During my time alone with God Monday, I was reading through all the things Paul faced as he served Christ. One verse in 2 Cor 11 really grabbed my attention. In 2 Cor 11:28, Paul wrote: “Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.”
Some people may not understand, but the reason this verse grabbed my attention is because I relate. I’ve not experienced the extreme things Paul faced, but I relate to the cry of his heart. Many people don’t realize that most Pastors carry a deep concern for their churches (and other churches) 24/7.
Even when we take a break – or are on vacation – our hearts & minds are not disengaged from our church family. There’s “the pressure of concern” we carry with us daily; whether present or away. That word “pressure” relates to the burden of overseeing a church. Maybe you’re thinking: “Well, surely being a Pastor couldn’t be a burden.” You’re right, being a Pastor isn’t a burden – it’s a joy, but every Pastor carries a great deal of pressure because of our concern/burden for our church family.
Here are just a few of the pressures “I carry” to give you an idea: people who choose to reject Christ – marriages that are in trouble – parents who have rebellious kids – parents who embrace culture instead of Christ – terminal illnesses – tragedies and unexpected deaths – people who leave the church for no apparent reason or because they get mad and don’t want to deal with the issues – young people who abandon their faith – people with all kinds of addictions – staff conflicts – people who lie and/or spread gossip about you – temptations – hurt over leaders that abandon their posts – pressure on my own family members – etc etc. In addition to this, Sunday comes around every week and for me every Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday (ie – the biggest day of the year) because we may only have ONE SHOT at someone with the Gospel.
I’ve become friends with one of the most respected doctors in our area. Several years ago he told me he was writing me a prescription that required me to take a minimum of one week off every 3 months. He told me the emotional, physical & spiritual stress of ministry caused his father to leave the pastorate and start driving a truck, and if I didn’t take regular breaks I would probably burn out at some point due to the “concerns” I carry as a Pastor. The joys of being a Pastor are too numerous to mention and I absolutely love being the Lead Pastor at Grace Fellowship, but the pressures never go away. In addition to this, there’s the issue of spiritual warfare and sometimes it gets very intense and most pastors have a target on their back. Warfare & opposition go with the territory and are things every leader will face. In the midst of all this is still incredible joy in serving God and seeing lives changed!
Since Pastors deal daily with the “pressure of concern” for their church, let me share with you my own (incomplete but initial) list of things you can do to help me personally (or maybe help your pastor – if you’re not a member of GFC) These are in no particular order and came to my mind pretty quickly Monday morning as I thought through this passage in 2 Cor. 11.
1. Pray for me consistently & spend time thanking God for me.
2. Make my job a joy. (Heb. 13:17)
3. If you serve in any capacity – be faithful & serve well. (Col. 3:17)
4. Maintain a vibrant relationship with Christ & with your spouse if you’re married.
5. If you have a conflict in the church – deal with it Biblically. (Mt. 18:15-ff)
6. Extend grace when mistakes or misunderstandings take place.
7. Maintain a positive attitude, never gossip & don’t believe half of what you hear in the community.
8. Write me and our other pastors a personal note of encouragement or thanks occasionally.
9. If you can’t support the purpose of the church – leave without bad-mouthing the church or anyone in the church and find a church home where you can serve with a positive attitude & joy.
10. Again – Pray for me – that I’ll preach & lead with boldness & power, and be the husband, father, grandfather and friend God wants me to be.
Ever so thankful for you even thou we have NOT met. Your number one (1) and your number (10) comments are the most important. Every member and visitor is able to pray not only for you, but the other pastors, elders, teachers, workers, and most important THEIR families. Get to “adopt” a church worker, really get to know them, their family and their SPECIAL prayer requests. Pray individually, and as a church body and see what our Heavenly Father is and WILL do through prayer.
Thank you so much Pastor B.J. for the blog. It touched my heart and really made me think about the wonderful staff @ Grace and the sacrifices you all make for us daily. I am so appreciative and thankful to each and everyone of you. Our life as a family has been dramatically changed because of the love that has been poured into our hearts. My prayer and hope is that our family can give back as much as we have received. Thanks to you for welcoming us and loving us for all we are, Grace is amazing!
Praying for you BJ! I’m honored to have you as my leader at GFC!
Having served as Exec Asst to a Senior Pastor for almost 20 years, I am well acquainted with all that you express here. My husband and I pray for you and Janet, and your staff every morning over coffee and prayer together (keeps our marriage in tact too:)). Thank you for your transparency. It helps us know more specifically how to hold you and your concerns before the Lord.
I love this Pastor BJ! Thanks for giving us specifics as to how we can support and encourage you. I am printing these out and will post them in our house so we can praying regularly for you. Thank you for taking on the leadership of GFC! We are blessed to have you as our leader and I pray we can be a blessing you as well!
Awesome post. Authentic post. Will pray 1 through 10 for you and the staff of Grace Fellowship regularly.
I have served for, under and with a number of influential and inspirational leaders so far in my adult life, but none of them have impacted me more in a God honoring way, the way that you have. You are a Leaders best Mentor. May God continue HIS Great works in you and through you. Know this, the Huggins Family loves you and your family.
I once heard a wise man encourage me to “Keep the main thing, the main thing.” It has been the best focusing statement of what my purpose here on earth really is.
12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10: 12-15
While I cannot recall seeing your feet. I am certain that God thinks they are “beautiful” .
We are so blessed to have a Pastor that leads with conviction in everything he does! Thank you for encouraging our family to be more like HIM! Praying for you and your sweet family!
Jonathan & Kara Shriver
Thankful that you are seeking Christ fully, and encouraging us to do the same by example. Praying for you Pastor BJ!
The very first thing I noticed when I started attending Grace Fellowship was the Pastor BJ “was a real person”. He was not afraid to share his concerns nor was he affraid to admit his past mistakes. I pray for Pastor BJ and the entire ministry team everyday, because I know they are carrying a huge burden for the entire church body. As I have told him many times before, we are so blessed to have an awesome staff to fill in, which allows him time to be refreshed, and he always comes back “pumped up” / “off the charts”.