Killing the Spirit of Our Pastors

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Most of us haven’t fully realized the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual demands required to serve as a pastor during this season of uncertainty. We are often aware of the investments those in ministry made in our own lives during the shutdown and reboot of church ministries. What we haven’t calculated, however, is the cumulative time, energy, and stress those investments have required when multiplied by the entire membership population of our congregation.

But it isn’t the unprecedented situation of trying to do ministry with all of us in this season of uncertainty that is killing the spirit of our pastors; instead, it is the selfish responses from some of us during that process. Even though pastors have prayed diligently and continued to seek wise counsel regularly, they are flat worn-out from still getting beat-up from one side or the other…and sometimes even both sides at the same time.

As our pastors are trying to discern a healthy balance between the sacred and the scared, we are criticizing them for requiring or not requiring masks. Instead of trusting their prayed through and collaborative leadership, we are threatening to attend somewhere else that better meets with our expectations. As they’ve tried to ascertain what is spiritually and biblically best for the whole, we have demanded what is politically best for us.

If all of us have had the same expectations during this season that our pastors will willingly respond to our every need and demand or face certain criticism when they don’t, then how can we not expect the stress of that responsibility to eventually take its toll? So does it seem right and healthy that the functional reality is that no one during this season of shutdown and reboot has gotten less of the ministry from the body of Christ than our pastors have?[1]

If we were able to perform an autopsy on the morale of our pastors after this season is over, the cause of death would inevitably include some of our names. So, maybe it’s time for us to not only give them a break but also the benefit of the doubt. And before labeling every decision they’ve made or will make as intentionally nefarious or politically motivated, let’s each spend as much time praying through those decisions as they have.

 

[1] Adapted from Paul David Tripp, Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 11-12.

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3 Responses to “Killing the Spirit of Our Pastors”

  • Lois M Nemeth Says:

    Agreed. Our District Superintendeant reminds Laity, lay leaders, volunteers and congregation for assistance, patience, and faith to carry us through.
    Pray unceasingly. We will get through this together.

  • David Manner Says:

    Thanks, Louise. You are correct that our pastors are on the front line and have been ministering tirelessly over the last few months. It is sometimes a thankless job but they continue to serve faithfully.

  • Louise Blackwood Says:

    Well said and also as I assumed especially knowing your heart as I’ve experienced. I personally know couple of our other pastors but not as well as you David. But realize all are on the front line of spiritual and political warfare. Praying for physical and mental strength as it seems satan is truly going to and fro seeing who he can devour. God bless you and keep you . Looking forward to long awaited fellowship personally. Love to you and your family. Sincerely and always, Louise

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