A relevant Apostolic Pentecostal resource that interacts with exciting guests and covers biblical topics of interest, ministry, Christian living, and practical insights hosted by Ryan French. This program is an extension of the popular blog Apostolic Voice (www.ryanafrench.com). Ryan is the Associate Pastor of Apostolic Tabernacle (www.aptabupc.com), a revivalistic United Pentecostal Church on the south side of Atlanta. Ryan’s greatest passion is helping people walk confidently in the Apostle’s doctrine and live a book of Acts life in the 21st century. Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/apostolicvoice/support
Ep. 73 | Things That Make Us Weary in Well Doing, Good or Gooder (Popeyes vs. Chick-fil-A Sandwich Challenge) with Talmadge French Jr.
Ryan and Talmadge discuss seven things that make Christians weary in well doing from the www.ryanafrench.com article 7 Things That Make Us Weary in Well Doing. They offer several ways to keep these common wearisome problems from wearing us down. The guys introduce a new segment called Good or Gooder, where they compare similar foods from competitors and decide which is good and which is gooder. In a nod to Episode 72, they pit the Popeyes chicken sandwich against the Chick-fil-A sandwich.
Paul encourages us in Galatians 6:9 to not be weary in well-doing; I know, I know, easier said than done. I’ve identified seven culprits that can cause us to be weary of doing good, even in good times. Next week, I will follow up with a list of 9 Signs That You Might Be Weary In Well Doing. Indeed, these lists could be much longer, but they are a good starting point. So, here are seven things that make us weary in well-doing.
I think it’s interesting that Elijah found himself in his darkest moment of depression immediately after witnessing fire fall from heaven (1 Kings 19:4).
Time and time again, Moses had to deal with a murmuring congregation that would not trust God’s plan. It took a toll on Moses (Numbers 14:27). Be careful about spending too much time with murmurers and complainers because, eventually, it will impact your spirit.
3. Giants (Obstacles)
The entire Israelite army was reduced to hiding in fear because of one Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Scary obstacles still paralyze people today and will keep us from living victoriously if we aren’t careful.
We all know them! And they wear us out if we get too focused on them. They often come and go as if they are genuine, and just the weight of knowing who and what they really are causes frustration in the sincere Christian’s life. Don’t allow hypocrites to distract you from the genuine.
5. Slow Moving Miracles
When Jesus healed the ten lepers, he told them to go and show themselves to the priest, but their miracle was not yet apparent (Luke 17:11-19). As they walked in obedience, it became clear that a miracle had occurred in their bodies. Sometimes, miracles are slow-moving, and we must walk in obedience for a season without real proof of God’s power. This can be discouraging, but if we keep walking, we will see the miracle come to pass.
6. Strange Miracles
Jesus was often unorthodox in his methodology. It must have seemed strange when he spit in the mud and rubbed it on a blind man’s face (John 9:6). I mean, who wants to walk around city walls for seven days straight? But God sometimes does things in ways that seem odd to us. How many people have missed what God has for them because they faltered at His instructions?
7. Reoccurring Enemies & Familiar Battles
The Philistines alone are mentioned 217 times in the Bible. Even after David killed Goliath and routed the Philistines, he had to fight them many times after that. Enemies and battles that seem to resurface repeatedly will wear us down over time. That temptation that you keep beating down only to face it again will cause discouragement. But remember, if God delivered you then, He can deliver you now.
Arguably, pastor’s wives are the most under-appreciated, stereotyped, overworked, unpaid people within any church paradigm. Pastor’s wives are especially vulnerable to criticism, attack, disrespect, and general impoliteness. And we aren’t even talking about the stresses her husband faces that bleed over into their marriage.Far too often, Pastor’s wives live under the umbrella of insinuated and sometimes overtly stated congregational demands. Unrealistic expectations abound along with contradictory requests that defy logic. Dress to perfection, raise impeccable children, always smile, be the church secretary, have unlimited time for everyone, lead every ladies ministry, attend every nuanced church function, host lavishly, entertain pleasantly, sing, play an instrument, teach Sunday School, be the ideal wife to the pastor, remember every detail, work, clean, organize, decorate the church, keep a model home, babysit, teach, and in some cases, they are expected (or forced by necessity) to work a secular job as well.
