Last Spring, Thabiti shared some statistics about pastors compiled by the Schaeffer Institute. These numbers emerged from research done from 1989-2006, and my guess is that things have gotten worse, not better, since then. The one that struck me most in the report was the fact that 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month. That number is astounding to me.
At a recent gathering, Carl Trueman was asked what churches could do to stem the tide of men leaving the pastorate. His answer was that elders of the church needed to do a good job protecting the pastor of the church (for the sake of brevity, allow me to make the distinction between "elders" and "pastors" in the church).
I think Trueman is right. Pastoral ministry requires a lot of work with sin-sick, spiritually wounded people. It can require unpleasant confrontation and rebuke. And while church members often appreciate the pastoral care they receive, sometimes spiritually unhealthy people react in spiritually unhealthy ways. And so pastors are particularly vulnerable to attack and accusation from the very people they are called to serve and love. I Timothy 5:19 seems to assume that this is the case, thus the apostle's instruction not to consider accusations against him lightly.
So it might be good for you to think about how you can protect your pastor, particularly if you are in church leadership.. Do you listen willingly when people complain about him. Do you pray for his spiritual protection regularly? If your pastor is discouraged, what can you do to help him?
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Elders, Pastors, and Protection
From Mike McKinley: