A Few Good Men- People a Pastor Needs
I think the “Pastor on a Pedestal ” era has ended. There was a time, not long ago, when a pastor was considered other-worldly, and the rumour was his feet never actually touched the ground. With the fall of so many prominent ministers in the last half-century, and with the broad range of communications now available to every kook that covets the title, many now look at a minister with eyes wide open, as a fallible creature (which we are!). Add to this the cultural arrival of professional familiarity (a whole other topic with its pro’s and con’s, where Rev. William Smith is now Pastor S., or just plain old ‘Billy’) we are no longer able to separate the person from the office, our pal from our pastor. The upside of this familiarity is the reality that we are human, and have the same basic needs as any other member of the church.
- A Confidant- someone who will be his friend. The irony of the ministry is that it is distinctly possible to be very lonely in the midst of so many people. A pastor needs someone he can be himself around, go fishing with, and pop in on unannounced, just to chat. I don’t mean that he is one person in the pulpit and another in private, but there are aspects of the personality of the pastor that he cannot show everyone. This is often someone outside the local congregation (but not always), who he can be himself around.
- A Counsellor- someone he can unburden himself to and who is removed enough from the daily activities of the local church to give objective advice. Often this is another pastor, or a wise elder of another congregation who can give a word in season regarding the focus, desires, and goals of the pastor. These people are most precious, and you only need one or two to really make a difference.
- An Intercessor- someone who will promise to pray for him and the church. Believe it or not, this kind of person is a rare commodity! It is a selfless act of love, simply because there is no outward return for it. To find someone who will wrestle in prayer with him, and for him, is one of the greatest blessings of the ministry.
- A Critic- someone who loves him enough to be honest with him regarding the many aspects of the ministry. While there are always many applicants for this position, very few know how to be a good critic. This person is often a seasoned elder in the congregation, or a past office-bearer, who not only knows what a good ministry looks like, but desires to see him succeed. While praise is gravy to the ministry, the meat and potatoes are often found in loving criticism from someone who has a vested interest in his success. So this person is often in the local congregation.
- An Encourager- someone who loves the man and the ministry, and is not afraid to speak of the positive elements of the pastorate. The ministry can be very discouraging at times, and a pastor, being the sensitive person that he is (believe it or not), often has a difficult time seeing the good amidst all his perceived failures. An encourager, (who if he is exceptionally gifted, is also the critic), knows when to send that card or email, or pick up that phone and lift up the hands that hang down (Ex 17:11; 12:12.).
What do you think, have I missed any people a pastor needs? I’d appreciate your thoughts.