As the three-day training drew to a close, Moea, a village chief and pastor, spoke firmly and gently to a younger generation of African pastors. He reminded them that it is a great honor to call and check in on your fellow pastors.
The words of this older, respectable leader found their mark, as his exhortation encouraged the young pastors to band together in the work of the Lord by praying for and encouraging one another.
For the African pastors in attendance, the day-to-day grind of life and ministry is void of many western amenities we take for granted. But their faithful bivocational service begs for godly edification and love from fellow servants of the Lord. Being a part of this closing moment was not only a profound reminder for these African pastors, but also a timely reminder for pastors in any context.
Other pastors are not your competition, but fellow generals on the battlefield leading the Lord’s army. The bond pastors share is rooted in our Lord, and His call to serve the church must not to be a point of contention, but of Christ-centered friendship. Unfortunately, unity among pastors is often frayed by petty differences, tertiary squabbles, a competitive spirit, or because we simply don’t make room on our calendars to spend time with other pastors.
To call on another pastor for prayer and wisdom requires time and yields great blessing. To text Scripture and faithfully pray for a pastor in the midst of fiery trials only takes moments, but could save him, his family, and his church years of pain and regret. When the Holy Spirit brings another pastor to mind, remember that you may be the lifeline he needs even though he may never divulge the depth of his despair.
When you reach out to your brothers in the pastorate, you’ll be a blessing to them and receive a blessing in return. When you pray for them and their church on Sunday mornings, you’re imploring the Lord for His kingdom to come and for the gospel to advance through all of the church, not just your congregation. Don’t be afraid to discuss your sermons together, pray for one another’s families, minister to another minister, and bear one another’s burdens. In doing this, you fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2) and exhibit His love practically to other church leaders.
Words cannot express my gratitude for fellow pastors in my life. Matt, Russ, Richard, Eric, Ted, Jeff, and many more have given encouragement, fellowship, friendship, wisdom, and have proven to be godly examples in ministry. When I think about the connections between these faithful servants in ministry, Philippians 1:3 comes to mind: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.” Without timely encouragement to and from other pastors, you will isolate yourself from co-laborers, placing yourself on an island and potentially setting yourself up to become more easily discouraged when trials roll in.
Instead of lamenting the lack of other pastors checking on you, take a moment to reach out to a fellow pastor, grab lunch with the new pastor in town, text Scripture to another pastor in the midst of trials, and by all means, encourage a pastor today.