I know most of your readers aren't in my shoes, but I'm the pastor of a small church, and I've gotten very discouraged because my congregation expects me to do everything (even clean up after the service). Maybe you can urge people to do more than just sit in church once a week.


One reason I wanted to reprint your letter is to remind people to pray for their pastors, and to look for ways to help and encourage them. The Bible tells us “to respect those … who are over you in the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 5:12).

Don’t be discouraged, however, or think that the members of your church are deliberately being lazy; I suspect this is the way they’ve always looked on their pastors. Instead of seeing this as a problem, therefore, I hope you’ll see it as an opportunity – an opportunity to help them begin to use their gifts to serve Christ. The Bible says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us” (Romans 12:6).

Ask God to help you understand more fully what He wants to do in their lives. God doesn’t just want to get them to clean the church (although that may be part of it). He wants them to grow closer to Himself, and He wants to teach them how to live for Christ in their daily lives. Base your preaching on the Bible, and (like Paul’s friend Timothy) “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11).

In addition, ask God to help you be faithful as you serve this congregation. Perhaps an older pastor can help you work through some of these issues. Churches may not change easily – but with God’s help it can happen.