I can remember back as a teenager how I "took for
granted" those things my parents worked so hard to provide for me. I
especially recall an incident where my mother spent her afternoon cooking
something special for me for supper. However, preoccupied with something
else, I didn't bother to even show up. How this hurt my mother, to feel that
her labor of love was not appreciated. Pastors often feel the same way when
their flock doesn't show up. I can remember times praying and fasting for
the needs of our families, working into the late hours to prepare teachings
that would stir their souls, only to find their empty seat on Sunday
morning. This can discourage God's man from trying his best.
It helps your pastor and the whole church for you to
come faithfully and on time. And don't merely sit there like a bump on a
log. Be friendly, put a smile on your face, and enter into the service by
singing and worshiping. You can even utter an audible Amen or two when the
pastor makes a good point. Go ahead, it'll make his day!
(2) Commit yourself to love the Lord and your
The Bible teaches that all the desires of God are condensed into only two
cardinal commandments that Jesus gave to His followers. He said, "...You
shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with
all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself"
(Luke 10:27). By clothing ourselves in God's love, we help the church to
reinforce this objective for every believer, and we also help to eliminate
the elements of conflict and division which can hinder the unity of the
church. "I... beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which
you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering,
bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the
Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:1-3).
(3) Pray for your church and its pastor and
The Apostle Paul explained that it is the duty of Christians to pray for all
who are in authority, especially those in spiritual authority. "I exhort
first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of
thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we
may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence" (1 Tim.
2:1-2). Your church leaders are on the cutting edge of the battle with
Satan, and will face temptations and spiritual conflict unlike anything you
could imagine. The devil knows that if he can topple a spiritual leader or
get him discouraged enough to quit, it will have a domino effect on the rest
of the church. You can be a tremendous help by praying fervently for your
church, and especially for the pastor and his family.
Especially helpful, attend the church prayer meetings,
where you can come into agreement with others, and where the pastors and
leaders can see and feel your prayer support for them and the church. God
promised special strength through the combined prayer of His children.
"Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything
that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven" (Matt.
(4) Help shoulder the load of responsibility.
Pastors and leaders of the church often feel much like Moses did when Israel
fought with Amalek. Their arms become weary under the weight of so many
responsibilities and they need brothers and sisters to stand beside them and
help distribute the load. "But Moses' hands became heavy; so they took a
stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported
his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands
were steady until the going down of the sun" (Ex. 17:12).
The Lord never intended for the whole ministry of the
church to be carried solely by the pastor or a mere handful of people. It's
said that the majority of the work is done by the same faithful few, and
sadly, this has caused the "burnout" of its many outstanding workers. If
everyone would simply pitch in and do their fair share in helping, serving,
giving, and so forth, all the needs would be met and no one would be
I was once told the story of a young pastor assigned
to serve as the minister of a small, rural congregation in a farming
community. A part of his assignment was to try to straighten the church's
severe financial problems. For years the church had struggled with its
finances, unable to afford a full time pastor or to keep its bills paid.
Upon arrival the pastor examined the church income and
realized it would be necessary to find additional employment to supplement
his meager salary from the church. There weren't many job opportunities in
the small nearby town, but he was finally hired by the local grain elevator.
Most of the people in his church were farmers, and the local grain company
happened to be where they all would bring their harvest to sell for market.
A year passed and the church conducted its annual
business meeting. When the treasurer read the report of the finances, the
congregation could hardly believe what they heard. The church income had
more than doubled. All debts had been paid up and there was a surplus of
savings in the bank! One church member stood and asked, "Pastor, never in
our church history have we ever seen a financial miracle like this. Tell us
what you did to change the situation."
The Pastor replied, "Well, when I first came and
looked at the church books, I noticed that only a small portion of the
church members were paying their tithes. This was the problem with the
finances. So, after I got hired by the grain elevator, every time you all
would come and sell your grain I would just automatically deduct your tithe
from your check and put it directly into the church account! You never
missed the 10 percent, and all the needs of the church were more than met."
