Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Encouraging Your Pastor

Leslie Basham: Have you ever gotten creative in the way you encourage the leaders in your church? Here's Pastor Bill Hogan.

Pastor Bill Hogan: I remember one lady back in our church in Philadelphia who said one day, "A lot of people pray for you, but I want to commit myself to pray, by name, every day for your children."

Leslie Basham: It's Thursday, October 9; and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. When is the last time you encouraged your pastor? Those who lead our churches face a lot of pressures and need our support. Today, we'll get some ideas on how we can lift them up. Here's Nancy to introduce today's guest.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We have the privilege of visiting again today with a former pastor of mine, Dr. Bill Hogan. I am visiting in the St. Paul, Minneapolis area with Bill and Jane Hogan. And Bill agreed to come and talk with us about some matters related to the Scripture and the local church and our part in that.

So, Bill, thank you for joining us again today on Revive Our Hearts.

Pastor Bill Hogan: Thank you.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: As I mentioned yesterday, for those who weren't able to be with us, Bill was my pastor during the first formative years of my life. The church that you pastored started in our home, "Church of the Savior," there in the Philadelphia area.

I was somewhere around junior high age and we had known each other for a long time prior to that as you taught Bible studies in the Philadelphia area and in our home.

And you've had such incredible impact on my life and laid such a wonderful foundation of teaching the Scripture, teaching the Word and giving me a love and a heart for the Word.

Pastor Bill Hogan: Generally, at this age, when we think back about what someone was like when they were young, you think of the funny things, silly things, stupid things that they did.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You could probably think about a few of those remembering me as a twelve year old.

Pastor Bill Hogan: But actually, when I think of you, I think of the most remarkably mature twelve year old I have ever known. It always amazed me that you would come to adult bible studies and take notes.

I remember, when you were in the seventh grade, you actually started a ministry to the children in our new little church. I remember that line of kids following you out of church to go to The Fisherman's Club.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: The Fisherman's Club, that's right.

Pastor Bill Hogan: As long as I've known you, you've had a depth--a spiritual depth that is remarkable for a child that age and it has just gotten deeper over the years. So, it's been a wonderful privilege to have known you and to see now how God is using your life and ministry.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, thank you, Bill. And if I look back, I so thank the Lord, not only for the blessing of godly parents who nurtured me in the Word and ways of God (probably from the time I was in the womb, certainly from the time I was born) and then, also, for godly pastors that the Lord has used in my life over the years.

How blessed I was all those years to sit under the ministry of the Word, to be challenged and taught and nurtured and to see the Word lived out in men of God like you and to see the marriage that you and Jane have had for all these years.

I want to talk a little bit today about this matter of the local church. You know, increasingly, I am finding that statistics bear out that this post-modern generation is questioning the need for the local church.

In fact, we hear increasingly that people are getting their religious experience (I read a survey that said this just this week) through the Internet, through Christian radio, through Christian television. Now talk to us about why we need more than the Internet and radio and TV as our church experience.

Pastor Bill Hogan: Well, let me put it this way. We need each other and to me, that's the heart of why we need the church. Every member of the church, every member of the Body of Christ is gifted in some special way.

We're all different. We're all unique, but we're supposed to all work together so that my gift encourages you and your gift encourages me and we can't make it on our own. The idea of Lone Ranger Christianity is unbiblical. So, we need each other--that is the first thing.

The other thing, I think, and in some ways this is even more important, is that God has made a covenant with His people.

He has commanded us to worship with His people on His day so that, when we come together on Sunday with the Lord's people, we're not coming because it's tradition, we're not coming because it's respectable, we're not gathering because it's good for what ails us, although it may be and ultimately is.

But, primarily we are there because God has called us together. That's what the word "church" means –the "ecclesia" the called-out ones. God has called us out of the world to Himself.

And He calls us together, week by week, to renew His covenant love for us and to renew His call to us to live in the light of His Word. So, not to go to church is to be disobedient to God. It's just that simple.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And then, when we disobey God in that area, we miss out on some of these blessings and benefits that God wants to make a part of our lives that we could have, for obeying Him.

Pastor Bill Hogan: Exactly, exactly.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: In the context of the local church, God has established spiritual leadership.

Pastor Bill Hogan: Yes.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I want you to help us, just from a pastor's perspective, understand what are some of our responsibilities as followers? Scripture has a lot to say about this but just teach us a little bit about how we are to relate to those who are in positions of spiritual leadership in our churches.

