Get In, Hang On, & Do Your Part!

Each week is a joy. Every week is a challenge. As is with most great adventures there are valleys for every peak, distractions at every place of focus, and discouragement before success. While working on the Colorado River I noticed something unique about the best of white water rafting guides: they never let their guests “feel” what they knew to be most true. They had a way of reminding people that they were about to embark on the best part of the trip at every turn and lead them through an experience that left them invigorated and ready for more! Yet, the whole time, at the front of their consciousness was the fact that the river could swallow any one of them up with the least of wrong moves or lack of care and respect. These guys handled that truth with a mastery we could all learn from and implement.

As pastors, our job will lead us through valleys, distractions, and discouragements. Some will feel bigger than others. Some will involve few and yet some will involve more than we can dare to imagine. However, our job also leads us to places of “peak,” and wild success. We see miraculous things that we could never dream with ALL of our dreams. This is what we are reminded of in the face of valleys, distractions, and discouragement. This where we help people focus. We help them see that the ride ahead can be one of the greatest of their life if they will get in the boat, hang on tight, and do their part.

Each week I am asked a peculiar question. Pastor, how can I help? Often I find myself overwhelmed with options in these moments. However, after reading an article on this website I think my response will be much different from this day on. Get in (committ), Hang on (secure yourself in Christ by growing spiritually), and do your part (serve faithfully)! Here is how one of the greatest preachers of all time handled this question.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the greatest revivalist preacher of the 19th century, was asked “Pastor, how can I help?” by many parishioners. His response to this question was to establish a serving and prayerful church. His ministry became the largest prayer-based evangelical work in the Christian church since the days of the apostolic era.

I cannot dare to dream big enough what will happen if we can all work together for the sake of the Gospel. This may be a new mantra for me for a while…Get in, Hang on, Do your part!
Here is another excerpt from that site you may find interesting as they studied how people could help their pastors:

How to Help Your Pastor

  • Understand. The first way to help your pastor is to develop understanding and sensitivity to the stress and demands of a pastor’s work.
  • Pray. Secondly, pray for your pastor. A very active prayer ministry to support the pastors in their evangelical work is fundamental to the health of pastors and the church at large.
  • Grow. Thirdly, mature in the faith. Grow and work to preserve the work of God in your sphere. Do not contribute to confusion, gossip and bitter attitudes. Get involved in action, service, and financial contribution, which are all vital to the health of the Christian mission of proclaiming Christ in your community and the world.
  • Lead. Finally, faith in action is serving others above what you want in support of the ministry of the church. Don’t just get involved in ministry; actively work with the leadership to provide healthy momentum in ministry and to become a personal preacher of the ways of Christ!

He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)

So, as we strive to live for what God wants at Pin Oaks Christian Fellowship and Anna, Texas; we need to do it with healthy expectations and Godly desires. One of the least healthy expectations is that the pastor is, or should be, things he was never intended to be. Take a look at the list found in this article and see how your perspective might need to change in the coming weeks and months as we serve alongside each other for the sake of the Gospel.

Unhealthy Expectations

  • They are not substitute parents
  • They are not shrinks
  • They are not janitors, plumbers, or construction workers
  • They are not crisis managers
  • They are not perfect problem-solvers
  • They are not corporate executives
  • They do not have wireless access to the Holy Spirit concerning your problems
  • They are not responsible for your sin
  • They are not constructed for long-term bashing
  • They are not required to shoulder repeated harsh criticisms
  • They are not celebrities
  • They have families with real problems too
  • They are not always available and tireless
  • They are not God in human form
  • They can burn out

Healthy Expectations

  • They serve
  • They teach
  • They lead
  • They inspire
  • They pray
  • They cry
  • They get tired
  • They are human
  • They need family time
  • They must be renewed

This list is also a reminder for your pastor. I can never let myself get a distorted view of what I am. Above all, my gifts are to serve and teach. I work hard at those areas. I need to worker smarter at those things. I am learning how to do just that with each day. Continue to pray for me and my family as we strive to look ahead at a future that will surprise us when we get there! And don’t forget, the best way to help the church…Get in (committ) Hang on (secure yourself by grow spiritually) Do Your Part (serve)!

*Excerpts from an article at
5 Comment(s)
  • Clay Posted January 20, 2010 1:38 pm

    You’re not a celebrity? I’m shocked. The wireless access to the Holy Spirit sounds cool too. When are you going to hook the rest of us up with that?

    Seriously though, you can count on prayer from me and my family .

    • phil Posted January 20, 2010 1:45 pm

      Thanks Clay. I am excited about this year…we are making huge faith risks. I guess we all have wireless access to the HS though when you think about it.

  • Laura Posted January 20, 2010 6:15 pm

    Good stuff… and important for us to remember, Phil. Apologies to you, friend, when our expectations exceed reality. We do sort of see you as pastor with a cape :).

  • phil Posted January 21, 2010 12:35 am

    I want to make sure that everyone knows that POCF has not placed these pressures on me in any way. I am thrilled to work in such a great environment and look forward to many great years ahead.

    Laura, you are so sweet and I love you and your family. Serving with you is a joy. My prayers is that we can all partner in a way that makes Jesus more known in Anna…and beyond!! (That sounds very superhero-ish doesn’t it!) 🙂

  • Stacey Posted January 31, 2010 11:04 am

    Yes, thank you Phil for all you do through Christ!

    Food for thought:
    Would you rather have something to say or teach but no one to listen
    have people listening but nothing significant or worthy to say or teach??

    What is important to us will show in our lives and at the same time, are we willing to do ALL it takes to complete His will to reality.

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