Pastor, how can I help? Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the greatest revivalist preacher of the 19th century, was asked this by many parishioners. His response to this question was to establish a serving and prayerful church. His ministry became the largest prayer-based evangelical work in the Christian church since the days of the apostolic era.
How to Help Your Pastor
- Understand. The first way to help your pastor is to develop understanding and sensitivity to the stress and demands of a pastor's work.
- Pray. Secondly, pray for your pastor. A very active prayer ministry to support the pastors in their evangelical work is fundamental to the health of pastors and the church at large.
- Grow. Thirdly, mature in the faith. Grow and work to preserve the work of God in your sphere. Do not contribute to confusion, gossip and bitter attitudes. Get involved in action, service, and financial contribution, which are all vital to the health of the Christian mission of proclaiming Christ in your community and the world.
- Lead. Finally, faith in action is serving others above what you want in support of the ministry of the church. Don't just get involved in ministry; actively work with the leadership to provide healthy momentum in ministry and to become a personal preacher of the ways of Christ!
Preachers Are Human
Your pastors can become physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. Again, C.H. Spurgeon shares his afflictions and trials throughout his ministry to demonstrate that it was in his weakness that Christ's strength within him was magnified.
Spurgeon was afflicted with spiritual agonies, slander and scorn, the weight of preaching, emotional trials of depression, ministry burden, and physical illnesses of gout, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.
Saved From Much, Called To Much
His journey began with the foundation of suffering and by his own words he gives a clear picture of his agony before his conversion. "The justice of God, like a ploughshare, tore my spirit," he recalled. "I was condemned, undone, destroyed--lost, helpless, hopeless--I thought hell was before me... I prayed, but found no answer of peace. It was long with me thus." Thus, he clarifies through his life that the present suffering he encountered in ministry was no match for the devastating bitterness of soul he experienced before living for Jesus. This taught him to pursue the holiness of God and to loathe sinful living.
Slander and Scorn Go With the Territory
During the early years of his ministry he encountered intense slander and scorn, and his response to this was, "If I am able to say in very truth, 'I was buried with Christ thirty years ago,' I must surely be dead. Certainly the world thought so, for not long after my burial with Jesus I began to preach his name, and by that time the world thought me very far gone, and said, 'He stinketh.' They began to say all manner of evil against the preacher; but the more I stank in their nostrils the better I liked it, for the surer I was that I was really dead to the world."
The Crushing Blow of Scorn
Spurgeon's again on his deepest emotions regarding the scorn and slander he faced: "Down on my knees have I often fallen, with the hot sweat rising from my brow under some fresh slander poured upon me; in an agony of grief my heart has been well-nigh broken; ...This thing I hope I can say from my heart: If to be made as the mire of the streets again, if to be the laughing stock of fools and the song of the drunkard once more will make me more serviceable to my Master, and more useful to his cause, I will prefer it to all this multitude, or to all the applause that man could give."
Don't contribute to the sufferings of your pastors by gossiping, backbiting, or scorning. Instead, get in the trenches with them!
To be continued.