Dear Pastor hither and yon,
You look tired.
It’s been an incredibly difficult year for all of us. For you, it’s been a year not only of isolation, but of bruising division among your elders, your staff, your church. Criticism seems to be a competitive sport, and you have been critiqued for not being more or less like this or that pastor down the road.
Your people are frustrated and impatient, and you are burdened both for and by them. Some of them have complained about the elders’ request that they wear a mask for two hours on Sunday morning, shaking their fist in your face as they leave the Body. Others have fired off anonymous letters calling you a coward. You have received copies of the Bill of Rights as if federal laws trump God’s instruction to the Church.
I have spent the year studying the convoluted executive orders and illogical restrictions. The expectations are not simple. Not only have you had to navigate these irrational mandates of county, state, provincial and federal governments, but you have been questioned and challenged at every turn for seeking to shepherd the church in witness to the community.
Your sheep bite.
I have seen your shoulders slump as another text rolls in. You have had to face loss without memorial, weddings without joyful gatherings, meetings without fellowship. The simplest decision has been accompanied by a repeated chorus of “You’re on mute.”
We see you, Pastor.
We pray for you, trusting that God will give you:
- Eagerness to study and deliver His Word to us.
- Listening ears that are quick to hear and quick to discern the heart behind the frustration lobbed at you.
- True friends both inside and outside of your congregation. We beg God to give you people who will bear your burdens when the load is beyond your strength.
- Patient understanding as you care for your wife. I see her wipe away tears as she processes the vitriol that comes at you.
- Peaceful sleep that brings refreshment and renewed vigor.
- Abundant wisdom like Solomon, to know how to divide the matters in front of you.
- Overwhelming joy at witnessing new faith in the rebel sinner.
- Eager apprentices who humbly jump in with you no matter the task.
- Fresh expectation of your role in Jesus’ Great Commission.
- Great dependance on the Father of all Mercies who loves you and calls for you to rest in His grace.
- Humility, courage, steadfastness, sobriety, successful warfare against the Devil. (1 Peter 5)
Please, Pastor, don’t quit. We love you, and we are so thankful for your labor among us.
For the King!