Monday, January 01, 2007

Inner~Views: Encouraging Your Pastor

Prayer Leader interviewed Bill Allison of Cadre Ministries

PL ~ Bill, your website states "While Cadre Ministries will bring training to any size church, its special concern is the church with one pastor (and many volunteer leaders)." Why this particular emphasis?

Larger churches have an inequitable voice in America because in America bigger means successful. You can question that all you want, but that's the way it is. While we don't have an ax to grind with bigger churches simply because they are larger, we want to champion what God is doing in the regular church. (I refuse to say "smaller" church--because it implies inferiority in our culture--and I don't believe they inferior at all.) Since our ministry focuses on helping churches train volunteers to do ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12), we LOVE the regular church because they already know that the key to effective ministry is training volunteers! Larger churches can hire staff. Good for them. But we honestly believe volunteers can do MINISTRY--real ministry--lead people to Christ and disciple them--often better than a pastor can--especially when they are TRAINED!

PL ~ How was this a motivation to write "7 Biblical Ways God Wants YOU to Encourage Your Pastor"?===>Click headline to access booklet . . .

We LOVE pastors! And quite frankly, we're sick and tired of seeing our best friends and colleagues get chewed up and spit out. This doesn't happen at every church--but it does at many. The problem is compounded because if a pastor talks about encouraging pastors--it can be seen as self serving. So we said, "Hey--as stateside missionaries--we're in a great place to bring up the biblical idea about encouraging pastors. So we purposely set up to address what the Bible says about the subject... and let it lead us to address the sticky issues of money, gossip, etc.

PL ~ The first challenge is to pray for your pastor ~ Why is this presented first?

Paul tells is that "first of all" we should pray for our leaders--and that includes our spiritual leaders. And, to be honest, we don't believe that in the average church there is much prayer happening--let alone prayer for pastors. We've got lots of programs--and we like purposeful programs--but prayer is often missing or extremely weak.

PL ~ Explain the purpose of "My Covenant with God, One Another and Our Pastor."

It's one thing to read about encouraging pastors. That's education and information. But I don't believe that education and information is enough to produce life-change. So we put the covenant in the booklet to challenge people to sign on the dotted line and seal the deal about being an encouragement to pastors. In one church, the elders of the church signed the covenant--then gave the folks in the congregation a chance to participate--and then hung the signed covenant in the foyer as a reminder... and accountability to each other--to be an encouragement to their pastor.

PL ~ How can a prayer leader mobilize others to pray for the pastor?

We need to regularly remember that pastors are PEOPLE... like you and me. If that doesn't get you praying--you think too much of yourself! We address the human side of pastoring in our booklet. But I think so many of us just don't get it--and some pastors foster this super saint facade--so we are totally shocked when we find out that our pastor is just like us. Remembering that our pastor is human can help us a ton when it comes to praying for him.

PL ~ Some pastors are very private and will not seem to welcome the support of members - What can a church member do at that point?

Pray. And I think the bigger issue there is that pastors have been conditioned--by past bad experiences--not to open their hearts to church people. I can't blame them. But I think all of us--especially leaders--are looking for a safe place to take our journey with Jesus. I would encourage you to be a safe person for your pastor--and not to give up if there is no reciprocation. It will take time to earn a pastor's trust. It may not be possible in some cases. But pray--and love them like crazy--whether or not they outwardly express appreciation for your encouragement.

PL ~ Bill, lease write a prayer that concerned Christians can pray for their pastor . . .

God, Help us to love our pastor with extremely practical expressions of encouragement. Use ME to show the way. Help us to err on the over generous side--with our words, finances, time, talents, and gifts. Give us a spirit of courage to keep others accountable to the biblical commands to encourage our pastor. Rebuke our hearts when we sin against our pastor by gossip--and give us repentant hearts. Prompt us every time we drive into the church parking lot to breathe a quick prayer for our pastor. Do whatever it takes to make our pastor flourish in his relationship with you, his spouse, his family, our church, and our community.
in Jesus' name... amen

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