Pastor’s wives are the most under-appreciated, stereotyped, overworked, unpaid people within any church paradigm
Pastor’s wives dwell in a glass house and live with the constant realization that their every move is scrutinized. Beyond that, they are criticized by people with opposing judgments. For example, if they dress too fancy, they are unapproachable, but they are embarrassing if they dress too plain. Those same conflated standards are usually applied to their house, car, and children’s clothing. Furthermore, if they lead too many programs, they are accused of not making room for other leaders, but if they don’t lead enough programs, they aren’t pulling their weight, according to the critics. This is especially true if they are musical. Most of this negative information is filtered back to pastor’s wives via the “well-meaning” grapevine.
Pastor’s wives dwell in a glass house and live with the constant realization that their every move is scrutinized.
To be clear, some blessings and benefits come along with being a pastor’s wife. In ideal situations, they are treated with extra courtesy, respect, kindness, generosity, grace, understanding, and consideration. Usually, there is a mixed bag of goodness from some and ugliness from others towards the pastor’s wife. Hopefully, kindness outweighs the critical or tremendous emotional pain is inflicted on her heart. It goes without saying, this will also adversely impact her husband’s ability to minister effectively. The spoken and unspoken pressures take a toll, usually with very little external evidence. I’ve spent my whole life in and around ministry, so I know this to be true instinctively. However, surveyscorroborate my anecdotal experiences.Most of this tension comes from a general lack of biblical understanding regarding pastor’s wives. Furthermore, I believe this stems from the startling reality that the Bible has almost nothing to say directly about a pastor’s wife’s role. Leaving many to simply insert their own version of what they believe a pastor’s wife should be into their church’s culture, structure, and tradition. This creates a rigid performance template that many pastor’s wives find soul-crushing because it doesn’t consider their individual giftings.
What’s the Role of a Pastor’s Wife?
Although the Bible doesn’t provide explicit teaching directed to the role of pastor’s wife, it does not deny a pastor’s wife a ministry role within the church. Certainly, there are other essential ministry roles in local churches that the Bible doesn’t spell out instructions for, like Outreach Director, Youth Pastor, Sunday School Director, or Children’s Ministry Director, to name a few.The biblical role of being a pastor’s wife is best understood from what Scripture teaches about being a woman, a wife and mother, and a Christ-follower with God-given gifts. Biblically speaking, a pastor’s wife’s primary role is to be the wife of the pastor. I know that sounds a little too simplistic, but that is her first role in God’s eyes.
The biblical role of being a pastor’s wife is best understood from what Scripture teaches about being a woman, a wife and mother, and a Christ-follower with God-given gifts.
“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. (Genesis 2:18)”
“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)”
In Hebrew, the word for “helper” used in Genesis 2:18 is ezer (pronounced “ay-zer”), and it is always used in the Old Testament in the context of vitally important and powerful acts of rescue and support. The majority of its twenty-one occurrences in the Old Testament depict God helping human beings. Since God Himself can be a “helper,” it is clear that neither the word ezer nor the role of “helper” implies any sort of inherent inferiority (Exodus 18:4, Deuteronomy 33:7, Psalm 33:20, Hosea 13:9). It means the “helper” plays a supporting role rather than bearing primary responsibility for a task.
In the Hebrew text, “helper” is modified by the “suitable for him” (kenegdo), which seems to express the notion of complementarity rather than identity. The help looked for is not just assistance in his daily work or the procreation of children, though these aspects may be included, but the mutual support companionship provides. The word denotes function: Designed as the perfect counterpart for the man, the woman was neither inferior nor superior, but she was alike and equal to the man in her personhood while different and unique in her function. The function of Eve was not less valuable to the maintenance of the Garden or the furthering of humankind, but the shared responsibilities involved each accomplishing complementary tasks.
The function of Eve was not less valuable to the maintenance of the Garden or the furthering of humankind, but the shared responsibilities involved each accomplishing complementary tasks.
