Supporting Your Pastor

600455_priest_5Have you ever taken someone for granted? As sinners we all have. We take our spouses, parents, children, coworkers, and neighbor for granted on a daily basis.  It’s a sinful trait we can’t get rid of, our self-centeredness. Have you ever taken your pastor for granted? Have you supported him the way you should? Have you supported him outside of his service to you as a pastor? Have you gotten to know the man who proclaims forgiveness to you and your family in the stead and by the command of Christ, the man called to preach the Word of God and administers the sacraments? Supporting your pastor isn’t only about paying his salary; it’s about supporting and loving him in his vocation as your pastor.

Your pastor, is your PASTOR.

To help support your pastor, you first need to understand what your pastor has been called to do in your church. Simply put, the role of your pastor is to preach the Word of God and administer the sacraments. Now there are plenty of times when he does more than that. He may design your church’s website or help with the church’s budget. These aren’t examples of pastoral duties. When you pastor goes above and beyond word and sacrament ministry, he is acting out of love for his neighbor.

Your pastor should have a solid understanding of the scriptures and The Lutheran Confessions, to which he subscribes to at his ordination. With respect and love you should be able to talk to him about anything. You should feel comfortable to address any concerns you may have about your church’s holding to the Word of God and The Lutheran Confessions. Along with the confession of the church, you should be able to confess your sins in private confession. While that may be uncomfortable, your pastor wants to help you with specific sins that trouble you by absolving them. He also wants you to hear the Word of God by attending the divine service. He wants your ears to be open to the scriptures and to receive the sacraments.  He will always be your pastor, for the things he was called to do.

Your pastor, the man.

Getting to know your pastor as a person can be difficult. Pastors can be intimidating and many are quiet. Believe it or not, they are human. They don’t spend all their time reading theology in their study. You know that study, the one with about a million books and pictures of Luther and Jesus on the wall. They have hobbies, families, and interests outside of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They may enjoy beer, cars, or even watching horrible football teams. Your pastor can even be a friend outside of his ministry, but we must be careful to not blur the line between his vocation of pastor and friend. When considering the man your pastor is, we are reminded of the man he is descendant from, Adam.

Your pastor, the sinner.

If we are going to talk about the human side of your pastor, we have to talk about his sin. Yes, your pastor is a sinner. He stands with you and confesses his sins in every divine service. At times laymen, including myself, put their pastors on a pedestal of righteousness that no man can ever achieve. Pastors often turn to other pastors to confess their sins, which is appropriate as those pastors can absolve their sins. This should not stop layman from making themselves available to their pastors if they need to talk. Pastors have problems, concerns and anxiety like everyone else. We’re all sinners. Our pastors are included in that “we”.

Attacks on your pastor.

Pastors are constantly under attack from the devil, the world, and their own sinful nature. The devil understands the vocation of your pastor. The devil doesn’t want your pastor to preach the word of God or administer the sacraments. The devil will tempt your pastor to try new things in the divine service which take away from the proclamation of the gospel. He will tempt your pastor think to if he can just do this or that, then the congregation will grow. The world will tempt your pastor to worry about numbers and souls saved. The world says your pastor must be active in the community, friendly, and not ruffle any feathers. The world will quote random bible verses to criticize your pastor. All of this piles on the pastor.  We must stand together with our pastors against the devil, the world, and our sinful natures.  We must stand together and confess our sins and confess Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins.

Jesus Christ, for your pastor.

We will continue to fail our pastors, but Jesus Christ will never fail him.  Jesus Christ knows how to support your pastor. The Word of God supports your pastor. The sacraments support your pastor just as they support us all while we bear our own crosses in this life. Jesus Christ took our sin, lack of love and support for our pastors to the cross.  All of our sins are washed clean with the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. His support is perfect, sinless, and everlasting. With Jesus our support is now perfect, sinless, and everlasting.

About Nathan Redman

Nathan Redman was baptized into Christ at Bethel Lutheran Church (ELCA) Wahpeton, North Dakota on June 17th 1979. He and his wife, Bernice and their two children, Elsie and Porter are members of Redeemer Lutheran Church (LCMS) in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Nathan works for a family owned Pepsi distributor in St. Cloud. In his spare time he enjoys watching Doctor Who, listening to Frank Sinatra and drinking single malt Scotch. Nathan considers it a privilege to write for Steadfast Lutherans.


Supporting Your Pastor — 7 Comments

  1. The devil and the world come often enough in the guise of Elders, or church members, who want things to be exactly as they want them, whether it’s a liturgy other than the “black and red”, a Bible class that’s not about the Bible, “open communion” for their non-lcms relatives, or whatever.
    [Lutheran Satire has some beautiful examples, e.g., my daughter goes to dance class; we ought to have ‘liturgical’ dancers.] 🙁
    [“Someone” (who turns out to be the complainer’s wife) wants the choir solo, instead of Mrs. Hasenpfeffer] 🙁

    Pity the poor Pastor! He’s supposed to make better Lutherans by “catechizing” these people, but they won’t show their faces at adult Bible classes.

