To celebrate my 20th ordination anniversary in 2003, my congregation invited seminary and family friends to surprise me during worship, followed by a catered meal and good-natured “roast.” I’m writing this e-mail on the laptop computer given to me as a gift on that occasion.
When a pastor is installed, the congregation
routinely promises to “pray for, help and honor him/her for his/her
work’s sake, and in all things strive to live together in the peace and
unity of Christ” (Occasional Services, page 226).
In the first blush of a new pastorate, that promise is made with sincerity and joy but also with little thought to its practical application. As time goes on, members or councils may wonder how they can “help and honor” their pastor (or other professional leader/staff member). Help and honor certainly include working cooperatively with the pastor and speaking respectfully to and of him/her. But the words imply more.
Today’s church members are far too aware and sophisticated to think that a pastor only works Sunday mornings. In fact, most people know the ministry is 24/7 and at times requires extraordinary dedication. The pastor does more than what is expected because of a love of God and a love for people. A person won’t last long in ministry without caring for the people being served.
The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers