Christian Leaders Grieve
Did you know that grief is one of the most significant drains on a pastor? Grief? Yup, grief! Christian leaders grieve. Pastors grieve. Ministers grieve. We’re not just talking about the kind of grief that comes because the senior citizens in your congregation are dying off. Certainly, that is grievous. And it is definitely grievous when those die who are still in their prime. Not to mention the heart-wrenching grief that comes when presiding over the funeral of an infant.
Grief Results from Unmet Expectations
But have you considered the grief that comes as a result of loss regarding unmet expectations? When your pastor committed his life to following Christ in ministry, he believed that he would fulfill the call to lead people to a life-changing relationship with Christ that would produce love, joy, and peace in their lives. He committed his life to help people find joy in Jesus. Does that describe your congregation? Are people filled with the joy of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ?
If the answer is “Yes! Our people are known across the community as joyful people,” Woo Hoo for you!!! Remind your pastor of the lives you have seen change as the result of his ministry. Rejoice with him that he has not labored in vain.
If the answer is “No. There are few smiles in our congregation. Many of our people are so depressed that they don’t even want to leave their homes to attend church. I am more discouraged when I leave church than when I arrive.” Recognize that something is missing.
Pastors Have Expectations
Have you considered that in each service your pastor is anticipating that the pews will be filled, anticipating that people will listen intently to God’s Word, anticipating that people will come to the altars in repentance, expecting that there will be a list of people waiting to be baptized, anticipating that the membership roll will grow, anticipating that the offering will yield an abundant storehouse, and hoping that there will be some who will also commit to following Jesus in ministry service? All this and more so that the world will see the brightly shining light of Christ’s love, joy, and peace streaming forth from the location of your church. Can you imagine the ache that comes when your pastor realizes that people are not following Christ?
Why Do Christian Leaders Grieve?
Christian leaders grieve because they continuously see people rejecting what they sacrifice their lives to offer – Christ’s love. They may get busy to try not to think about the grief, and they may seem happy in their busyness. But busyness is only a Band-Aid that attempts to heal a festering wound. The programs, projects, and apparent successes do not compare with hearts and lives changed by the redemptive work of Christ – lives that radiate the love of Christ and find Christ relevant in every area of life.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.Philippians 2:1–2 ESV
How Can We Help Our Pastor?
You are the greatest encouragement to your pastor when you:
- Connect to Christ and overflow with His fruit.
- Commit to participating in what God is doing.
- Evidence Christ in your daily living.
- Continue to mature spiritually.
Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy.Philippians 2:16–17 NLT
Bring Joy to Your Pastor
What a great joy it will be for your pastor to end up at the throne of God, rejoicing in how God used his ministry to glorify Christ. And as he stands before the throne, what a thrill it will be to present you as a crown at the feet of Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work.Philippians 4:1 NLT
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