Pastors are servants of God who have offered themselves either professionally or by calling to be shepherds of His flock, the people of God. I would like to start by explaining the difference between the two. There are pastors, who initially were not even believers, let alone planning to be pastors, but God called them to the ministry and they found themselves preaching and taking care of God's people. There are those that because of one reason or the other, decided to take on the task by going to school to train as pastors.
In the Bible, you find that Paul was intercepted by God, made an about turn, and started preaching. Then there are the likes of Peter, who had to undergo training by being a disciple so as to learn how to go about that business. Do not underestimate a pastor, no matter whether his profession comes by calling or by study, because God has allowed them to labor in His vineyard.
Being a pastor is not an easy task. There are those with small churches that can hardly meet the church budget, let alone meet the pastor's needs, while there are those with great churches with such enormous resources that the local businessmen and politicians envy them. Both the pastors that I have mentioned need encouragement and support from the church members and Christians at large. Many a time, you may have wondered how to support these men and women of God, but not known how to go about it. Here are some tips on how to support your pastor:
Pray for them. Pastors and other church leaders face the most dangerous attacks from the enemy, the devil. The devil knows that for him to scatter the flock, he must first deal with the shepherd and that explains why most of his arrows target church leaders and pastors. It is therefore upon you to stand in the gap and pray for their protection. Remember that most of their prayers are about the church, members, and God's work, so they sometimes don't manage to pray for themselves. That is where you come in. Pray for them in your daily devotions and beseech God to protect from the arrows that fly by day and the spears that are thrown in the night.
- Visit and encourage them. Take time to visit their homes, offices and websites to appreciate and encourage them. Let your mouth speak encouragement to these humble servants of God. Let them feel appreciated as they commit their lives to do the work of God. Make surprise visits to their homes and share with them, visit their sites and leave comments that encourage them. Doing these gives them the ability to minister and move on, knowing they don't labor in vain.
- Bless them with material things. Apostle Paul says this in the Bible: "As we minister to you spiritual things, ye also minister unto us with material things." Common sense states that if a person has five bags of sugar and you give im a sixth one, he will not refuse. Many people say that my pastor looks as if he has enough, so no need to give him more. I say to go out and be a blessing to your pastor by being a blessing to both him and his family. Do what you can within your limits--if possible, give them material gifts, such as clothes, foodstuffs, cars, tents, etc., according to how God leads you.
- Run with their vision. Pastors are vision carriers of any given church and they need your support. If your pastor comes up with an idea of a new project within the church premises, members ought to equally embrace the vision and provide what is needed. If the project is completed, the whole church is a beneficiary and God is exalted. Pastors should not be seen struggling alone--church members are there to embrace and support their vision/s.
- Talk well of them. Whenever you open your mouth to speak about your pastor, speak nice words. Let people know him/her by the good reports you give. "Do not point a finger at my anointed servant, do my prophet no harm," says the Lord of hosts. You therefore speak ill of God's servants at your own peril. But if you do well by the servants of God, be assured of blessings.