Church leaders often find themselves in a bitter and lonely place. When I stepped into ministry leadership, I feared the high and even unrealistic expectations people would place on both me and my family. I had been through an intense personal struggle to understand and finally accept God’s call upon my life. As a pastor’s kid, I had in-house experience of how people can be so insensitive to the love and care of the shepherd who God has placed in their lives.
Godly encouragement is the antidote for church leaders who find themselves constantly second-guessing their ministry call. Leaders need to feel appreciated for their ministry. Verbal recognition of positive attitudes or characteristics is essential. Appreciation can also be demonstrated in tangible forms, such as cards, letters, presents or monetary gifts. Taking a public stand against unfair or demeaning criticism toward the leader helps soothe the pain inflicted by insensitive church members. Caring for a church leader’s family is not only a blessing and a privilege, but also a biblical mandate to be upheld by the church.
Throughout the years, one major source of encouragement which has impacted me the most as a church leader is being uplifted in prayer. There are a handful of people in my life who regularly take the initiative to call or meet me in person to pray for me. They specifically pray for my life, marriage, family, health, ministry, finances and leadership. They take down my prayer requests in writing and make a commitment to pray daily. I know I can count on them to sustain me spiritually when times get tough. Without them in my life, I honestly do not know how I could have pressed on during the many times of anguish.
How can you encourage a church leader today?
Heavenly Father, I thank you for the godly leaders you have placed in my life. I pray for Your blessing and anointing upon their lives. May I be used by You to encourage them as they have encouraged me so many times. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Joe Souza serves as the pastoral leadership development coordinator at the Baptist Convention of New England.