I’ve seen firsthand the number of people it takes to prepare a pastor for ministry. As the wife of a current seminarian, I’ve been on the receiving end of the many people who have supported me and my husband as he prepares to be a pastor. We are so thankful and humbled by the ways in which we’ve been supported while Joel attends seminary. I know that many in the church want to support those who choose to go into church work, and I want to encourage you to do so and to thank you in the ways you already do.
Church Work Is a Valid Use of Talents
When my husband told his teachers, family, and other community members when he was in high school that he was planning to become a pastor, there was some amount of shock. He is and always has been a high achiever in the classroom, so there were people who felt like he was “wasting potential” by going into the ministry. And while it is true that we need Christians to serve God in all career fields and that those vocations are not less than church work, the office of pastor should be regarded as a skilled career. Pastors often wear hats that involve skills in nonprofit business, finance, teaching, language, research, public speaking, and more. It is not a job that just anyone can do, but a skilled position that needs dedicated men who have been called into the ministry by Christ.
My husband would say that encouraging and preparing for church work starts young. He can remember his childhood pastor telling him about the qualities of a good pastor and how he believed my husband had some of them. He remembers being encouraged to investigate what it takes to become a pastor. Not only does direct encouragement help prepare a pastor, but it also foreshadows the support he could get on his ministry journey.
Prayer for the Laborers
Matthew 9:37–38 states, “Then He [Jesus] said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Our denomination has a pastoral shortage. Today many congregations are without a shepherd for their flock. This verse in Matthew is a quick prayer you can daily speak for these congregations. Not only would I encourage you to ask the Lord to send more people into the ministry, but I also ask you to pray for those on the journey of pastoral life. Pray that God would give them the wisdom to speak the truth in love—with grace—in a hostile world. Pray that their earthly needs would be met. Their future congregations and our future generations need this.
While encouragement and prayer are great ways to support pastors, resources can also be a tremendous help. Recently, thanks to generous donations from many, Concordia Gospel Outreach was able to send books, catechisms, and other resources to South Africa with pastors from Illinois and Michigan as they visited the young pastors of the Confessional Lutheran Church of South Africa. CGO provided them with the “Lutheran Library,” which included copies of the Lutheran Confessions, A Simple Explanation of Christianity, and Law and Gospel. It is hard to understate the blessing it is to provide pastors with physical copies of these books. Concordia Gospel Outreach has sent over a million Christ-centered books into the world. While many of these books go directly into the hands of laypeople, some are specifically for pastors and their study and teaching of God’s Word. With these books in hand, pastors not only are able to do their job better but are also empowered by Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. They are prepared to minister hope in their own country.
There are many ways that you can support and prepare pastors in their ministries, and I promise you that what you already do is not unnoticed. It is thanks to gifts like yours that Concordia Gospel Outreach can be a part of preparing pastors worldwide. During this season that has an emphasis on giving, I ask that you consider donating to CGO so they can continue to prepare pastors to speak God’s Word to those who need the light of the Gospel.
Support pastors with books and share God's Word with the world through Concordia Gospel Outreach!