Getting Inside the Mind of a Pastor

fetters_toddTodd Fetters (right), Director of National Ministries

At the national office, we pray regularly for our pastors. We contact pastors ahead of time, letting them know the day when we will pray for them. Because we believe that informed intercession is effective intercession, we ask them to share with us their specific prayer concerns.

In two postings, I will give suggestions to help you pray regularly for your pastor. Today’s post is designed to help you get inside the mind of a pastor. Tomorrow, I will list seven suggestions for getting to the heart of a pastor.

I feel very comfortable taking you inside the mind of a pastor. I’ve been around pastors my entire life. I grew up in a pastor’s home. My two brothers have been pastors. I spent 25 years in pastoral ministry. I’ve helped churches find new pastors. I’ve led clusters for pastors. And now, as National Ministries director, I interact daily with pastors.

Here are four common characteristics I’ve experienced and observed in the good pastors.

1. Humility
The good ones are humbled every time they think of God’s call. They instinctively imitate Saint Paul who said, “How thankful I am to Christ Jesus our Lord for considering me trustworthy and appointing me to serve him” (1 Timothy 1:12). Typically, gratitude pours out of the mouths of men and women who try to fathom why God trusts them with such a tremendous responsibility.

2. Under-Shepherds
The good ones embrace their identities as “under-shepherds” who tend, feed, and care for the Good Shepherd’s flock. They willingly follow Saint Peter’s charge to elders, “Care for the flock of God entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your good example. And when the head Shepherd comes, your reward will be a never-ending share in his glory and honor” (1 Peter 5:2-4).

3. Enemy Threat
The good ones are bravely aware that a real enemy, Satan, targets them. They take seriously Peter’s admonition, “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

4. Desire Prayer
The good ones know the value of having others pray for them. And like Saint Paul who asked without hesitation, “And pray for me, too” (Ephesians 6:19), they ask others for it too.

I’m certain the psyche that I’ve just described applies equally to the entire leadership constituency of the United Brethren Church. But, since my goal here is to help you pray in an informed and effective way for pastors, it gives me the opportunity to speak specifically to what I know for certain goes on in the minds of good pastors.

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