means. Honoring someone means you treat them with respect and with showing them high esteem. When you honor you are saying “you are of great value.”
Honoring your pastor does not mean you put him or her on a pedestal, nor worship them, thinking they are the Lord of the church. They, like you, are servants.
PRINCIPLES THAT CONTRIBUTE TO HONORING GOD’S MINISTERING SERVANTS.
1. LOVE THEM. God commands us to love one another, and that includes your church leaders and church staff. That means you receive them as brothers and sisters in the Lord. You believe the best about them, and you treat them in a way that they feel loved unconditionally and truly cared for.
2. SERVE THEM. We are all servants of Jesus Christ and one another in the Body. Look for ways to “come along side of your pastor” focus on their well-being.
3. PROTECT THEM. Look for ways you can share their load by freeing them from routine responsibilities and freeing them to prayer, preparation and preaching. Don’t join the circle of critics always looking for something to criticize. Assume the best.
4. RECOGNIZE THEM. Consider the price they have paid to become one of God’s ministering servants, one who teaches you the Word of God. They have spent many days, hours and nights equipping themselves to serve the Scripture and you.
5. FORGIVE THEM. Pastors and ministers make mistakes, just as you do. Forgive them, time and time again, just as Christ has forgiven you.
6. REFUSE. Refuse to become a “thorn in the flesh” to your minister and church staff. Be a true friend to your leaders, regardless of what they have done or not done.
7. RESPECT THEIR PRIVACY AND PERSONAL LIVES. They are not available to you 24/7. They deserve and must have free time. It’s okay for them to turn off the telephone. Applaud when they take time away, vacations and “down time.” You will reap benefits.
ATTITUDES AND ACTIONS THAT HONOR GOD’S MINISTERING SERVANTS
Here are a few very practical things that you can do to honor and affirm your ministers and church staff:
1. Encourage them with a handwritten note or greeting card. Drop by their office just to say hello and share your appreciation of them. Be brief with no agenda other than to say, “Thank You.”
2. Gift your pastor and family with a small gift or a gift card. Kindness goes a long way toward building a strong relationship with your those who serve you.
3. Invite your minister and their family to dinner at your house or take them out to a nice restaurant. Remember, no agenda. Talk about things other than the church and their work.
4. Offer to babysit the pastor’s children and those of the church staff members.
5. Be generous and specific with your comments about the messages and ministry of God’s servants. Speak a kind and sincere word.
6. Give a gift card to a book store or a nice hotel. Consider providing a night or two in a nice motel or hotel. You’ll be surprised at the results.
7. Pray earnestly for your pastor, church staff and their families. They often experience intense spiritual warfare. Agree to be a regular intercessor. Ask for prayer requests and keep these confidential between you and the Lord.
Ask God to show you other ways you can serve His ministering servants.
“…and to esteem them very highly in love for their works sake. Be at peace among yourselves.” I Thessalonians 5:13
A WORD TO GOD’S MINISTERING SERVANTS
Because of God’s calling on my life, and my experience as a pastor and a “pastor of pastors,” I believe I have a God-given right to speak into the lives of God’s ministering servants. Here are seven words of counsel, I wish someone had spoken to me.
1. Be real. Don’t pretend. Avoid being haughty and considering yourself to be among the spiritual elite. Be yourself. Let your people see the real you.
2. Be loving in all you say and do. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, loves His flock. You must love yours unconditionally, and they should feel loved by you.
3. Be open. Be open to change. Be willing to admit when you are wrong, or have sinned or made a mistake. Don’t assume you are always right.
4. Be transparent in and out of the pulpit. When appropriate, share what you are struggling with. It’s hard for your people to identify with perceived perfection.
5. Be prayerful. As a high priority, be a man or woman of prayer, praying with consistency for your people. There is no excuse for prayerlessness.
6. Be available to your people. Yes, there are times when you need to draw aside from people, including your congregation – BUT you must also be available to your people. Set aside a time when your door is open to your people.
7. Be diligent in your quiet time, your study time, and your time of drawing near to God.
8. Be careful. Be discerning. Use caution. Be discreet. The devil loves to steal, kill and destroy, men and women of God. Weigh carefully what you say and do.
As a man or woman of God, called to the ministry, your people see you living to a higher standard. By His Grace, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14