So someone said something yesterday that has been rolling around in my brain, wreaking havoc. I was taking part in a course to become a lay speaker at my church (I know, right... me? Hmmm!) and we were talking about pastors and how they are subject to a great deal of stress. So this person sited a study that found that most pastors don't have many friends. I can't even say how sad that makes me. I don't know lots of pastors, but I do know a few, and they are, without exception, amazing people. I have so much respect for people who make the choice to dedicate their lives to serving GOD in that way. It is such a huge responsibility, and I can't imagine how hard it must be to balance all they have to do, and stay healthy- not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. And to do it all, not feeling like you can lean on those around you for support? I can't even imagine. I know they must have friends (really, the pastors I have known are too friendly and caring not to have any friends), I'm guessing that the point was that they don't have close friends in their congregations. I understand that there is a need to have boundaries, and that if you are in a position of authority that there needs to be a seperation so that the job can be done effectively, it just makes me feel lonely for them. I know that personally I count on my friends for so much. Even if I don't confide why I am having a bad day or whatever, they are there to support and encourage and love me. And, as much as I love and respect our pastor as our pastor, I love and respect her as my friend and as a Sister in CHRIST first. Her identity isn't primarily 'Pastor', it is fellow Christian. So it made me think, what do we do as congregants? How do we help our pastors feel that friendship, that love and support and encouragement, without putting them in a position that makes their jobs harder? Is it possible? I know that, in our family, we make an intentional effort to support our pastor. We pray for her and her family. We gift her occasionally with little things, send her notes, whatever is on our hearts to do to bless her... just as we do our other friends. I really believe that it is our duty as people in her congregation to support her, but also I believe that we should do what we can to make all our friends feel special. Because, well, they are! They are a blessing from GOD.
So today, say a prayer for your pastor. And tomorrow, and the day after, and every day. Pray that they will feel GOD's peace, and strength, and comfort. That they will feel the Holy Spirit and respond to GOD's prompting. And that they will know true friendship and all the blessings that come with it. And do something to show them how much you appreciate them.
LORD, I pray that our pastor, and all pastors, will know how much they are appreciated, and loved, and respected. I pray that they will be blessed by us as much as we are blessed by them. Thank you for their godly influence in our churches and in our lives. In JESUS' name, Amen.