Does Scripture Teach Pastor Tribute (Appreciation)
Your Pastor loves God's people, pours himself out, and preaches life changing sermons Sunday after Sunday. Scripture does indicate it is righteous to show him appreciation. One scripture says: "give honor to whom honor is due, and tribute to whom tribute is due." However, this honor should flow both ways.
Never think just because some Pastor (like me) shows up Sunday after Sunday, this is showing Holy Ghost appreciation. I know more than a dozen, locally, who NEVER honor God's people and instead abuse and spiritually victimize them! They have no idea how awful eternity will be for them. If these men and women do not honor God, you do not honor them as God's servant. I am not suggesting disrespect or not loving them. Only that you are not honoring God by "enabling" an evildoer in their wicked deeds. Yes, that even means a Pastor.
The Bible contains several verses that speak to the importance of showing appreciation and respect for spiritual leaders, including pastors. But, again, that respect and honor should flow both ways.
Here are a few examples of biblical texts to support this form of tribute:
1 Timothy 5:17-18 says - "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, 'Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,' and 'The worker deserves his wages." This verse emphasizes the importance of financially supporting pastors and showing them honor for the work they do in preaching and teaching.
Hebrews 13:17 states - "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you." This verse encourages obedience and submission to spiritual leaders, and advises treating them with joy and respect, rather than with complaints and grumbling.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 says - "Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work." This verse also highlights the importance of showing respect and love to spiritual leaders for their hard work.
The Bible encourages appreciation towards spiritual leaders for guiding and caring for the congregation. Respect for leaders is an important aspect of the faith. They have been charged with the staff of a Shepherd in the church.
This respect can manifest in various ways, such as submitting to their guidance and leadership. It could also mean holding them in high regard, and treating them with love. It manifests in seemingly small acts such supporting them in their work, whether through financial contributions or volunteering.
Additionally, this respect also means giving them space to maintain their spiritual and mental well-being. We cannot be everything to everybody! For instance, we cannot show up to solve every one of your family crisis. Respecting spiritual leaders also helps create a strong and supportive community within the church.
When not to Show Pastor Appreciation
More often than not, many calling themselves “Pastor” should be shown the door and not the appreciation due the obedient. As regular readers know, I will speak truth both in this article, and directly to those requiring it as well.
The community I live in has approximately twenty-three (23) churches in our denomination. As a Pastor, knowing these church leaders, perhaps fifteen (15) have no business leading anyone. They have utterly failed to guide their own lives properly, let alone that of others.
I was recently at a service where the community gathered. I sat in the back of the church and observed most local pastors and church leaders in the “pulpit”. Of these, I would classify at least ten (10) as “religious gangsters.” Yet, and not so surprisingly, these are those the community pays the most “tribute” to while scorning those truly standing for Jesus Christ.
There are situations which it is inappropriate to show appreciation to a pastor. For example, if a pastor has engaged in unethical or illegal behavior, such as embezzlement, or abuse, it would be appropriate to address those issues instead of showing appreciation. Additionally, if a pastor has been found guilty of a serious biblical violations, address them immediately and don't "play church".
It's also important that showing appreciation should never be used as a substitute for addressing behavior related issues. If there is a problem with a pastor's leadership, it should be addressed in a constructive and respectful manner. Ignoring them through the "crutch of showing grace" is a cancer in the church. God's grace is also shown in discipline! Doesn't scripture indicate: "those whom God loves He disciplines"?
Additionally, showing appreciation should not be a way to make him feel guilty if he can't fulfill certain requests. Deal with the issues and show love even when times are difficult. You must understand, and this is coming from someone who directly confronts these phonies: they will continue until you stop them! A surprising as it may sound, most of them have no business in position anyway.
Here is biblical scripture about these kinds of Pastors:
Matthew 7:15 - "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves."
2nd Corinthians 11:13-15 - "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works."
1st Timothy 4:1-2 - "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron."
2nd Peter 2:1-3 - "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute."
1st John 4:1 - "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world."
Jude 1:4 "For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ."
Revelation 2:2 - "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars."
These scriptures serve as a reminder to be discerning and cautious in regard to false, back-slidden, and incompetent leaders.
Stop Pretending Everything is OK
Stop pretending everything is OK and conducting business as usual. Parents understand that if a child is misbehaving, they rarely self-correct. We, the children of God, are no different!
There are several signs that may indicate that a pastor is not behaving according to scripture. For example, if a pastor is found to be promoting false or heretical teachings, this can also be a sign that they are in a bad place. Other red flags may include a lack of transparency, accountability, and absent genuine care for the congregation. We have all heard of those who use the pulpit for personal gain.
Recognizing when a pastor is not behaving according to scripture may not always be easy. It's important to approach these situations with humility, prayer, and discernment. If there are concerns, and in some cases, it may be necessary to seek guidance from other spiritual leaders.
What is most important is that you love them enough to speak with them (first) about what you are concerned about. Too often, churches are spiritually destroyed because those who claim to “love Pastor”, don’t love him enough to speak truth. Worse, those who slipped through the pastoral selection process, are now showing how unqualified they were to begin with!
Confront the, in love, as Jesus Christ taught:
Matthew 18:15-17 says - "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
No one, not even church leaders, are exempt from being confronted with the Word of God. This passage is often understood as outlining a process for addressing and resolving conflicts or wrongdoing within the Christian community. It starts with a one-on-one confrontation and then moves to involving a small group. As the "disobedience" continues, the whole church becomes involved. If the person continues to refuse to listen, they should be treated as an outsider.
The passage also emphasizes the importance of multiple witnesses and the need to follow the proper steps when addressing conflict within the community. This passage is also understood as giving authority to the community to make decisions in matters of discipline.
Restoring Your Pastor in Love
If your Pastor accepts the love of correction, restore him by showing the grace and forgiveness of Christ. Depending on how they receive the correction, and nature of the wickedness, it may be necessary to remove them from your church as Pastor.
Saints, God's Love is based on forgiveness, however, there are certain acts which disqualify us from leading you. I have told our church if I have another woman in my marriage, steal money, or worse, they are to remove me immediately. God's love must even be shown in discipline.
However, if you agree to go forward with them, the Bible has several passages that speak about restoring relationships, including:
Galatians 6:1-2 - "Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
James 5:19-20 - "My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins."
Luke 15:11-32 - The parable of the prodigal son, in which a wayward son returns to his father and is welcomed back with open arms.
Colossians 3:13 - "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
Ephesians 4:32 - "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
2nd Corinthians 5:18-19 - "All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation."
These passages emphasizes the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation in Christian relationships. They also remind us that the ability to forgive and restore relationships is a gift from God. As Christians, we are called to participate in the work of reconciliation in the world.
Showing Your Newly Restored Pastor Tribute
After the decision to move forward is made, call a church meeting so everyone can experience restoration as a body. It may be time to remind the Pastor you still love him through a Pastor Appreciation.
Here are 7 scriptures that can be used to appreciate pastors:
1 Timothy 5:17 - "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching."
Hebrews 13:17 - "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you."
Ephesians 4:11-12 - "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up."
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 - "Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work."
Galatians 6:6 - "Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches."
1 Corinthians 9:14 - "In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel."
1 Peter 5:5 - "In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
These scriptures remind us that pastors are worthy of honor and respect, that they have been appointed by God to care for his people. Further, they are doing a good work, and that they should be acknowledged and supported by the community.
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