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Honoring Pastors
EXTREME SERVANTHOOD: How Do Busy Leaders Live It? Print E-mail
Written by Kevin L. Howard   
Serving outside my gifting might equal more authentic service and sacrifice than, say, when I "sacrifice" my time to write an article or preach.  I love these things and they hardly seem like a sacrifice (work, yes; a labor of love, yes, but not a sacrifice).  They really are a sacrifice at some level, and if I do them with the right motive they are God-honoring sacrifices, but I'm not sure these easy kind of sacrifices are what Jesus had in mind when he said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mt 20:25-28; also see Mk 10:44-45, Lk 12:37, and 22:25-26).
Written by Kevin L. Howard   


Click here for explanation of larger project, "In Honor of Pastors: How to Love and Respect Them"


Grace and Respect for Your Pastor

Shortly after I started serving at one church, a lady came into my office because she wanted me to give the youth more time in a special upcoming service.  She obviously cared deeply about the topic, but didn't make it about me.  She kept our discussion focused on the issue.  She felt one way and I felt another, yet her body language and tone conveyed respect.  I listened to her views and echoed back what I thought she was saying.  After discussing it, she allowed me to say no and end the conversation.  Even though she didn't get the extra time she wanted for the youth, she treated me with dignity during and after our conversation.

Written by Kevin L. Howard   


An Interview With James Rozmus

Click here for explanation of larger project, "In Honor of Pastors: How to Love and Respect Them"

Also see:

Review of Clouds of Witnesses by M. Noll and C. Nystrom

Academic Wordiness: Humility Meets Clarity


[I first met James Rozmus several years ago.  He is a retired American Baptist pastor.  When I initially considered doing this project, I knew I wanted to tap into James' decades of pastoral experience.  We decided the best way to do that was through an oral interview.  I have edited our interview slightly to make it as concise as possible and to make it more appropriate for the eye rather than the ear, since any conversation will sound better than it will look on paper.  I have tried, however, to retain the actual words we used, and have kept the original intent when editing.] 


(1). HOWARD: Jim, you were a pastor for more than 30 years, right? 


ROZMUS: That's correct.

Written by Kevin L. Howard   

In Honor of Pastors: How to Love and Respect Them


These two chapters, "Learning How to Follow Your Leader" and "How to Approach Your Pastor on a Difficult Subject" were originally a part of a larger work about how members could truly love their pastors.  I wanted it to be a work where several Baptist senior pastors, whom I knew personally, would write the chapters and I would edit the piece, and possibly write one chapter.  All along, I intended on posting it free on the Internet as an e-booklet to reach the most people at no cost.  But because of the busy schedules of my friends, they aren't able to finish it.  So, it now stands as two chapters with no larger home.  Because of my own personal projects, I don't have the time to complete it right now.  And I'm not sure I'll ever revive it.  Since each chapter stands alone and can be beneficial without the other chapters, perhaps these two pieces can learn contentment as orphans.


While all who follow Christ will suffer persecution, unfortunately, pastors frequently suffer at the hands of so-called Christians.  Too often, these trouble makers are congregants, the very ones who should love pastors the most.  Jesus never meant it to be this way.  David Hansen told the truth about the difficulties pastors face from groups within the church when he wrote, "...How is it possible for a ruling board of twelve kind, Christ-honoring human beings--all of whom have fine, adult intelligence--to make decisions about the way they treat their pastors consistently reflecting a corporate IQ of about 80?" (The Power of Loving Your Church, 20).  Too often, churches and the ruling powers within them make choices that negatively affect their pastors.  Sometimes these decisions are purposeful and at other times inadvertent.


I hope these chapters will aid the pastor in his task and help members more effectively love him by submitting to him.  Ultimately I want members to submit to Christ, but they will show that submission by how they treat their pastors.


The two chapters are aimed at the average church member on the pew to teach him how to love his pastor.  I affirm both house churches and the more common institutional churches, but these two chapters will probably be more relevant to institutional churches, where politics and establishment of the-way-it's-always-been have already found deep roots to grow.  Also, while I believe in the plurality of elders, and know that many churches have more than one pastor, to keep things simple I typically use "pastor" or "senior pastor."


My special thanks in completing my chapter, "Learning How to Follow Your Leader," go out to Josh Brown, Jeff Mallinson, Paul Wolfe, and my wife Denice.  While these people may not agree with every point I make in my chapter, they have all helped improve it.  I also want to thank James Rozmus for giving me the interview and for his wise insight from decades of pastoring.  (Sometimes to complete a chapter you have to find a retired pastor.)


Click here to return to

"Learning How to Follow Your Leader"

"How to Approach Your Pastor on a Difficult Subject"

(Oct 2007)



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