    Kyrie eleison!

  2. AMEN! and what about lame LCMS leaders? stop destroying these faithful pastors and members who build churches so as to see them last upon HIS WORD and not the whims of sinners

  3. As laymen, we should also love our pastors and fellow laymen enough to hold the pastor’s feet to the fire with regard to pure teaching and practice, admonishing where necessary, or rejecting the heretic if all else fails.

  4. I am one of those “fools for Christ” that wear funny shirts and spend 8 days out of 7 trying to make Christ and his Blessed Work for all of us sinners known to as many as I can.

    1) If any pastor is doing it for the money, he needs math lessons and his head examined.

    2) If any pastor is doing it for prestige, see # 1.

    Some may gain fame and fortune, which I do not begrudge them in any way, shape or form, insofar as it came upon them through their faithfulness to their task and calling.

    Most every one of us “hod-carriers” out here in the vast hinterlands are not heretics, are not “not confessional nor Scriptural,” are not uncaring louts of whatever sort that pontificate. We are sinners, true, and quite aware of that fact – but we also must deal with the realities in the lives of the souls under our care. Brother Redman caught it perfectly, and I commend him for doing so.

    Ya see, as we used to say in sales, so of the Ministry: “It’s simple, it just ain’t easy!” Everyone has all sorts of solutions for whatever ails a pastor or his ministry – well-intentioned, I always believe (best construction and all), but most often, offered without an understanding of just what we “fools” really do.

    And I certainly won’t have enough space in this comment section to expand on that, but I will offer one piece of advice:

    Before you go to your pastor with a suggestion on how he can somehow better himself or his ministry in your midst, ask yourselves:

    Have I fixed that problem in MYSELF first?

    That usually nixes most criticism from the “git-go.” We backward collared types have all the same struggles with sin that everyone else has, but the Lord has called us to tell others very uncomfortable things, so they might understand what Jesus was really all about.

    And pray for us “fools.” There are things most just simply do not know or understand, that sit on our shoulders like lead weights. There are days when we feel flat run-over with not only our own personal lives, but those of the flocks we truly do love and truly do serve. We’re not asking for praise – we want to see all of you in the Heavenly Sanctuary on the last day, where there are no more tears and everyone sings right on key.

    Till then, we labor willfully and joyfully, first for the Lord, that we might then labor for all of you. I saw 42 miracles yesterday. They showed up to hear about Jesus and receive Him personally at the altar. They left with Jesus IN themselves. Best I can do!

    That’s my job, as it were, in the end.

    Pax, Sports Fans – jb

  5. how many cc’s and dp’s have given up all for HIS Truth and faithful pastors and faithful members? the LCMS is in sad shape and we shall send a report to prove that LCMS is afraid to defend Truth from lofty comfortable positionses-disgusting! as we lose truth our church
    how many cc’s and dp’s have given up all for HIS Truth and faithful pastors and faithful members? the LCMS is in sad shape and we shall send a report to prove that LCMS is afraid to defend Truth from lofty comfortable positions

  6. Hey, Ralph!

    How many folks in the pew have given up all for HIS Truth and faithful pastors and (other) faithful members? Do you really wanna go THERE?

    YOU SAY the LCMS is in sad shape (twice) without a whole lot of proof. Welpers, exactly when has the Church ever been pristine – virtually perfect? I’m going to say this without affectation or negative intent, but I wish some folks who comment on BJS would take it to heart . . .

    In the world we shall have tribulation (John 16:33). We are NOT the Church Triumphant, and will not be until each of us looks upon our own resurrected and perfected flesh!

    Ephesians 6 tells us who the “enemy” truly is (while I am very much tempted to go “Pogo” here), I will go with Paul’s conclusion.

    That makes none of anything this side of the eternal veil neat, or tidy, or as “orthodox” as any of us wish matters to be, which means we still have things to do and things to believe. But pursuing such matters in accusatory terms, as if “we are right” and ” the they are wrong” will solve nothing. And I usually discover the “we” is often as wrong as the “they.” In it all I see little of Jesus’ attitude.

    Brother Redman wrote a timely and well-reasoned post. Kudos for his getting it pretty much spot-on. The negative comments serve no purpose whatsoever, except to be extremely negative about a very positive post!

    Erring on the side of the Gospel is always a good thing! Try it!

    Nathan – thanks! I got it! “‘Ppreciate ya”, as we say in Texas . . . Pax – pb

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.