Acts 20:25-38 give us much of the responsibility and priorities of the pastor. Though in context it is addressed to pastors, each of us can learn a great deal about our relationship with the pastor and how we can better help him as a man of God doing the work of God. Let me give you four from this passage (I hope you will read the Scripture first).
1. PRAY FOR THE WALK OF THE PASTOR
Of all relationships that exist in life, the believer’s most important relationship is his walk with God. This includes the pastor.One of the best ways you can pray for your pastor is that he will have purity of conscience and character in his walk with God. Paul said in verse 26, “I am pure from the blood of all men.” He is speaking of his clear conscience. In verse 28 he says, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves…” A pastor must guard his purity, character, and testimony for Christ. Because of this, the greatest thing you can do for your pastor is pray that God will protect and guard his walk. And to pastor friends who may be reading this: don’t ever forget that the priority of your ministry is NOT growing your ministry, but growing your walk with God. Be careful with pastors who never talk about what God is doing in their personal walk with Him.
2. SUPPORT THE WORK OF THE PASTOR
After Paul challenges the pastors to keep their walk pure before the Lord, he proceeds to remind them of their work. What is the work of the pastor?
To Protect the Flock
Paul said, “Take heed…to all the flock…” Hebrews 13:17 says, “…they watch for your souls, as they must give account.” God has entrusted pastors with a responsibility to protect His valuable possession, the local church “which he hath purchased with his own blood.” What responsibility! Support your pastor’s work as he protects the flock from “grievous wolves.”
To Lead the Flock
Paul said in verse 28, “…the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers…” You cannot argue with the Scriptural principle that local churches are to be pastor-led. Not deacon-led, board-run, or family governed. We should help and support the pastor in his responsibility of leading and administrating the church.
To Feed the Flock
Paul said “…feed the church of God…” The pastor is to feed the flock of God with the Word of God. Not his opinions, preferences, and philosophies, but the Word of God. 2 Timothy 4:2 says, “Preach the word.”
For these responsibilities Paul said that the church is to “…know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13) Support your pastor as he give his life to the work of the ministry!
3. ENCOURAGE THE WEIGHT OF THE PASTOR
Charles Spurgeon said,
“The ministry is a matter which wears the brain and strains the heart, and drains out the life of a man if he attends to it as he should.”
According to the New York Times (August 1, 2010), pastors now suffer from obesity, hypertension, and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Paul acknowledged the burden of ministry in the phrase, “warn every one night and day with tears.” The demand of time, the urgency of spiritual nurturing, the weight of counseling, and the pressure to excel are all burdens that add to the weight of the ministry. However, as with every Christian Paul reminds the man of God what will help them in their burden: verse 32, “…the word of his grace, which is able to build you up…” As the pastor ministers to you, find ways to minister to he and his family. There’s enough people around to give discouragement, find ways to encourage him.
4. FOLLOW THE WISDOM OF THE PASTOR
In the final verses of Acts 20, Paul gives the pastors five bits of wisdom regarding their life and ministry. As pastor faithfully model this example, it is important that Christians follow their pastor’s example in these areas. Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember them that have the rule over [lead you], who have spoken unto you the word of God; whose faith follow…”
Don’t be greedy – “I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.”
Work hard – “…these hands have ministered unto my necessities…”
Give generously – “…support the weak…it is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Pray with others – “And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.”
Love people – “And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more.”
What can I do for my pastor?
- Pray for him
- Support him
- Encourage him
- Follow him