Reviewed by: Mark McConnell
Fight for Your Pastor, by Peter Orr. Crossway, 2022. Paperback, 112 pages, $9.99. Reviewed by OP ruling elder Mark McConnell.
Fight for Your Pastor is advice to guide church members toward helping and encouraging their pastor. The one-word chapter headings provide a good summary of author Peter Orr’s message. “Fight!”: Pray for your pastor. “Encourage!”: Let him know that his work is fruitful. “Listen!”: Be attentive to his teaching. “Give!”: Support his ministry financially. “Forgive!”: Be patient with his mistakes and shortcomings. “Submit!”: Respect God’s authority symbolized by the ordained office he holds. And finally, “Check!”: Your congregation has a role in helping your pastor to live the holy life to which Christ called him.
Has your pastor told you what your neglect is doing to him? Will he tell you about the daily strains on his family and his walk with God? Will he share his uncertainties about the effectiveness of his ministry? Probably not. Would he appear too needy for you to follow if you knew that the futility and sorrow of the work bring him low, or that he needs support when opposition grows harsh, or else he cannot do the job at all? In other words, what if your pastor admits he is no better than the Apostle Paul, who confessed to having such weaknesses to the point that he “despaired of life itself”?
The advice on how to help is urgent. Still, a pastor’s congregation and fellow officers probably follow it leisurely, if at all, and so it bears repeating. This little book adds urgency to the familiar guidance. In Fight for Your Pastor, the author enriches his personal experience with observations from “a pastor I know” and “a pastor writes,” sometimes anonymously. This wealth of experience can give readers insight into what Dane C. Ortlund, in the foreword, calls “a crisis among pastors.” Your pastor serves you amid an emergency enflamed by the hostile world and fueled by worldly minds masquerading as spiritual in the churches, among both members and pastors.
Will your pastor’s ministry survive the discovery that his views on politics or science differ from many in the congregation? How will church families deal with a disagreement with the pastor over a disciplinary issue? Are you spiritually prepared if an accusation of serious sin arises against your pastor or one of his household members? Your leader, too, should benefit from the gracious commands: “Do not bite and consume one another,” “be at peace with one another,” “be kind to one another,” “be patient with one another,” “forgive one another,” “pray for one another,” and “love one another.” Congregation members might help to avoid another tragedy if they only include their pastor as one of these “one another.” You must fight for one another. You must fight for your pastor.
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