What are the unique needs of pastors and their families, and how can we better encourage and support our pastors?
H.B. London has been encouraging daily appreciation for pastors through his 20 plus years of work at Focus on the Family. He now serves Focus as pastor emeritus for their clergy division serving ministers and congregations across the country.
H.B. shares a powerful message that one of his friends Howard Henricks shared with him years ago.
“Howard Hendricks from Dallas Seminary said something I’ve never forgotten…he said, ‘Satan is really patient, Satan will lie in the weeds for 40 years if he needs to. And at the worst time, he’ll attack one of God’s anointed, and if that one of God’s anointed does not have the full armor of God upon him, his ministry will be in jeopardy.”
Satan not only uses the sin of the world to discourage pastors, but also infiltrates lies into their minds and hearts about the work God has called them to do.
“Satan is nipping at the heels of pastors and their families and not just with immoral things, but with discouragement, saying things like; ‘That was a lousy sermon’ or, ‘Nobody responded’ and ‘Your people don’t really love you, what do you spend it so much of your time just given out and nobody responding to you?’”
We learn about a helpful tool that will protect our beloved pastors from Satan’s attacks: The power of prayer.
“Every pastor should have a prayer covenant with at least five or six people who pray for him daily, but also on Sunday or Saturday whenever they meet for worship, they will gather around this pastor and put their hands on him or her and pray for them and pray the anointing of God on them.”
Without a powerful prayer force working on our pastor’s behalf, they are more susceptible to experience these attacks from the enemy.
“You’re no stronger than the prayer force that enables you to do what God has called you to do. So many pastors don’t have a prayer force in their life.”
Having a prayer force is one of the powerful ways in which the body of believers can support and encourage our pastors. Unfortunately, many pastors don’t receive the appreciation they deserve, even during Clergy Appreciation Month.
“Clergy Appreciation Month is discouraging to some pastors because they know that they’re not going to be appreciated, nothing’s going to happen.”
“Clergy Appreciation Month was instigated by Dr. Dobson and myself with this point in mind: We want to alert to the congregation and the rank and file of America to the significance and the importance of their spiritual leaders, staff members, and their families. We believe because God has anointed them and point appointed them for such a time as this, that they deserve affirmation, they deserve recognition, and they deserve prayer support.”
H. B. explains how African-American churches have been already doing this for centuries, and really are a catalyst in showing appreciation. Similarly, we are reminded of when Aaron and Hur held up the arms of Moses in Exodus 17:12, H.B. encourages us to do the same for our pastors today.
“It’s just a time to stop and say we love you, we don’t agree with you on everything, but we appreciate you; we support you, we pray for you and we want to hold up your arms so that you will be effective and successful as God is called you.”