Person first, pastor second

“I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:11-12

There is a shared desire among many pastors—to be loved as a member of the church family first and as a pastor second. To be loved and cared for as an individual or couple in the first instance rather than having every relationship being under the label, title, and role of pastor.

Pastors and pastoral couples require support and supervision. This can be provided by an elder or senior member of the church family and/or an external supervisor. But they also need to be loved and cared for… despite their role.

As a pastor, I am first and foremost a person, husband and father. I live under and in the same transforming grace of God as the next person. Prone to good days, bad days and the ‘I don’t want to talk about it’ days, just like everyone else. I struggle with sin, parenting, relationships, and life—just like everyone else.

As a pastor I am often called on to share and bear the burdens of many within the church family. To journey with people as they wrestle with the work God is doing in and through them.

So, pastors and pastoral couples need someone to love them as them—apart from the role—warts and all. 

Pastors, pastoral couples, do you have this type of relationship with someone in your church? Do you desire to have this type of relationship with someone in your church?

Church leaders, spiritual shepherds, do you desire this for your pastoral staff and their spouses? Now, this is not possible or appropriate for the whole church family to directly take on, but it is vital that this relationship is encouraged. 

Are you that person/couple who can love your pastor/pastoral couple and walk closely with them and support them? If so, invite them to coffee, lunch, a meal. Take the time to get to know them outside of the role and see what happens.

We are not defined by our role. We are defined by who we are in Christ. Let’s love each other, support each other, and grow together as children of God. Let’s desire to have our pastors and pastoral couples mutually encouraged. This will see us being better spiritual leaders, pastors, and servants of Christ for the glory of God.

Kerry Rickard is the CCCNZ PastorLink Enabler


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