Ministers need each other. As a local church pastor, a denominational leader, and as a ministry mentor I often find myself asking this question: Who pastors the pastor?
There have been precious few times in my ministry that I have found what I have now in my current pastorate — brethren. I am blessed that I have had such relationships denominationally almost since I was ordained. But locally, as a pastor in the “trenches” of ministry, not so much. In my first pastoral role I was told that I shouldn’t be part of the local ministerium because it was of a completely different theological persuasion. In my second pastoral role, I attended the local minister’s association only to quickly realize it was more about politics than about ministry. My only saving grace was a couple of friends who I met with fairly regularly for prayer. As I now talk with pastor after pastor, I hear similar stories: groups of ministers who gather, not for mutual prayer, support and partnership, but around an agenda. And even when that agenda is ministry-centered, it often does not address the desperate need pastors have to be part of a “band of brothers.”
In this particular group of pastors, I am the new kid on the block. Some of these men have been in their ministries for a very long time. I’ve officially been in place less than a year. But I can tell you that, from the very first meeting, I sensed something different from this group. There is a level of love and camaraderie I have not seen in other minister’s groups. We represent various denominations and backgrounds (and ethnicities), but we all have a common heart for Jesus. Some of these pastors I’ve come to know well, others are growing acquaintances; however, the only agenda around our table is to care and pray for each other.
There is trust and freedom in this group to share our hurts, our ministry challenges and our personal needs. And after something is shared, it is not unusual to get a follow-up email to see how you’re doing. This is something special.
Friend, if you are in ministry, you need this. If you’re not in ministry but care about the welfare of your pastor, he or she needs this. If something like this doesn’t already exist where you are, then it might be up to you to create it. But be careful: it’s WAY too easy to let it degrade into an agenda driven (if not agenda sharing) gathering. This cannot be about the next event, or someone’s special ministry, or anything else like that. These things can be shared in other venues. This is about the pastor’s heart. This is about pastoring the pastor. And no one can do that better than others who are (or have been) in those same “trenches.”
Would you like help setting this kind of ministerial group up where you serve? I’d love to talk to you. I have personal expertise on this and am also part of an organization that can help you with great resources. You can use the contact form on this website, or you can call my office at (321) 348-0020. And if you find this post helpful, why not share it with a friend? I’d appreciate it.