Four Ways to Love Your Pastor

This last week I’ve been thinking about the Stoecklin family.

Andrew Stoecklin was a pastor in California. At thirty, he was a husband and dad to three young boys.

But in August, he committed suicide.

The Burden

Andrew battled with anxiety and depression. Panic attacks began in his role as pastor after he returned from a three-week ministry trip, then preached at seven Easter services.

The burden was heavy.

The burden for pastors is heavy.

Your church may not have seven Easter services. But you can bet your pastor experiences weariness, loneliness, discouragement, rejection, sadness and disappointment (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Lifting the Burden

Andrew’s suicide begs questions of the church. How can we love the pastor God’s given to us? How do we seek his good as he leads us?

#1 Pray for him. Your pastor wants to encourage you towards godliness, challenge sin, teach God’s word and reach the lost.

Satan hates that, and he’s no passive enemy (1 Peter 5:8). Fight him by praying.

#2 Encourage him. Encouragement lifts people up. Tell your pastor the good that’s going on in church; what God is using through his teaching.

Thank him after a hard church gathering. Text him after your small group.

#3 Invite him. Your pastor, and often his wife (if he has one), do a lot of initiating. Invite them over for dinner. Take your pastor out for a drink. Take him and his wife out for a meal.

Be their friends.

#4 Rely on Jesus, rather than him. Your pastor might be great, but he won’t meet all your spiritual needs, be perfect or be able to work through everything going on in your heart.

But Jesus can and he does (1 Peter 5:4). When we pursue him, we grow in godliness and free our pastors from burdens that were never meant to be theirs.