In Defense of Your Pastor (An Open Letter in Support of God’s Shepherds)

In Defense of Your Pastor (An Open Letter in Support of God’s Shepherds)

 

Doctors, nurses, schoolteachers, and a few thousand other occupations and small businesses had a tough year. 2020 presented challenges previously unknown and unfaced in most of our lifetimes.

 

Regardless of where you land on the political or economic scale, nobody argues about whether last year was challenging or not. It was hard. Like off the charts hard.

 

In case you’re wondering, pastors had a difficult year too.

 

  • For the first time in America, churches were forced to close their public services for a season. (Some still haven’t opened.)

 

  • Depression, drug abuse, and suicide were far more common than usual. We got the midnight calls.

 

  • Most of us watched our churches dwindle in size and resources.

 

  • We were forbidden to visit our parishioners who were critically ill or dying in the hospital.

 

  • Our email boxes are filled with cries for help from people wrestling with old and new addictions, spousal abuse, isolation, and abandonment.

 

 

Here’s where I’m going to sound more than a bit defensive . . . 

 

  • We, pastors, are in a spiritual battle 24/7. And the struggle is real.

 

  • We, pastors, are evaluated, accepted, or rejected (at some level) every time we speak or write. (There’s a good reason why people hate public speaking.)

 

  • We, pastors, are attempting to lead a wide variety of people who have never been more opinionated. Some think we are idiots for capitulating to the “liberal right” and closing our doors; others are angry because we opened before there’s a vaccine. Some—the maskers—never want to see my face; others—the non-maskers—get irritated when they can’t see my coffee-stained smile.

 

  • We, pastors, get the emails and verbal threats from some who accuse us of not loving others because we’re open and singing. (I have been called “Satan incarnate” and selfish.)

 

  • We, pastors, get the emails from those who accuse us of not having enough faith when we decide to stay closed, not sing, or we ask people to wear a mask.

 

In nearly forty years of pastoring, I have never felt more like I am walking a tightrope and in a lose-lose scenario. It’s never been my goal to keep everybody happy. That’s impossible. But the extremes (on both ends) continually peck at my leadership.

 

So, what? Why this post?

 

Of course, I encourage you to do the expected and helpful “spiritual” things. Pray for your pastor. Try to encourage him or her. Be cognizant of the struggles they face that are at a much broader level than what most of you can conceive.

 

The press never gives us credit, but your pastor is a frontline worker too.

 

 

That being said, here’s my best advice: Stay.

 

Stay put. Stay with your pastor. Stay committed. Stay present (be there when the doors are open.) Stay quiet when you’re tempted to add to the chorus of negativity. Just stay.

 

Now is not the time to go “church shopping.”

 

Now is not the time to “feel led by the Holy Spirit” to go to another church.

 

Now is not the time to quit or the time to fire your pastor. (What kind of dysfunctional board terminates a pastor during a pandemic?)

 

My pastor once told me, “Everybody’s leaving.”

 

He might be right, but disappearing during a pandemic is beyond painful for a pastor who is already struggling.

 

Perhaps, commitment and faithfulness to the Kingdom and the Church is spelled S T A Y.

 

Maybe, what you do when things are far from perfect is the best reflection of God’s perfecting work of maturity in you.

 

What if you practiced the wisdom of Solomon, who wrote, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born to help in adversity.” At all times—including the terribly ugly and trying times.

 

Please stay and watch what God can do through a committed friend. What if it’s not just about you, how you feel, or how happy you are right now?

 

What if your pastor and Jesus need you to stay the course, now more than ever?

 

Too many pastors and church leaders are quitting. Too many churches are closing their doors forever.

 

 

Please be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem. Please.

 

By the way, guess how you can best bless your pastor (as you stay)? Come alongside him or her and serve like you’ve never served before. Help your leader care for the diseased, the disenfranchised, and the disillusioned.

 

Not only do I invite you to stay put, but I entreat you to hear the call of the Holy Spirit to step up. You are needed more than ever now.

 

So, never underestimate the value of your support to a pastor. He’s human. Most of us are needier than you might think. Nonetheless, Jesus called us, knowing full well our imperfections.

 

Remember that thing I say from time to time that I learned from one of my pastors? Never follow a leader who doesn’t walk with a limp.

 

Here’s something else to consider: It might be best if you’re not the cause of that limp. (This verse should sober you.)

 

Thanks for taking a few moments of your time to contemplate how you can make an eternal difference in the life of your pastor. He or she’s been doing all they can to make a difference in yours.

 

An imperfect, broken, and limping pastor . . . on behalf of my colleagues around the globe,

 

Kurt

 

Brothers and sisters, we ask you to show appreciation to those

who are working hard among you and those who are your leaders

as they guide and instruct you in the Lord—

they are priceless.

When you think about them, let it be with great love in your heart

because of all the work they have done.

Let peace live and reign among you.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (The Voice)

 

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21 thoughts on “In Defense of Your Pastor (An Open Letter in Support of God’s Shepherds)

  1. What a bunch of crap. Great excuses for closing down church meeting places when needed the most!
    I am appauled you tell the church not to find a new church that IS open,
    Who are you to deny us what God commands.

    Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV /
    And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

  2. So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:1-5.
    God has you covered Kurt. He loves you no matter what others may say or do! We all pray for your strength peace and patience! ✌

  3. Our dear Pastor Kurt, Craig and I read your letter. . Thankyou for sharing, We pray for you each day throughout the day. We pray for the staff and members and the lost. We are thankful for you beyond words. You gently lead Craig way from fear and showed him true love and brotherhood can come from another man. Your prayers and help to recover from my years of addiction are priceless to both of us. You never gave up or stopped loving us. Your love for the unsaved and hurting leads us to fall in love with Jesus over and over. and share what he’s one for us. You provoke us to serve Him better. You are a wonderful faithful Pastor. We love you dearly. Heidi and Craig

  4. AMEN and AMEN!
    The old saying that you don’t get to pick your family comes to mind.
    You don’t abandon your family just because you disagree over something.
    Our Church FAMILY should be no exception.
    We (individually) need to “stay the course” when times get tough.

  5. My church is still closed and used every means to protect us before they closed. They took our temperature and left sanitizer all over. In spite of that, it has experienced cases of COVID 19. No decision seems to be the right one. My respect for pastors has grown. Thank you for your service. The rock and the hard place takes on new meaning, as we are all stuck there.

    1. Sadly, this thing is very contagious and even masks provide limited protection. Gladly, the overwhelming majority are experiencing mild symptoms. Thank you for your kind words.

  6. Thank you for such a heart felt message that is right on!! Yes we love you and deeply appreciate you .
    We are praying for you God bless. Please keep up the good work!

  7. Dearest Pastor Kurt, I first want to say you’ve been in my prayers. Bravo; this was another well written inspired from the Holy Spirit letter, and thank you. As you already know God is with you ! You’ve also through the Holy Spirit confirmed in myself the need to do more and step up to help ! God gifted me with a servants heart. I’m a good cleaning freak also . Getting involved in an organization/ church is very intimidating for myself but God is with me too . . I will be looking into taking the class ( 2 hours) after church for us new comers ( not so new , just lurking in the shadows) God’s Grace , mercy, and peace be with you !

  8. Thank you for your honesty and openness Kurt. I appreciate everything you do and all the tough decisions you have to make. There is more to what you do that I don’t realize or see and for that I love and support you. May God bless you with his strength and peace.

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