You'll be relieved to know that most pastors don't
work for grain elevators, and it's not likely that your employer will
secretly deduct your tithe from your wages. However, this story serves to
illustrate that if everyone would just do their fair share, all the needs of
the body will be met.
Be willing to volunteer for whatever needs to be done
and don't be finicky about what you will or will not do — not just for
strokes of attention, but do it for God's glory. "Whatever your hand finds
to do, do it with your might..." (Ec. 9:10).
A church is like any other organization with human
resources. No one ever starts out at the top. Everyone knows that we have to
start at the "entry level." But if a believer continues to grow strong in
Christian character and proves faithful and responsible to the basic tasks
given to them in the church, he or she will likely be promoted to greater
responsibility and ministry. "He who is faithful in what is least is
faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also
in much" (Luke 16:10).
(5) Get to know your spiritual leaders and
cooperate with them. The more you get to know them and their Godly
lifestyle, the more you will likely come to trust their leadership. You will
have a greater credibility in their teaching and counsel (1 Thes. 5:12).
Show respect and cooperate with their authority. Avoid challenging their
right or worthiness to serve in their position, but accept that God has seen
fit to place them in this role (Rom. 13:1). Belligerence or antagonism
toward leadership may be acceptable in secular society, but there is no
place for it in the Lord's church. "Obey those who rule over you, and be
submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give
account..." (Heb. 13:17).
(6) Apply the teaching and ministry to your
There's not much that a pastor loves more than to see his flock practicing
what he has preached — living a Godly, holy life, and on their knees seeking
the Lord. Learn to appreciate the spiritual values they try to instill in
the congregation. "Brethren, join in following my example, and note those
who so walk, as you have us for a pattern" (Phil. 3:17).
Each year there is a national pastor's appreciation
Sunday. Upon learning about this upcoming recognition, one of my members
spent time thinking about what he could do to show appreciation toward his
pastor. He became inspired to do something quite amazing. Unknown to me, he
took the church phone directory and called every member, urging them to come
to the weekly church prayer meeting. To my pleasant surprise, the evening of
the prayer was unusually packed with people. I was elated that this dear
member had discovered precisely what "rings a pastor's bell." He understood
my value upon spiritual things. As far as I was concerned, there could have
been no greater expression of appreciation than this. A pastor doesn't enter
the ministry with the goals of great earthly gain or financial rewards. He
enters ministry to bring people to God, to help bring them closer to Him.
It helps your church when you live and conduct
yourself in a Christ-like manner. Whether you realize it or, you're a
walking billboard for your church. Whatever the people of your community see
in your life, they will tend to identify with your pastor and his flock.
Behave yourself and speak well of the church and your pastor. Eyes and ears
are always open to the things you say and do.
(7) Seek out and use your gifts.
According to the scriptures, the Lord distributes gifts to each in the body
as it pleases Him. Spiritual gifts are not provided to you merely for your
own gratification, but so the church would be edified or built up. God has
given you gifts that will be a help to your church — it is up to you to
discover them, develop and utilize them under the direction and cooperation
with your spiritual leaders. By doing so, you will glorify God and be a
great help to your church. "Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual
gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel"
(1 Cor. 14:12).
(8) Contribute to solutions and not to
Every pastor would be thrilled if each of his members got involved and
helped the church in some way. However, they would rejoice if certain ones
simply stopped being a "pain in the neck." It's a shame that pastors spend
so much time "putting out fires," that is, squelching problems that could
have a negative influence on the whole body, such as gossip, rumors,
complaining, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, discontent and so forth.
Regrettably, it has been said that 90% of these kinds of problems are
circulated among the same 10% of the people.
Spiritually mature persons who wish to help their church don't become a part of such problems — instead, they contribute to solutions. They avoid divisive people (Rom. 16:17) and don't get caught up in the mischief or grievances of others (1 Tim. 5:13). If they are aware of spreading problems in the fellowship, they will try to bring a resolution, or else they bring matters to the attention of spiritual leadership so that they can bring an end to it (Matt. 18:15-17). People who wish to be an asset to their church don't participate with or spread problems — they help spiritual leadership resolve them.