As you probably noticed, each of our staff is blogging from a book called I Am A Church Member (seriously, you should read it). We first divvied up all the chapters before the staff had read their books. My chapter was 4. As I sat down to read, I thought, I hope I get a chapter I’m passionate about. But, knowing my luck, I’ll get a chapter about something that I’m really terrible at and it’ll be more convicting for me than anyone else.
Then, I read the name of the chapter:
I Will Pray For My Church Leaders
My first thought was, Wow, I really suck at that. But, I would venture to say that 95% of you do, too. So, let’s try to get this right together. The gist of the chapter was praying for pastors, but I’m going to take it a step further. Here’s what you and I are going to do.
1. Pray for the Pastor.
Wherever you attend church, you should pray for your pastor. Whether your church is 50, 500 or 5000 members, nearly every person wants to speak with the pastor. I’ve had tons of people call, message or come to the church and request to speak with Derek, and many refuse to speak with anyone else. The Pastor is constantly on call, dealing with other people’s problems, as well as his own. He is constantly trying to be a good husband and father to his family, visit those who are sick, counsel those who are hurting, speak at events, weddings and funerals, preach each week, make decisions for the church, and the list goes on. Not to mention, dealing with all the people who just want to criticize him and tell him what needs to be “fixed”. Seriously, I’ve seen and heard some of the critical things people say about pastors. You would be appalled.
God has anointed your pastor (and every church’s pastor) to do His work. Because of that, he is held to a higher standard and the devil attacks constantly. So, pray for wisdom and protection. Pray for health, strength & peace.
2. Pray for the Pastor’s family
I’ve worked with a lot of Pastor’s Kids and nearly every one of them has two major issues that they deal with. One is time. Because dad is being pulled in so many different directions, they often feel neglected (even if they’re not.) And, the families are always “expected” to make an appearance at every event the pastor is involved in, even is mom works a full-time job and has kids in tons of different extracurricular activities.
The second complaint is the expectation of perfection. People tend to hold Pastors and their families to such a high level of expectation. Our pastors and their families are people. People make mistakes. People fail. No one is perfect and that includes leadership.
Prayer for these families is crucial. Pray for strength, peace, joy and protection.
3. Pray for the Elders
Every church has a group of people who make the big decisions, budget, staffing, building management, etc. These men are constantly seeking Godly wisdom so they can make informed decisions that affect the entire church body. One decision can ultimately mean the difference in someone coming to know Jesus. That’s a lot of weight to have on your shoulders! So, pray for wisdom, discernment, patience and the strength to make the tough decisions.
4. Pray for the church staff
Your church staff works hard to put on events, keep the place clean, problem solve and, let’s be honest, keep your pastor sane by handling things he shouldn’t have to handle. The support staff counsels, cleans, organizes and administrates. They are the reason your children have classrooms, the bathrooms are clean, sermon notes are available and the bills are being paid. Not only do they work their job, but they volunteer and have families who need them and their time can become stretched incredibly thin.
For example, on our staff, did you know?
- Diana lives in Broadview. Every time you see her and her husband Quentin, who is a deacon, at the church, they have driven 45 minutes to get there. Diana volunteers her time to help lead our Tell Women’s Ministry, disciple young women and attend a community group.
- Rafer works a full time job on top of his part-time worship position. He works nights and often sleeps during the day. He volunteers with Emmaeus and, while they’re on a break right now, usually leads a community group.
- Tyler has a big family, including a brand new baby girl. He works more than 40 hours a week and also volunteers by leading a community group.
That was not to brag on our staff, that was just to give a little glimpse of the extra time these people put in. So, pray for patience, strength, health, peace, wisdom and creativity.
5. Pray for our volunteers
These people tend their family, work their jobs, attend church and then take on the role of deacon, watch your children in our kids ministry, lead a community group, play for our worship team, etc. Churches cannot do what they do without these people and I would venture to say that 95% of churches don’t have enough volunteers to carry the load. So, pray for a renewal of strength, a deep passion and blessings over these people.
So, I’m challenging you, as well as myself to start right now. Take five minutes. Seriously, just 5 minutes, right now and pray for the pastor and his family, the elders, the staff and the volunteers. And then, strive to do it every day.
I also encourage you to join our prayer group led by Jackie Ashcraft and Lenie Vernon. They meet every Sunday and hour before service to pray for the leadership and the service.
If you don’t know what to pray, take some advice from Paul:
Colossians 1:9-12 “9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”
Ephesians 6:18-20“18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”