Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.1 Peter 5:2-4 NIV
I have the privilege of serving on the board for several different churches and ministries. This time of year is usually the season of annual board meetings, so I have been on Zoom a lot the last few weeks. Because of the pandemic situation, church life has been very interesting and challenging. Leaders have been asked to make difficult and life-altering decisions. Every situation is unique. There was no formula available for this. The pastors and leaders I know have dealt with these issues with integrity, seeking the will of God and finding creative ways to meet the needs of people. God has been faithful to every single one.
This year more than any other, a couple of things have been very apparent. First, there are lots of different gifts and visions. Not every church has the same calling, not every pastor has the same gifts. That’s OK. It’s God’s way. The other thing I have found in every single board room is this: The leaders of these ministries have given of themselves and their resources in a sacrificial way, not just this year, but some for a lifetime. In order to fulfill the call of God, to feed His sheep, and to follow His leading, they have all missed paychecks, worked incredibly long hours, endured derision from people they loved, and often seen their own families pay a price. Most of them never complain, though they sometimes cry alone.
Here’s the point: When you go to church today, thank your pastor for giving their life for you. My guess is that you have no idea the price he or she has paid. Don’t take it for granted.