The usage of the Hebrew term ezer denotes far more than the English term helper can offer. The term indicates an “indispensable companion.” Defining the specific divinely inspired purpose for a woman is vital for understanding her role as a wife because the two are unmistakably intertwined.In light of Genesis 2:18, a pastor’s wife is called to be an indispensable companion and helper to her husband. Meaning, a pastor’s wife’s role will gradate based on the particular strengths, needs, and personalities of the couple (read more about pastoral personalities and styles here).Of course, a pastor’s wife must adhere to the same biblical standards as all other Christian women. She serves God and family while leading in various influential roles (Proverbs 31:10-31). Her virtue is praiseworthy (Proverbs 31:28-31). Most importantly, she is one who “fears the Lord” (Proverbs 31:30). Because she reverences the Lord, she will walk in the “beauty of holiness” (Psalm 96:9). Godly women must be “given to hospitality” (1 Peter 4:9). She must “walk in the Spirit” and not the flesh (Romans 8:1). Now that we have a basic biblical understanding of womanhood, we can discuss practical ways to support your local pastor’s wife.
Defining the specific divinely inspired purpose for a woman is vital for understanding her role as a wife because the two are unmistakably intertwined. In light of Genesis 2:18, a pastor’s wife is called to be an indispensable companion and helper to her husband.
1. Graciously allow her to prioritize her family. Although she loves you and cares for your soul, the needs of her family are and should be her primary concern. Don’t resent her for concentrating on the needs of her family above yours.
2. Appreciate her for who she is in Christ. Avoid the painful trap of comparison. God has given her gifts and abilities that are specific to her and her alone. Don’t constantly hold her up against someone else or against some elusive idea of the perfect pastor’s wife.
3. Celebrate her strengths and be understanding of her weaknesses. She strives for perfection and excellence, but like everyone else, she will not always obtain it. Rather than exploit or criticize her weaknesses do your best to lift burdens off her shoulders that do not fall within her areas of expertise.
4. Give her the benefit of the doubt just as you would have others do for you (Luke 6:31).
6. Do not belittle or speak critically about her husband to her or anyone else. If you have a problem with the pastor, speak with the pastor.
7. Refuse to speak critically about her behind her back. If someone else tries to engage in negativity, kindly remove yourself from the conversation. Idle words almost always filter back to the offended party. If you have a legitimate grievance, constructive suggestion, or concern, broach it with her privately.
8. Advocate on her behalf and speak positively into her life at every possible opportunity. I promise you; she doesn’t receive nearly as much positive affirmation as you might assume. Choose to be an encourager, not a discourager.
9. Pray for her regularly and intercede with God to give her strength. Your prayer cover will have a tremendous spiritual impact on her heart (Ephesians 6:18).
By supporting your pastor’s wife, you are creating an atmosphere of peace and unity. It encourages your pastor and gives him a sense of stability. All of this contributes to a climate of revival and goodwill. God will bless you because you are a blessing (Proverbs 11:25).
Most people don’t intentionally try to hurt their pastor. Of course, there are exceptions to that rule. However, there are subtle ways that people carelessly or inadvertently bruise their pastor. If you love your pastor and want to create a climate of revival and respect you will do your best to avoid the items listed below. Let’s dive in.
Tell him he only works on Sundays (or something to that effect). Most people say this jokingly not realizing how terribly insulting they’re being. The typical pastor is massively overworked and understaffed. Studies show that huge numbers of pastors leave the ministry because of burnout and exhaustion. Pastors often work seven days a week and have very little “off the grid” time. There’s no such thing as a definite “day off” in ministry.
Insinuate he makes too much money. First, you should want your pastor to be financially blessed (1 Timothy 5:17-18, 1 Corinthians 9:9-14, Romans 4:4, Acts 6:2). If you don’t, there’s a deeper issue at play. I realize that shyster preachers and TV charlatans have tainted the waters and made people wary, but a godly pastor deserves to be compensated reasonably well.
The average pastor struggles financially. The percentage of wealthy pastors is almost microscopic. Most pastors could make a far better living in the secular workplace. When a person insinuates their pastor is overpaid they are being hurtful in three major ways. One, if their pastor is struggling financially it tells him he will always be struggling financially if this saint has anything to say about it. Two, it demonstrates a lack of respect and appreciation for the work of the ministry. Three, it exposes a mindset that is undervaluing the worth of pastoral ministry.
