"The Sunday Team" is a series of posts written to help worship leaders and pastors do a better job of knowing, encouraging and serving one another. Powerful things can happen when these two leaders work together!
Work in a church for even a little while, and you’ll start to realize that being a pastor involves a whole lot of drama. Complaints, insecurities, overwork,and family stress all combine to create a pretty tense work environment.
Pastors internalize a lot of stuff. They hear secrets and confessions and they often get to see the worst parts of their congregation on a daily basis. It’s no wonder that God speaks so seriously about those called to teach His Word and to pastor His people!
You can’t know everything your pastor has to deal with, but if you’re aware of some of the big challenges, you can be a great friend and encourager.
I was one of those kids who grew up in church. Dad was a Sunday School teacher, Mom was the church secretary, and I was at literally every children’s ministry function ever produced. I really did “grow up” in that church. We went there for decades.
We loved our pastor. Everybody did. He was a passionate preacher and an imposing figure of authority and truth. To this day, I can remember sermons he preached from when I was a kid. He was that good. I was that in awe of him.
I kept going to the church after I got married and served on the worship team. As my worship leading got better, I began spending more time up at the church office. These late night planning sessions and rehearsals fostered my love of the local church and gave me the opportunity to see how church really was “done.” I was especially excited to get to know this pastor better. He had always seemed larger than life and I was becoming one of his team.
Except I never saw him.
Maybe he’d pass me in the halls, but for the most part, he came in the back entrance and went to his office, where the door remained closed. As you can imagine this was a huge shock to my system. Why was he hiding from everybody? Did he not like us? Did he think we were doing a poor job? At the time, I thought so. I was hurt by it and didn’t understand why he was so disconnected from his team. Twenty years later, I know exactly why.
Many pastors don’t feel the freedom to voice their frustrations for fear that doing so might discredit them or make them seem somehow less than perfect. In addition to causing pastors to bury their fears, this lack of transparency makes pastors suspicious of people who want to “get to know” them on a closer level. This makes it hard for pastors let their guard down. If you want to build a better relationship with your pastor, work hard to establish trust. Your pastor needs to know that you are a co-laborer in this ministry and that you’re not going to be offended by fears or anxieties. Your pastor will still need time alone to work through those hard moments in ministry, but it’s a lot easier knowing that there’s someone there to listen.