The local church, beginning with the Board, needs to recognize their own responsibility in protecting the mental, emotional, and spiritual health of their pastor.
The budget should include provision for him to attend one or two conferences or retreats each year where he can find refreshment and renewal. This should be in addition to his regular vacation time, not part of it.
Respect his study time. Apart from an emergency, he should be allowed to have undisturbed blocks of time to prepare for preaching and teaching. If he is weak in the pulpit the whole church will suffer.
Don’t demand more from the pastor than he can give. He is human and imperfect. He needs your prayers and encouragement as much as you need his. Understand that he can’t please everyone, and sometimes the person he won’t please will be you!
Consider granting the pastor a sabbatical. This is not as common among independent churches as it is in denominations, but it is growing in practice. Every seven to ten years the pastor should be offered a paid leave of ten to twelve weeks (not including regular vacation time) to seek spiritual and mental refreshment, do research or writing, travel, or pursue other activities that will “disconnect” him for a time from the routine demands of ministry and provide him a time for renewal. Even Jesus realized the importance of stepping away from the ministry for a time.
Pastoral ministry is rewarding. But it is also rigorous. And even Satan knows that the church will only be as spiritually healthy as its pastor. That is why he wants to keep pastors discouraged, ineffective, feeling like failures, and, if possible, utterly destroyed. But God is the great Encourager. He encourages pastors by His Word and by the support and love expressed to them by individual Christians (Acts 28:15; 2 Tim. 1:16-18). And that is why pastoral care for the pastor must be seen as an essential responsibility shared by both pastor and congregation. The result will be a healthy and blessed church.
Pleasant Hill Baptist Church
"The Church That's in
Business for God and God's Business is People"