A Personal Request from Your Pastor

This may seem like a totally self seeking post. I hear you. When you’re a pastor, there are certain things you wish you could tell the people in your church, but can’t because they would seem self-serving. Well, read this:

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

Acts 20:28

What Paul is saying is this: Unhealthy leaders produce unhealthy disciples and unhealthy churches. So, apologies if this sounds like a rather self-serving request but according to Paul, it’s actually for your good too. Here’s my request: pray for me.

I’ve been a pastor for quite a few years – whether as Senior Pastor or Assistant Pastor and I’ve sat in all the behind-the-scenes meetings, occupied front row seats for all the good, bad, and ugly that happened in our church (and happens in every church). I’ve rejoiced, cried and mourned with you, I’ve watched your loved ones die and rejoiced in new birth. I’ve witness loved ones walk away and been there when they’ve come back. I’ve been at the sharp end of soul destroying, over-critical comments, as well at the other end of overwhelming support and encouragement. It’s truly an honour to be the one that you call when things go unbelievably wrong, as well as when things go extraordinarily well.

Sometimes things were hideously ugly. Sometimes things were astonishingly beautiful.

When people ask me how they can help in church my response is often “Pray for me”. It’s not a cop out and it isn’t a brush off. I really need your prayer. Here’s why:


I know that many of you think that I only work one day a week (and only in the morning) but I don’t think most people realise just how hard it is to be a pastor. Pastoral ministry is an intensely emotional work. It seems as though every week I find myself up the the elbows in a mixture of joy, struggle, failure, and heartache. I spend most of my day giving myself away in an attempt to refresh and strengthen others.

The result of this kind of work is like giving a milkshake to a child (you know that slurpy thing they do with the straw after they have finished?). Pastoral work quickly sucks me dry and often leaves me exhausted. Many many many times in the night I will be thinking about you and your families and interceding for you.

When you pray for me, pray that God would strengthen and refresh me. Pray also for Lorrie as she toils for the sake of the Gospel at my side. Thank you.


Unlike most jobs, pastoral work is never completed. The results usually can’t been seen for years, if ever. My job is only done when I quit, die or Jesus comes back. The efforts and hard work that are put in rarely see an fruit in the short term and this can sometimes be discouraging.

Additionally, “I’m not a super saint”. I’m a regular, run of the mill sinner. Every day I’m reminded of sin and brokenness and failure – most of this before breakfast.

This means that pastors (and some more than others) are particularly prone to discouragement. CH Spurgeon said:

“One crushing stroke has sometimes laid the minister very low. The brother most relied upon becomes a traitor. Judas lifts up his heel against the man who trusted him, and the preacher’s heart for the moment fails him. . . . Strife, also, and division, and slander, and foolish censures, have often laid holy men prostrate, and made them go ‘as with a sword in their bones.’ Hard words wound some delicate minds very keenly…. By experience the soul is hardened to the rough blows which are inevitable in our warfare; but at first these things utterly stagger us, and send us to our homes wrapped in a horror of great darkness….

“When troubles multiply, and discouragements follow each other in long succession, like Job’s messengers, then, too, amid the perturbation of soul occasioned by evil tidings, despondency despoils the heart of all its peace. Constant dropping wears away stones, and the bravest minds feel the fret of repeated afflictions. If a scanty cupboard is rendered a severer trial by the sickness of a wife or the loss of a child, and if ungenerous remarks of hearers are followed by the opposition of deacons and the coolness of members, then, like Jacob, we are apt to cry, ‘All these things are against me’… Accumulated distresses increase each other’s weight; they play into each other’s hands, and like bands of robbers, ruthlessly destroy our comfort. Wave upon wave is severe work for the strongest swimmer. The place where two seas meet strains the most seaworthy keel. If there were regulated pause between the buffetings of adversity, the spirit would stand prepared; but when they come suddenly and heavily, like the battering of great hailstones, the pilgrim may well be amazed. The last ounce is laid upon us, what wonder if we for awhile are ready to give up the ghost!”

Charles H. Spurgeon. Lectures to My Students. London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1969, 161-162

My work sometimes feels as though it doesn’t matter … I don’t matter … that it will never make a difference … and will never end. I, too often, succumb to the whispers of Satan, telling me of my failures and insufficiencies, knowing that most, if not all of those whispers are true.

So, when possible, remind me of how God is working in your life and pray for my encouragement. Thank you.


If Satan can take down me down he might also be able to take down an an entire congregation. I think of all the pastors I’ve known who have been taken out by Satan – whether it’s through illness, adultery, financial impropriety or some other method. Church history is littered with the wreckage of broken pastors, and the trail of devastation this leaves it’s it’s wake. When the pastor is taken down, the church hurts and the name of Christ is slandered even more so than normal.

This is a terrifying reality and the reason why Paul wrote to young pastor and said:

Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:12

So, whenever you can, pray that God would protect Lorrie and I from the snares of Satan and that God would be a guard over my family.


In almost every one of Paul’s letters he closes with a list of labourers who the church should pray for and encourage. Timothy, Tertius, Gaius, Aquila, Prisca, Tchicus, Ephaphroditis, those in Caesar’s house, Archippus, Luke, Demas, Aristarchus, Onesimus, Erastus, Trophimus, Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia, Pheobe, Zenus, Artemas, Apoloss, Philemon, Mark. Could I be bold and add my name to this list? Simon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.