Refuse to tithe. There is a curious trend that most pastors notice but rarely mention out loud; people who fail to tithe are often the most demanding people in the church. They want more programs, more individual attention, and more costly improvements than the average member. Now, good pastors aren’t in ministry for the money, but being in the ministry doesn’t mean you suddenly don’t need to make a living. Refusing to tithe doesn’t just harm the church it harms the pastor’s ability to provide for his family.
Disregard, disrespect, or mistreat the pastor’s family. Some people will do things to the family that they would never do directly to the pastor. Staggering inconsiderateness or blatant confrontational unkind behavior, when directed towards the family, ultimately harms the pastor. And it’s just plain wrong.
Compare him to other preachers. Constantly comparing your pastor to another pastor or a celebrity preacher who probably doesn’t even know who you are is soul crushing to him. Your pastor is not just a preacher he is your under-shepherd. Meaning, he has prayed for you, entreated God on your behalf, and bears a customized burden for your spiritual well-being. There might be other preachers who have more oratorical skill than your pastor, but your pastor doesn’t need to feel the pressure of comparison.
Disparage new ideas. Every pastor will have a new idea from time to time. Sometimes they work out as planned and sometimes they don’t. Don’t be the person who can always be counted on for the dreaded “I told you so” when a new idea falls flat. Every leader needs the leeway to try new things and adjust accordingly. Be as supportive of new things as possible.
Minimize successes. There are few things more discouraging to a pastor than people who refuse to celebrate successes. Some folks bring a wet blanket to every celebration by pointing out all the things that are still imperfect. No matter the strength of any given church, there will always be plenty of room for improvement, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t rejoice when progress is made.
Pretend you want advice when you really want validation. Ah. This is a big one. Don’t ask for counseling when you’ve already decided what you’re going to do. If you’ve already made up your mind just admit you don’t want spiritual guidance or genuine input from your pastor. Pretending you do when you don’t is disingenuous.
Talk behind his back. It might’ve just been a moment of frustration and you didn’t even really mean what you said, but when it gets back to your pastor (and it will) it will weigh on him heavily. He’ll love you regardless but your trustworthiness will be compromised.
Withhold honor. Some saints withhold honor because they don’t want their pastor to get a “big” head. Trust me. There are more than enough “balloon poppers” out there to keep him humble. Just give honor when and where honor is due.
View him suspiciously without a valid reason. We’ve all seen pastors fall from grace whether up close or from afar. We’ve all heard or maybe even seen the horror stories of preachers gone bad. Satan uses those sad stories to plant seeds of distrust and disunity within the hearts of good people. You wouldn’t teach your kids to distrust all police officers because of a few dirty cops, likewise, extend the same benefit of the doubt to godly ministry.
Fight with other saints. Probably nothing else causes more grief to a pastor than trouble among the saints.
Complain about irrelevant things. There are legitimate complaints that are worthy of mentioning to your pastor. However, airing out every personal preference and petty dislike becomes hurtful in a hurry.
In conclusion: everyone (including myself) has done at least one of the things mentioned in this article. Your pastor loves you anyway and that’s not going to change. We’re human, and that means we accidentally hurt one another occasionally. The key is to do our best to adjust when we realize that we’re causing someone pain.
I know in my life it can become difficult to keep the right things in focus. We live in a world where so many things are fighting for our attention, our time, our money, and our devotion. There are moments when I have to slow down and think about my priorities. Consider for a moment what Jesus said in Matthew 6:23, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” A powerful spiritual principle emerges as Jesus shows us, that when we put God’s Kingdom first, the rest of life’s moving pieces begin to fall naturally into place.
Sadly, many people place God’s priorities near the bottom or the middle of their To-Do-List. This creates a life that is constantly out of sync with the benefits of God. If you are peace-less, than you probably have a priority problem. If you are joyless, than it’s probably time to reevaluate who’s kingdom is first in your life.
Everybody instinctively longs to be loved (by the way, love itself is a phenomenon that the atheist simply cannot explain scientifically), but our fallen nature tricks our minds into believing that love is something that we must search after selfishly. Our human default settings look for love in all the wrong places, in all the wrongs ways, and with all the wrong resources. Looking out for “me first” is not a strategy that invites God’s Kingdom to rule our individual world.
