By Chuck Lawless
I’m excited to be a part of our church in Wake Forest, Restoration Church, and I love my pastor. I’m proud of him and enjoy working beside him. I’m also honored to carry some of his burdens for him. Here’s why all of us need to be a friend to our pastors.
- They carry a heavy burden. They’re responsible for caring for our souls (Heb. 13:17), and it’s hard to find a weightier responsibility. I feel it as part of a pastoral staff, and I remember it well when I served as a senior pastor.
- They have to balance a lot of stuff. Even the best pastoral time managers face the reality that life sometimes gets in the way of a schedule. Not getting stuff done, though, is usually not an option for a pastor.
- They’re responsible for proclaiming God’s Word to us each week. That means they have to spend time with God and His Word, let that Word work them over personally, and then bring the Word to us in a clear and passionate way. That’s heavy.
- They sometimes bear burdens alone. Their calling sometimes demands that be the case. My pastor doesn’t tell me all he carries, but that doesn’t matter to me—I simply hope that my friendship with him brings him some joy in tough times.
- They’re sometimes lonely. I know, because I’ve been there. Pastors are sometimes placed on so many pedestals that few people remember they’re just human beings who need friends.
- They appreciate encouragement. My schedule doesn’t always allow me to just hang out with my pastor. I can always, though, send him an email or text of encouragement from wherever I am in the world.
- They need prayer support. All of us have the privilege to pray for the pastors who lead us, and each of us can make that happen. True friendship is sometimes expressed from our knees in our prayer closet.
- They can be fun. One of the things I most love to do is laugh with my pastor. I know when he’s laughing, he’s enjoying what he’s doing. And, because he’s fun, I’d be missing out if he weren’t my friend.
What are your thoughts about this topic?
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Dr. Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions, Dean of Graduate Studies, and Vice-President for Graduate Studies and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary, in addition to serving as Team Leader for Theological Education Strategists for the International Mission Board. Dr. Lawless served as pastor of two Ohio churches prior to joining the Southern Seminary faculty in 1996. He received a B.S. degree from Cumberland College and M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Seminary. He is the author of eight works, including “Membership Matters,” and “Spiritual Warfare,” and has contributed numerous articles to denominational periodicals. He and his wife Pam have been married for more than 20 years and reside in Wake Forest, NC.