Wednesday, August 5, 2015

PEW: Understand And Encourage Your Pastor's Passion

When I came to you, brothers, announcing the testimony of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)

No one wants to listen to a passionless preacher. No pastor wants to lead a passionless church. Certainly no one wants a passionless marriage or a job they couldn't care less about. Passion is empowering, but it is also explosive. No one ever blows up in an argument over something they couldn't care less about.

The Apostle Paul was passionate about Christ and Him crucified. He wrote about this central passionate message of His ministry, "but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles." (1 Cor. 1:23)  The Jews didn't understand it. They were passionate about the law. The Gentiles didn't understand it. They were passionate about logic, but Paul remained passionate about His calling and the message of His calling.

Parishioner, your pastor is a fellow follower of Christ. He is not superior to you. The one who has called you to your ministry is the same who called him. However, his calling is unique. The weight of shepherding the flock of God is tremendous. The calling to preach the Word of God in order to equip the people of God, when taken seriously, can be an overwhelming task. As great as his passion for the work of the ministry is, so is the discouragement that can follow the rejection of that passion.

Week after week, I hear pastor's share their hearts. When their people respond to the Gospel, to the truth, they are elated. When the people they serve respond with apathy, they fight discouragement. Do you want a discouraged pastor?  Here are a couple of simple things you can do to encourage the shepherd who cares for your soul.

First, understand his passion and give thanks to God for a passionate pastor. Understand that he is not just called to live the Christian life, but to care for Christians. Give thanks that he takes this calling seriously.

Second, encourage his passion. Yes, pastors can become overzealous. Yes, they can become so Heavenly minded that they are no Earthly good. But, could we not use more heavenly mindedness and less worldliness?  Encourage your pastor's passion with your words and with your response. Don't respond for his sake. Understand, however, that when you respond to your pastor's call to live for and serve Christ, you are not only glorifying God but also encouraging the primary person He has called to lead and equip you.

Pastor, let me encourage you (us). Never turn away from your calling because you think the people you serve don't share your passion. He who called you is faithful, even if some you serve are not. Don't expect your people to share your passion in all things. Their calling is not your calling, but the one who called you both is the same. Lead your people to embrace Christ rather than your vision and you will be much more content. Finally, work to understand the passion of your people. It could be they can teach you something about passion you have missed.

(Practical Encouragement Wednesdays)