Pastor Bill Hogan: Well, the Bible talks about following their example. It talks about obeying them, although I think there are some neurotic pastors who carry that further than I think is proper. But there is a place for submission to teaching and obedience to the Word as it comes to us through God's appointed authoritative people.

And then, the Bible says we should pray for those who lead us. That's important, not only for the well-being of the person for whom we are praying, it's important, I think, for the well-being of the whole church that God's blessing be upon that person.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I want to ask you as a pastor, how would you want people to pray for you?

Pastor Bill Hogan: The most obvious thing that comes to mind is to pray that God would bless my ministry, my study of the Word and the preaching of that Word so that it becomes the vehicle of God's blessing to the church.

And then to pray for me personally in terms of my spiritual walk, strength to overcome temptation, consistency, all of those attributes are important for spiritual leadership and for my home and my marriage.

I remember one lady back at our church in Philadelphia, who said one day, "A lot of people pray for you, but I want to commit myself to pray by name every day for your children."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What a gift!

Pastor Bill Hogan: Yeah, a wonderful gift.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, speaking of encouragement, are there two or three other things that people can do to encourage their pastors? As you think back to how people encouraged you as a pastor, how can we encourage our pastors?

Pastor Bill Hogan: Well, you can write notes to them. My secretary in Philadelphia used to collect all these notes and letters that came and put them in what she called the "upper file." I still have them and just a few months ago I was looking at them again.

They were not only encouraging at the time they came, but they were encouraging a few months ago when I read them all over again.

These were people who would just write in and the most encouraging ones were the people who said, "Here is a specific way something you said has impacted my life." So, that's very encouraging.

And I think also, this is probably a little less important today than it used to be because pastors are a little better paid in general than they used to be. But, there was a time in my life when the generosity of people and their sensitivity in meeting material needs was very encouraging.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You know, as you share those illustrations, a number of scriptures come to mind. But, let me just mention two, Galatians 6:6 and then also in 1 Corinthians 9, we are told that we are to minister to the material needs, the financial needs, the physical needs of those who minister the Word of God to us.

I want to say to our listeners: You may just want to send a check to your pastor and his wife to say, on their anniversary or other special time of the year, "Go out to dinner and have a date."

There may be ways that you can minister outside of even the salary that the church pays him but make sure that their material needs are being provided for.

And then that passage in 1 Thessalonians 5[:11-12] where Paul says that we are to respect those who labor among us and who are over us in the Lord and who admonish us. And we are to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake.

And, Bill, as I am listening to you, I want to say again, how highly I esteem you in love for your work's sake. And, though it has been many years, I am still reaping the goodness of God in my life as the result of seeds that you planted 20 and 30 years ago.

So, I do esteem you highly and I want to say to our listeners that I hope you're not a critic of your pastor but that you are encouraging him, praying for him.

Listen, if he's not a great pastor, it may be because there aren't enough people praying for him. And you have no idea what kind of man of God He may make out of that pastor if you will follow God's direction for your life in terms of esteeming him, listening to his teaching, praying for him, believing God by faith to make him the man of God that your congregation needs to lead and to feed that walk.

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss talking with Pastor Bill Hogan. I don't know about you but I am ready to do something to encourage my pastor's family.

October is Pastor's appreciation month and we want to help you do something special for someone whose hard work sometimes goes unnoticed--your pastor's wife.

We have put together a gift pack for you to give to this important person in your church. It comes with a gift candle. The scent is pumpkin pie spice--perfect for this time of year. It also includes herbal tea, Nancy's CD called Psalms from the Heart and a signed copy of Nancy's book,

A Place
of Quiet Rest.

We'll even include a gift bag, card and tissue paper. Don't you wish gift giving was always this easy? You can get the package for a suggested donation of $30 by calling us toll free 1-800-569-5959. You can also order on-line. Just visit ReviveOurHearts.com

And would you tell us what you appreciate about your pastor?

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: It's been so good to be talking today with my former pastor, Dr. Bill Hogan. We're going to be together again tomorrow and I'm going to ask Bill to show us some things that God has taught him as he has walked both as a pastor and as a parent through some very deep and difficult waters in his life.

We're going to talk about how we can walk through times of grief and also how we can help others who may be going through a time of grieving in their own lives.

I hope that you will join us here tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Leslie Basham: Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

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