In actuality, true love is only accessible when we humble ourselves, seek God’s plan first, and allow Jesus to be the Lord of our lives. And Christ’s lordship must apply to every area of our hearts; that includes the secret places that no one can see or hear. We must allow His lordship into the things that we grasp tightly onto: finances, time, family, relationships, attitudes, lifestyle, culture, and behavior. Deception tells us that we know best, and that we should simply follow the desires of our hearts; but God warns us that our hearts are not to be trusted (Jeremiah 17:19). Like the song we cry, “Lead me Lord, I will follow.”
Consider another Scripture found in Mark 1:15 as Jesus preaches, “…the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel.” Thus, we see that God’s Kingdom is only available to us through repentance and obedience to the Gospel (for a brief description of the Gospel which requires: repentance, water baptism in Jesus’ name, and Spirit baptism visit Acts 2:38). If we are Kingdom minded, than we must realize that it is not enough to be satisfied with our own salvation; we are called to reach others and bring them into the Kingdom as well.
The Apostle Paul demonstrated admirably how a Kingdom minded individual operates with those who are lost, “…there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the Kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not (Acts 28:23-24).” It is, I think, important to remember that we can reach for the lost, but we cannot impose God’s will upon them. Even God does not impose His will upon us. However, we are mandated to lovingly reach for every single person that we possibly can.
So as we rush through the busy month of August, let’s intentionally seek the Kingdom of God first. Let’s refocus our minds upon spiritual things, rather than allowing the busyness of our daily lives to be an overwhelming distraction.
I remember a kind of gloomy fog settling over my mind after hearing from my Pastor (who doubles as my father) that we would be planning preaching and teaching strategies for the entire upcoming year. Dread! Panic! A throbbing, and all too familiar migraine, began forming in the base of my skull. Up until that point, I had mostly been a high powered evangelist approaching each new service like a maverick gunslinger. On some, albeit rare occasions, I even went to the pulpit with a few scribbled notes and an open Bible. I had a preaching mindset that prided itself upon being highly in tune with the Spirit, and evidently (according to my youthful way of thinking) the Spirit could only see a few days (or even hours) into the future.
That’s not to say that there isn’t a certain kind of desperate advantage to that style of ministry. Certainly, an evangelist is charged with the sacred duty of stirring a sudden response to the Gospel that is often best served with a large dose of spiritual spontaneity. But my role in the Body of Christ had shifted, and now my pattern was being drastically jolted.
Plan we did, with calendars and coffees in hand. We planned teaching series for Midweek Bible Study and Sunday School, and preaching series for Sunday mornings and Sunday evenings (we have lots of good church at Apostolic Tabernacle). Thankfully, we left some wiggle room for my coveted spontaneity. We left no stone unturned. We met with our church staff (paid and volunteer) to plan yearly events and activities. Meanwhile, I held my breath and nursed a silent tantrum fully expecting this strategy to fail magnificently. Not only did it not fail, it excelled beyond my wildest ability to believe. When I say excel, I mean far more than that the church received good sound doctrine, grew at a reasonable pace, and enjoyed good health (although all of that is true); I mean that the process has been a tremendously freeing experience.
This is shocking to me because it seemed so constricting at first. I discovered a profound peace in having a structure (loose but not too loose) in which to study and seek God’s heart. Also, it seems that God is fully aware of what will be happening next month or even (gasp) next year. God can give direction far in advance of any man made time stamps. Not only that, God operates according to a certain command structure. God honors us when we surrender our stubborn will to ordained authorities.
Fast forward several years later, and I can’t imagine ministry without a well-planned preaching and teaching schedule. I just happened to mention this to Dad at lunch the other day, he laughed and gave me a knowing look; then he said something profound (as he often does), “If you approach study without self-imposed parameters of difficulty you will always seek the most familiar path or the mediocre path of least resistance.” In other words, when we approach preaching and teaching like a maverick gunslinger we never challenge ourselves to learn, study, contemplate, and digest things that are unfamiliar. It’s well and good to have a favorite soap box or a tasty candy stick but those things, although comfortable, may become little more than an excuse for intellectual laziness if we are not very careful. So father does know best (sometimes).
I just read a great article entitled How to Serve Your Pastor Well by Jamie Brown. I encourage you to read his article for yourself (after finishing this one of course). Jamie writes from the perspective of a Worship Leader but most of his points are relevant to all ministry positions within the church. His article resonated with me because, like Jamie, I am approaching 10 years of full time ministry in the second chair position.
