We expect an incredible amount from our pastors and each of them brings their own unique gifts to ministry. They are called to preach, administer the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, they are called to provide pastoral care and to counsel us, and they are called to order the life of the church. Each of us probably has our own specific list of expectations for our pastors and if we compared our lists we might find many similarities and also many differences.
If you review the list of Responsibilities and Duties of Elders and Licensed Pastors as found in the Book of Discipline, you will likely feel overwhelmed for them! Here’s a link for you to read this if you are interested: http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/para-340-responsibilities-and-duties-of-elders-and-licensed-pastors
There is no question that the expectations vary among those in different generations and we must all remove our tunnel vision goggles as we seek to understand that it’s not possible for any pastor to meet the individual needs and preferences of each of us in the local church.
This does not mean that we should not have expectations for our pastors. We should expect them to be our spiritual leaders. It is reasonable to expect them to prepare before delivering a sermon, and to boldly proclaim what the Holy Spirit places on their heart. We should expect them to maintain confidences and to identify leaders in the local church and see to it that they are equipped for the work they are called to do. They should be expected to take care of administrative tasks, even though it may not be much fun for them. And, we should expect them to help us understand that we do not exist for ourselves in the local church. They should equip us to go into the world to BE the church in our community and beyond.
So friends, as it is reasonable for us to have expectations for our clergy, we must also understand and appreciate that they are imperfect human beings. Some of us may not fully agree with our pastors in their interpretation of scripture or in other ways but regardless, we are called to respect and honor them. We need to offer encouragement to them to maintain Sabbath practices and our Pastor Parish Relations Committees need to hold them accountable to do so. They need and deserve our encouragement, support and our love.
Let us never take our clergy for granted. October is Clergy Appreciation Month. Let’s show them our love, people.
Peace and blessings, ya’ll,
If you would like to print or share this edition of Claire…ification,
you are encouraged to use this pdf:
Claire – Showing Appreciation for our Pastors – 10.09.2017
To read past editions – you are encouraged to follow this link: