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Pastors: How to Help Them with Their Loneliness

Oct 03, 2019

 

Background

We have had several pastors and ministers go through the Unstatus Your Quo® Experience. There have been tears. There have been laughs. There have been some realizations that have caused deep reflection. Some have stories of struggles. All have trusted and taken a risk of revealing more of themselves. What an honor to witness these strong men become vulnerable. However, they are the loneliest people I have ever met. I thought being a CEO was lonely, but these men and their wives win the “Loneliest People Award”. This blog is about why and how we can love and encourage them and others for God’s glory.

 

Why Are They So Lonely?

We members of the church generally believe that our leaders have it all together. One of the results of this is that we seek counsel, encouragement and compassion from them. They often are the right person to advise us. We get from them and the Word what we need. However, if they were a bank, this bank would see almost nothing but withdrawals and not many deposits. It can leave them a bit empty after so much giving.

As a result of the trust developed in our Unstatus Your Quo ®Experience, an unexpected ministry appeared. I am now mentoring four pastors to help them manage their churches, if they are senior pastors, and their jobs or departments, if they aren’t senior pastors. If it weren’t for the trust developed in the Unstatus Your Quo® Experience as we offer a personal plan for their growth, I would not have the opportunity to work with these amazing people.

What I have seen are individuals called to or having the gift of administration, but this gift is not formally developed. Or, they may be at a small church called to shepherd it, and there is no way they can be all things to all people, much less management. They are doing the best that they can, but it is hard to seek the counsel of business people who don’t understand the nuances of managing a church with all its volunteers. It’s not a business, and my clients have been teaching me the nuances. Also, they may feel they have no place to go for counsel.

The pastors can’t tell their spouses about a fair amount of what they deal with. The spouses may not understand the nature of the frustration and pressure their husband feels. After all, he has it all together, right?

There are many other reasons for their loneliness, but the last to mention here is that they hear a lot of complaints, a lot of complaints. It is so much easier to criticize and say, “You know what you should do?” before even investigating the depth of the issues at hand. Again, we have the withdrawals of energy from our pastors.

 

How to Make Deposits

However, there is something you and I can do to help, and it is very powerful.

I’m going to offer you a quick tip that will help you with your pastor – but also your marriage, your children, your colleagues at work, your friends and even strangers. Yes, it takes some effort, but the rewards all around are great. The suggestion is God-glorifying behavior when coming from the new heart of a Follower of Christ.

 

Here It Is: Encourage with Specifics

The best way for me to explain this is in a marriage. If you are like me, there are many times you may say, “I love you.” It may be at the end of the check-in calls during the day. It may happen at other times during the day. However, there is a little addition that adds tremendous meaning to what is usually the routine “I love you” statement. Add something specific that your spouse just did or has done, a part of their personality or something you noticed. Here is an example.

There are times when I am listening to Nancy, and I notice something about her facial expression while telling a story. It is so Nancy, one of the things I love about her, and inspires a thank you to the Lord for putting us together. After her story and commenting on what she has said, I might say, “Nancy, I love you and the way your mouth looks when you smile and laugh.” Or, “Nancy, I love you and hearing about your concern for others.”

When Nancy reads this, she may wonder why she doesn’t get more of these. Please pray for me to practice more of what I’m preaching.  😊

 

What About Your Pastor?

The same is true for anybody, including your pastor. Tell Pastor Brad something like, “Brad, I really liked your message today. That point about ________ really had an impact on me and gave me pause for thought. I had never thought about what you said.” Or, “Brad, that message challenged me in a good way, particularly what you said about ________. Thank you for the challenge, and it’s something to which I really need to respond. I’m sure glad you are my pastor.”

These deposits of encouragement will inspire your pastor. He will have a better sense of his impact, helpfulness, what he needs to preach and so much more. With increased confidence, he will stretch even more, leaning on the Lord, for the church’s benefit. He will be in deeper relationship with you and others who are taking the effort to encourage Him with specifics. Also, he will be less lonely because of these deposits of encouragement with specifics.

 

What Not to Say

There are some things we say that are not very powerful, though our motives are genuine and good. Sometimes, we can say things like, “Pastor Bob, you really brought it today!” Or, “Bob, that was a great sermon.” If I were a betting man, I would bet that Bob is wondering what you thought he had really brought. Specifics are needed and do take more thought.

 

Conclusion

I would put all of this discussion in the category of “Love thy Neighbor,” one of the two main areas Jesus taught us about expressing love. I happened to point out in this blog one lonely group of people, pastors, but there are others. Next time you see the custodian in your building, for example, say something like, “I really appreciate what you do and how well you keep this office building clean. It really makes all of us here look good and leaves a good impression on our clients.” Last, pray for opportunities to make deposits in someone each day by encouraging with specifics.

Charlie

 

The Unstatus Your Quo® Experience has had great impact and has even changed lives. Try Session #1 for FREE today!

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