The last year or so has perhaps been the most disruptive and draining time for any church leader. This perhaps is not only for pastors or church leaders but was the most difficult year to survive navigating through making very difficult decisions.
I know personally where my friend has decided to close down their ministry due to strenuous conflicts that overwhelmed the calling and quit ministry altogether.
I do not think I have to go into all the detail of the domino effect of what the global pandemic has done to our society. But let me suggest what you can do right now on behalf of church leaders.
The greatest thing you can offer for your pastor and staff is to pray for them. Church leaders are ready to lead forward. Pastors are eager to get back in the groove.
Here are seven ways you can be praying for them today.
1. Pray for Their Walk with Jesus.
There has not been a moment as long as I can remember that has been equivalent to what I see the spiritual toll it has been on any leader!
If not careful, the priority is, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce.” (Prov 3:9) can go on the sideline.
Pray that God will give him a heart consecrated first and foremost for Him and His glory.
2. Pray for Their Protection.
Leaders get tossed from left to right. There are extreme views on both ends that people want to communicate (email, text, phone calls… etc) and leaders feel threatened or attacked from every angle.
- Pastor, I’m leaving the church because of your stance on masks.
- You are being left wing and not standing firm on God’s Word. I’m gone.
- This church doesn’t love people as you all don’t wear masks. You’re killing people.
- I am disappointed because you all have been silent about the racial tension.
- My family and I will be stepping down because of your political stance with Trump.
Pray for leaders to be protected from the sniper attacks from all sides of the equation. Pray that God will arm them with the spiritual armor of God (Eph 6:10-18).
3. Pray for Their Family
The normal has been disrupted. Often, family is the number one thing that gets affected under stress and anxiety.
Because leaders are fixated on getting back to the “normal” sometimes the everyday mundane spending time with family could be easily lost. Phones ranging from morning till evening and pastors need to referee every conflict and fight within the church.
Pray that God will open up opportunities in the crisis in unique ways for families to celebrate God’s faithfulness by spending time together.
4. Pray for Stamina & Endurance.
Burnout is too common for many leaders. I’ve seen it over and over throughout the year. Many are in survival mode but need to continue to lead his wife, family, and the church.
Leaders are not able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. As a result, many pastors and church leaders have lost a sense of hope without purpose and meaning in the trial. They are drained and feel hopeless in their circumstance.
In tiredness, weariness, and a sense of fatigue that overwhelms you, ministry leaders need a new sense of refreshed perspective. Church leaders must be reminded of God’s goodness, His grace, and Christ’s mission in this long hall journey.
Pray for renewed passion as they lead strong.
5. Pray for Their Clarity in Vision & Mission.
Due to unrest of global and political conflict, many pastors feel like they are living in a fog. The reality of the crisis from the beginning to the end has been confusing.
This has been an extreme all-around dealing with senior adults feeling neglected, losing loved ones due to sickness, not able to comfort due to society standards, children unable to attend school, racial tension in the global rage, and political unrest with the Presidential inauguration.
Church leaders may never communicate this audibly but feel as though it is the end of the world and the apocalypse has come. Run, hide, and retrieve all you can until this storm passes by.
Leaders need a new sense of vision that pulls them and leads others to the other side of the future. Pray for a renewed sense of vision that will allow them to lead courageously in this difficult time.
6. Pray for Their Emotional Stability.
I heard from a seminary alumni friend recently that all he was trying to do was to not have the ship sink. He said, “I’m doing everything I can as this storm came to just simply hold onto the deck.”
Many people are wired differently (speaking from a pastoral experience), but leaders are still leaders. Just as Jesus had emotions and, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35), church leaders can only take so much.
Pray with empathy with the emotional toll church leaders had to make in this stressful condition.
7. Pray for Courageous Leadership.
In times of crisis, people are nervous and looking for direction. The knee-jerk reaction of anybody in difficult trials is to duck-and-hide, but leaders are not able to hide behind a rock and lead.
I believe a crisis can be one of the most crucial times where opportunities arise. As Scripture puts it well, “For such a time as this” (Esther 4:14), leaders can over-communicate with greater clarity with courage with diligence, preparation, and prayer.
Pray for leaders to speak in hope in a hopeless culture as they lead courageously with confidence in God’s Word.