Pastors need help from congregation
There is a growing trend in American churches today that could have a lasting effect on congregations in both size and scope.
Pastors are often only available on a part-time basis because they have to work another job to provide for their own needs as well as their family's needs. This cannot help but affect the quality and quantity of services provided to the congregations they serve.
A much better approach would be for churches to make it a priority for a full-time ministry staff. Often this would include several ministers, as well as a senior pastor to oversee all aspects of the church. It is a fact that each pastor also needs a pastor because of the high stress the job demands. Take a look at your own church and decide on the basis of faith if the needs of the congregation are being met. If they are not or you are unsure, perhaps it is time to step up and suggest stronger support, especially financially, for those who lead your congregation.
The world we live in today is a lot more stressful than the one we resided in even 10 years ago, and this translates to a lot more stress on the leaders in your church. In addition to providing adequately for your own pastoral staff, perhaps a second solution is to implement a more community-based ministry, where pastors can receive help with duties that are oftentimes consuming and noncritical.
I speak before many different groups, and one thing I have noticed recently is that pastors are often stretched to the limit, taking on routine duties such as cleaning the sanctuary and setting up chairs, tables and food for special events. Surely these areas could be augmented by other members of the congregation, thus giving the pastor and his family more time to dedicate to serving the critical needs of the congregation.
Let your pastor and his or her family know that you are there for them. Make them a wonderful dinner or invite them over for brunch. Most important, begin a support group to make your pastoral staff full time, with adequate income and benefits so that the pastor does not have to take on another job. Encourage members of your church to be faithful in filling needs so that the pastor has more quality time for ministry efforts.
In these complicated times, your church and congregation will benefit immensely from having a full-time pastor committed only to serving the needs of your congregation. Sadly, if your church is like most churches today in Hawaii, your pastor is underpaid, overworked and underappreciated. Your commitment and actions can turn this around and help to make a real difference in the quality of your church's ministry.
Don Eads is the senior pastor of Aloha Christian Fellowship, sponsored by Kindling International Ministries, which meets at five locations on the Big Island and recently started the Daily Bread Ministry. He divides his time between Hawaii and China, where he teaches computer science, business and technical English at Peking University (Beida) and Nankai University.