Your pastor is a target. That's right. A big ol' bullseye right on his chest...or his pulpit...or whatever. But it's there.
I'm not just talking about the typical garbage that goes on in most churches. You know what I mean. The pastor as a target for the disgruntled, for the bitter and angry, for the power hungry, etc. Though certainly these things can play into the bigger picture I have in mind here.
What I'm thinking about is the bullseye the enemy has placed on your pastor's chest. I've been reading Thom Rainer's wonderful little book on church membership. (BTW, if you haven't read it, you should. So should every member of your church. This should be required reading!) Among the many things he discusses as to what makes a healthy church/church member, he mentions the need to be praying for your leaders. Why? Well, because of that bullseye thing.
Rainer says: "The devil sees the pastor as a threat, and one of his highest priorities is to take him down and take him out." What a great devotional thought to start my day! And yet, he's right on target (pardon the pun). The enemy knows that the best battle strategy includes taking out those in leadership.
Rainer also points out that the demands on pastors are higher than the rest of the flock. Demands for holiness, a reputation above reproach, etc. We hold our leaders to a higher standard, because in a sense God does. This obviously adds a bit of pressure to the situation as well.
So put those two together for a moment. Higher standards of character. Higher on the list of targets on the enemy's hit list. The conclusion should be obvious, and it's the one Rainer is highlighting: Your leaders need your prayers. We need prayers for a whole host of reasons, but this idea of being a target sure tops the list.
Rainer has in mind those things that will harm the pastor's reputation. The enemy just loves it when a pastor falls into an adulterous relationship, or when he skims a bit from the coffers, or some other hugely public and humiliating sin. He knows that damaging the reputation of the pastor serves to damage the reputation of the church as a whole. And yes, all that other church garbage I mentioned can just add to things: the constant tearing down of a pastor through gossip and backbiting, etc. If folks only knew they were playing into the enemy's hands when they do that.
But again, the point here is just to remember: your pastor is a target. He needs your prayers. You can be a blessing to your leaders in other ways to be sure. Encouraging them instead of complaining. Refusing to join in the gossip and backbiting when it rears its ugly head. But above all, pray. Rainer says, "As church members, we must be willing to pray for the leaders in our church. Without our ongoing intercessory prayer, our churches will not be healthy."
So take just five minutes today and pray for your pastor. If you are a pastor, spend time praying for a brother in ministry, or some of the other leaders in your church. Remember those in the cross hairs of the enemy, and pray for their strength, their protection, their mental and physical health. The enemy may have put a target on their chest, but remember that our God can provide a shield strong enough to extinguish all those flaming darts the enemy can hurl; even the big guns he aims at our pastors. So, stop reading stuff on the internet and go pray!