Celebration and Encouragement of A New Pastor
On October 14, my congregation will, Lord willing, witness the ordination of the newest pastor in the Canadian Reformed Churches. Our Brother Abel Pol will be ordained by his own father and I have been told that many people will pack the church for this blessed occasion (I hope the ushers are ready with extra chairs!) I have also been told by many people from across Canada and Australia that they will be watching the live feed of the service (I hope the server can handle the load.) Yes I will join in the festivities as well; I am overjoyed at this occasion!
I fully expect all of us “Chilliwack Canreffers” to thank God for our Brother (soon to be reverend) Abel Pol, and to love him and his family. But it has been said that very few people understand how much a pastor needs encouragement, just like we all do, and how we can be a source of great encouragement to our pastor.
So, How can we encourage our pastor? (This is far from a complete list, so feel free to add your points!)
First – We need to pray with gratitude for the man God has given us. Do not underestimate the power of prayer. Pray often and fervently for your pastor.
Second – When he delves into the Word and mines the ore and sifts out the diamonds and painstakingly digs up a gem of truth and presents it to us in the form of a sermon, a bible study, or something to read, we have to pay attention. When we sleep through the sermon, or don’t pay attention in a bible study lesson or don’t devote ourselves in catechism classes, this can be discouraging to him. When we neglect these things, it says that we don’t value what he is doing for us. So encourage him by paying attention to his kingdom work.
Third – Most of us will shake the pastor’s hand or say “good morning” or “good sermon” …But when we only say these things to the pastor or shake his hand on Sunday morning it might be received the way you intended, but then again it might not be. (I must clarify that I am not discouraging shaking his hand or talking to him after the service!) What I am trying to say is that these may easily be seen as simple kindness rather than sincere gratitude. For example, (if I can risk using myself as an example), from time to time I hear kind words from people about this blog, but that could just be people simply being nice to me. It is nice to hear kind words, don’t get me wrong, however when I hear someone say, “So and so was encouraged by a post you wrote…” that is very encouraging to a simple blogger like me – imagine how much more encouraging that would be to a pastor whose main purpose in life is to minister to us? So if what you have said about him and his work comes back to your pastor, that you have spoken well of him to others he will be encouraged. Encourage your pastor by speaking well of him at all times and in all situations. Also don’t compare him to other pastors, but thank god that He has given us a man to minister to us.
If I can take a moment to “speak well of” our soon to be pastor. He took time from his examination studies to provide me with guidance and encouragement in a situation I was dealing with regarding brother in Christ who confided in me some issues he was going through. From 3000 km’s away he showed his “pastor’s heart” to me. (Then I asked him to forget about the issue and focus on his exam because we need a pastor!) J
Fourth – What do you think your pastor wants more than anything else for you personally and for the entire flock? You may have addictions, or personal struggles and sins to overcome, each of us has a unique situation, but a pastor’s goal for all of us is the same. He intends to see each of us growing in faith and love, growing in our sanctification by the Holy Spirit to become more Christlike every day. (At least this is what I have gathered from the few pastors I have spoken with.) While words may hurt him, or your falling asleep during a sermon may discourage him, what a pastor most grieves over is when his sheep are not growing spiritually. When a pastor sees a man seeking to be a godly husband and father, and his family is growing in faith, and they are happy to be with him and content in all things – this will encourage you pastor. When he sees quarreling brothers reconciling a soured relationship, he is encouraged to know that the love of Christ is increasing among his congregation. When factions are toppled and cheeks are turned, he rejoices. When he sees you visiting the homeless, the widow, the poor, the elderly and the orphaned, he knows you are practicing real religion. When he sees you sharing your faith with the unbelieving; when he sees you practicing your faith inside the church and outside of it, he knows that you are growing in faith and love and he rejoices. Seek holiness and be disciplined in your discipleship.
So let’s rejoice that God has granted us a pastor, let’s take part of the festivities and the celebration, because we have much to be thankful for and much to celebrate. I fully expect there to be “standing room only” at his ordination. Let’s celebrate this occasion, but afterwards let’s not forget to encourage him in his work. Let’s show our new pastor how his labor in bringing us the Word is encouraging us to grow in faith, love, wisdom, and Christlikeness. That is the desire of our new pastor’s heart. How do I know that? Because that is the desire of Jesus’ heart.
I hope to see you all at the welcome evening!
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.