Almost immediately after graduating from Bible College I stepped into the position of Assistant Pastor. Several years as a full time evangelist followed, which is still a second chair position with its own specialized set of challenges. Currently, I am privileged to serve as Assistant Pastor to my father (Dr. Talmadge French). Nearly 10 years in the second chair has given me a perspective that may be helpful to my fellow second chair colleagues, and perhaps for senior pastors to consider as well.
1. Count it an honor to serve your Pastor. Now I know that in some church paradigms the role of Assistant or Associate Pastor is little more than a title with no meaning, but thankfully this sad paradigm is shifting. Pastor’s desperately need faithful ministers who will stand beside them and hold their arms up in battle (Exodus 17:10-13). However, if you view your role as nothing more than a stepping stone to a greater position, or as a launching pad for your personal (yet unappreciated) ministry than you are not serving your Pastor; you are serving your own selfish ambitions. You may think that your motivations are sufficiently hidden but usually they are far more visible than you imagine, not only to your pastor, but also to the congregation that you are serving. There is nothing more rewarding than ministering without hidden agendas. Remember, it is God who exalts us according to His perfect timing (1 Peter 5:6).
Many capable ministries never reach their full potential because they refuse to see the value of the second chair position. As a church grows and flourishes in healthy, God-given revival the need for dedicated support ministries becomes more and more vital. To serve in the capacity of pastoral support ministry is an honorable and highly commendable calling. If you closely examine any thriving, revival church you will find not only a dynamic Pastor, but a dynamic support ministry as well. God uses unity to propel revival not a maverick mentality.
2. Remain fiercely loyal at all times. Loyalty is becoming extinct in our fast moving culture. Our grandparents drove the same Ford or GMC their whole lives, many of them lived in the same towns that they grew up in, attended the same church that they were saved in, lived and died under the same pastoral ministry, and drank the same brand of coffee every morning. Fast forward to my generation; we’re moving from church to church, from city to city, from fad to fad, constantly moving to the next big thing, or the next big idea, and yet it never seems to occur to us that we have embraced a culture of disloyalty. This is not how God intended the Church to operate, while fierce independence may be admirable in the dog-eat-dog world of corporate leadership, in ministry, loyalty and faithfulness are absolute necessities. If you can’t be loyal in the second chair position than you can never expect loyalty from others when you find yourself in the first chair position.
3. Be a dependable shield and a worthy confidant. One of the most admirable roles that you can fill as the second man is to shield your Pastor from harm. Anticipate possible problems and internal factions, and do everything in your power to shield your Pastor from attacks. Guard your words and your integrity. If your Pastor confides in you be sure to keep that confidence or you will lose a level of trust that you can never fully regain.
Inevitably you will notice that your Pastor has weaknesses and flaws. Except in extreme instances where sin is involved, it is your role to pick up the slack in these areas. If you study the Apostles you will notice that although they were greatly used of God they had personality flaws that often needed to be put in the hands of God. Your Pastor is no less human and he deserves your fidelity. If you strengthen his weak areas he will return the favor when you are lacking.
4. Avoid flattery that produces unhealthy pride in your heart. Often the second man will receive adulation from those who seek to undermine the Pastor. I once had a man try to convince me that I should be pastoring the church that I was serving in at the time. Needless to say, I shut that conversation down in a hurry. He wanted to use me as weapon against his own Pastor. Shame on any second man who allows himself to be used as a pawn in the hands of rebellious saints. Sometimes the second chair position feels unappreciated and we become vulnerable to the enticements of flattery. The book of Jude warns of those who employ flattery in order to manipulate others for their own selfish desires (Jude 1:16). Learn to distinguish the difference between healthy complements and manipulative flattery.
5. Don’t be naïve. Sometimes saints are simply refreshed by the variety of hearing a new voice. This doesn’t mean that they don’t love their Pastor’s preaching, and it certainly shouldn’t cause you to feel superior. Evangelists and all other support ministries must take care not to allow compliments to go to our heads. Sometimes people are just being kind (they aren’t going to tell you that you did a second class job). Accept compliments carefully and gracefully.
