The local pastor is not much different than the parishioners among whom he ministers. Some pastors are young and inexperienced. Some are mature and experienced. Some pastors have exceptional leadership skills, while others are lone rangers who feel they must do everything themselves. Some pastors suffer from familiar weaknesses in humanity to include paranoia, insecurity, or wanting to be in total control. Other pastors are loving, longsuffering, understanding, kind, and compassionate. Some pastors have no idea what the Word of God is saying on critical issues. They do not fully comprehend basic theological concepts, while other pastors are gifted expositors of the Word of God. Whatever the strengths or weaknesses of a local pastor, the people in the congregation can help their pastor be a better pastor in ten ways.
First, pray for him. Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship once said of his wife that she would rather spend an hour praying for someone than five minutest criticizing them. Pray for the pastor on bended knees. Pray with him when possible. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
Second, love him. Do not just say there is love and appreciation for a pastor, demonstrate it by being longsuffering, by speaking well of him, by encouraging him, by overlooking his minor faults, and by taking the concepts of 1 Corinthians 13 and applying them.
Third, give him a chance. If there is something that was misspoken, first go to him in private as per Matthew 18 and give him a chance to clarify what was said, take back, or apologize, before rebuking him before others, and shaming him in public. 1 Timothy 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
Fourth, apologize if necessary. If a pastor has been shamed in public needlessly, offer him an apology. It will be good for the heart, and a uniting force. “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (1 Peter. 5:5).
Fifth, honor the pastor’s spiritual authority. Do not let someone try to take control of a meeting, or a situation that belongs within the pastor’s right and responsibly to guide. Those who want to be in authority must first be individuals under authority. “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation” (Heb. 13:7).
Sixth, avoid being part of a triangle against a pastor, especially if all of the facts are not known. More often than not the truth is far different than what something appears to be. Most of the time a pastor will have a fuller knowledge of a situation than any other person. “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him” (Prov. 18:13). The Complete Jewish Bible translates Proverbs 18:13 in the following way.”To answer someone before hearing him out is both stupid and embarrassing.”
Seventh, assume the pastor has your best interest in his heart. If his present behavior indicates a pastor is reaching out to love and help all the people, assume he is doing what he can to tend to the flock which GOD has made Him the pastor and overseer of. “And I [the LORD] will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord” (Jer. 23:4).
Eighth, express your appreciation. If a pastor does something good to someone because you have asked him to make a particular visit, or provide counseling why not tell him? After one of His healing miracles Jesus spoke on the importance of giving thanks (Luke 17:12-19).
Ninth, be careful to faithfully represent the pastor in a situation, and what really happened. It is easy to take an event and retell it in such a way that a negative impression is left because part of the story was left out. The prophet Jeremiah warned of individuals who “will deceive every one his neighbor, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity” (Jeremiah 9:5).
Tenth, tell others to talk to the pastor before they talk to you if the conversation is critical, or judgmental about him. It is God’s will that Christians dwell on thoughts that are positive and uplifting. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8).