Dear Pastor Charles: I hope you will address an issue for me that has been on my mind for some time. Isn’t it true that a minister’s primary responsibility is to visit the members of his church? Our minister seems to think that the only reason he is paid is to preach on Sunday. What do you think? Disgruntled.
I think that if you really are that dissatisfied with your minister you should ask if you can share some of the load by doing a part of the visitation yourself. He will probably have a heart attack or die from shock. Problem solved!
The answer to your question is no. A minister’s primary responsibility is to preach and teach the Word of God and to pray. Secondly, he is to provide the leadership, motivation and training for the body of Christ, the church, to assume the majority of the visitation and other tasks.
The Book of Acts gives us the biblical perspective of the role of the minister in the local church: Acts 6:1-7, “In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”
A crude paraphrase of this passage today might read something like this: “Today, as the demands in ministry are ever increasing, Sister Bertha is complaining because the minister did not come to see her when she had her toenail removed. He went to see Brother Jimmy in the hospital when he had his heart attack but he just doesn’t seem to care about the way she suffers.” Please forgive this crude illustration but that is sometimes the way it appears to a minister.
If your Pastor is a true minister of God, he loves you more than you realize and probably spends a great deal of time in prayer for you and others. It is an awesome responsibility to be called by God to faithfully deliver His Word week after week. A minister often wonders whether or not he is reaching those whom he serves.. He studies and prays and seeks Gods guidance for that one time a week that God will be able to speak to them through him. He visits those who are in hospital or are having surgery. He tries to contact the shut-ins as well as the visitors from the previous Sunday. He probably prepares and teaches weekly Bible studies, a Sunday night service, and maybe a week night service as well. He oversees the staff and administration functions of the church. He counsels those with emotional difficulties, hurting marriages and spiritual dilemmas. He is expected to attend every meeting for each committee or board in the church. All to often, he neglects the needs of his own family because of the demands of the church family upon his time. The telephone rarely stops ringing, even when he is supposedly having time off. Yet he still receives criticism because he is not doing enough.
What I would like to ask you is this: What are you doing for the cause of Christ? How many people have you visited lately? If you have time to criticize the efforts of someone else, then you have time to pitch in and help with the tasks at hand. You see, God has gifted each member of the body of Christ and expects each of us to share in the load of the ministry. There is an old song that says, “My children want to be fed at my table, but they don’t want to work in my fields.”
My advice to you is to stop judging your minister and ask him how you can help. Pray for him and lift him up. You might be surprised at how effective he can become when he spends his time doing what God has called him to do and you are busy doing the same.
I pray that you will release this burden of condemnation that you carry towards your minister and remember that he is only a human being, just like you. If you still feel disgruntled after praying for him, I would suggest that you make an appointment with him and share your concerns. Give him a chance to show you his side of the story. You may just be surprised at all the things he does that you are not aware of.
May God bless you as you grow in His grace.