During my first year of full time ministry, a family invited me to their house for dinner. Everything seemed kosher until dessert was served; suddenly I found myself dodging personal questions about our mutual Pastor. This seemed highly inappropriate and I told them so with as much kindness as I could muster. Many young ministers naively divulge privileged information in an effort to demonstrate their insider status. This is a terrible ethical precedent to set for your ministry and life in general. Appearing “in-the-know” isn’t nearly as important as being a man of integrity.
6. Avoid second guessing your Pastor. There are going to be times when you feel as though something should be handled differently. You might even feel as though you could have done something better or smoother. Once more, you might even be right, but it’s unhealthy to dwell on those emotions. Submission is only submission when you are in disagreement. God honors us when we yield ourselves to spiritual authority (Hebrews 13:17; Romans 13:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; Ephesians 4:11). However, many times a Pastor makes decisions and judgments based on information and facts that we are not privy too. If we are walking in true humility we must be willing to acknowledge that we may not always know what is best. After all, a Pastor is the God called watchmen on the wall (Isaiah 62:6; Ezekiel 3:17-19), and this vantage point gives him spiritual insight that we simply do not have.
7. Don’t be high maintenance. I’m taking this one directly from Jamie’s article (mentioned above), along with a few additions of my own. Your Pastor is bombarded with high maintenance people on a daily basis and he certainly doesn’t need his close leadership adding to that chaos. Remember your role is that of supporter and if you are constantly adding to your Pastor’s stress level than you are failing in that mission. This is not to say that you can’t turn to him for advice and guidance but do so with care and moderation. Learn to be respectful of his time, his privacy, his family, and his work load. I guarantee that if you learn the value of this particular piece of advice your pastor will love you for it.
8. Respect, value, and be considerate of the needs of the family. I have already alluded to this point, but it is extremely important that the second man is respectful of the needs of the Pastor’s family. Many Pastor’s kids and Pastor’s wives suffer the indignity of waiting on their father or spouse to finish lengthy conversations that were dishonestly presented as only needing “a moment of your time.” A considerate leader is sensitive to these things and learns to use the appropriate timing to make important connections. If your Pastor’s family begins to resent your constant interruptions and intrusions than you will eventually find yourself feeling cut off and disconnected. Work to identify the proper times to make lengthy connections and your Pastor and his family will love you for it.
9. Avoid telling your Pastor how other Pastor’s do things. Every Pastor has their own style and way of doing things. Most Pastors have their own biblical perspective of how the Church should operate. It took me a few years to realize as the second man that my Pastor did not appreciate my constant little reminders of how so and so Pastor did this or that. In a sense you are telling him that you respect this other Pastors way of doing things more than his way of doing things. Furthermore, every church, city, and culture is vastly different. What works in one context doesn’t necessarily work in another.
10. Follow through and finish what you start. If you begin a project see it through to the end. Nothing is more frustrating to leadership than watching another project get placed on the backburner. If you make a commitment follow through, otherwise it will be very hard for your Pastor to entrust you with greater responsibilities. Along this same vein of thinking, try not to despise the small, unpleasant, or seemingly unimportant duties. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
11. Don’t be a copycat. This is not to say that you shouldn’t emulate your Pastor’s leadership or take on any of his characteristics, however, it’s ok to be you. Your church doesn’t need identical twins, identical preachers, and identical leaders. In fact, the differences are often refreshing for a congregation. Variety is the spice of life, and your unique qualities will endear you to others. Copycats become disingenuous and plastic over time.
12. Have fun. Ministry is serious business, and we ministers have a tendency to take ourselves too seriously. This might seem counterintuitive but you should cultivate a fun and friendly demeanor. There is a time and a place for extreme seriousness, but no one wants to work closely with an individual who doesn’t understand the value of laughter. Let the joy of the Lord be your strength (Psalm 28:7).
13. Know your role and what is expected of you. You will circumvent all kinds of frustration by simply understanding what is expected of you. Many Pastors are hesitant to tell you everything that they expect from you on a regular basis (maybe we’ll cover these reasons in a later post). Dig deep and learn your parameters.
14. Be spiritually sensitive. It should go without saying that we must be spiritually healthy. Pray for your family, your church, and your Pastor. Pray and pray some more. Let’s lay aside our over inflated ideas of dignity and worship God with all of our might. Guard your heart, guard your mind, and never stop growing in the Lord.