You see your pastor every Sunday and Wednesday. You may have known the man and his family for years. Having spent 30 years behind a pulpit, and the last few years primarily ministering to ministers, there are many things I wish every congregation in every church knew about their pastor. Here are ten of them:
1. He pays taxes like everyone else. I will never forget a man who said he wished he was a pastor so he would not have to pay taxes. Surprise, many of us do, and because we pay self-employment taxes it is much more confusing and time consuming than getting a W-2.
2. His wife is not the paid associate pastor. She may be called the first lady of the local church, but she doesn’t get all the benefits.
3. His children know that when the phone rings after 9 PM, it will be a long conversation that keeps Daddy away, or a late night visit to the hospital.
4. He is not an expert on every issue that arises. He has to go to others for advice, and he passes that information on to those who have come to him with questions.
5. Bad news will affect his preaching. He does not need to hear about the overflowing toilet in the men’s bathroom right before he stands behind the pulpit. His mind should be focused on delivering a biblical message to God’s people, not trying to remember where the plunger is, or being concerned about any other problem. Be a blessing and fix the problem, or wait until after the service to let him know.
6. His family has painful experiences like every other family in the church. Even when things are not so good at home, and his home has bad times too, he must continue delivering messages that will bless those who hear it.
7. He enjoys truthful compliments, but he can tell when there are strings attached.
8. He needs the members of the church to come to him about their complaints instead of going to his wife and children. Yes, this happens more often than most would think.
9. He needs prayers for himself and his family. Satan targets them for destruction because of the large number of people who will be harmed in the aftermath of a pastor’s falling.
10. Financial difficulties weigh heavily on him. His salary is heavily influenced by the giving of church members. In most cases, that means he will bring home a salary much smaller than the average person in the church. That may be the reason the Bible says he is worth double honor.
Maybe you already knew these things about your pastor; maybe you learned something new. Whatever the case, make sure you bless your pastor this Sunday. The best way to do that is to tell him you are praying for him and ask if there are any specific concerns you can lift up for him.
Bert Harper served as pastor in multiple churches for almost four decades. He is currently the Director of Marriage, Family and Pastoral Ministries at AFA and host of AFR's Exploring the Word, aired weekdays 3:00-4:00 PM Central.