Our church is building a new building, because we need more room. The contractor of the new building was at church today and Pastor Ron introduced him as, “...a man who stands with pastors.” That struck me as being very important, a lot of pastors don’t get any support to speak of. Either in the services or in the things around the church that need to be done.
A lot of pastors are kind of left to stand by themselves. In one of my early articles I told of my Sunday school teacher in the church I was attending at the time I started writing. He was an ordained minister whose experience as a pastor had been so bad that by the time I met him he had left the ministry in favor of working in a machine shop. From the way he taught the class I knew he would have been a wonderful preacher. In one of his illustrations he told us the story of painting his church while on vacation. It didn’t sound like much of a vacation, did it? In his story he had no one standing with him. In meeting the church’s needs.
Even the smallest church has a variety of people. No matter who the leader is he should not be a one man band. Some do this, because of their leadership style. They are, “let me do it” types because no one else can do it right. Some simply do what is needed because no one will stand with them and they know it has to be done.
What of the church members? Everyone has a place and a duty in the church.
Attendance is the first part of believers duty. Be there, on time ready for the service. I used to go to a church where the pastor’s parents were members. You would think they would be there for their boy from start to finish of the service. Instead of being there from the start of the service they would slip in the back when the service was over half over. That always bothered me, they wouldn’t even stand by their first born. I thought they were out of line week after week to stroll in 40 minutes late.
Attention is another aspect of your duty to your church. I once went to a church where the song-leader would sit there in front of the church and file her nails during the service. It was clear this woman was not paying attention, that misuse of her leadership position, led others away from paying attention and standing with the pastor.
Attitude matters too. Take part in the worship. I have through the years had a couple of ministers who as my father would have put it, “Can’t carry a tune in a tin bucket with the lid nailed shut.” The songs may not be to your taste, and the singing may be bad from a musical standpoint, but as one of those, “tone deaf” pastors always pointed out God only asked for you to make a joyful noise. Any of us can do that it is a matter between you and God. Just participate, don’t sit there with your hands folded and a, “get this over with” attitude. Stand behind the worship leaders and sing.
Availability is also our duty. There used to be a radio commercial that started with an old man asking for God to use him. His prayers kept being interrupted by people asking for his help with one thing after another, driving people to church, teaching a children’s class, helping with a church dinner, or mowing the lawn, etc. One by one he refused the requests, because he was waiting for God to use him. Every call was God trying to start using him and he was unavailable for any of them, because they weren’t what he expected. He was being asked to stand with one aspect of the church after another.
Accountability is also important. I imagine the plan was for several people to paint the church of the man who left the ministry. But the promises were broken and the pastor left holding the bag or rather the paint can. If you are standing by someone you need to be true to your word. Nothing bothers me much more than someone who promises to help then never shows up to help. For instance when I was getting ready for my wedding someone promised to help with the flowers, they were supposed to be there at lunchtime early in the week, they didn’t come, they didn’t call, they left you waiting sure they would arrive. Three days later they show up expecting you to still be setting there, waiting. Time is of the essence when preparing for a wedding they wanted the credit, but they really weren’t standing by their promises. They lacked accountability to do a specific thing at a specific time.
You need to be there, paying attention, with a good attitude. You need to be available to give whatever help is needed. And lastly, you need to be accountable to keep your word, in a timely manner or at least admit you are not going to do what you’re being counted on for so other arrangements can be made.