Honoring of Church Leaders



I was compelled to write after our young adult class finished this study of “Honors Reward” by John Bevere. It’s been awesome to see some of the changes people are making — like showing up for S.S. on time when they used to be chronically late; or giving over and above in a love offering to the pastor. It’s been fun to observe the changes!

— Becky Van Horn

SDB Church, Pataskala, OH

Our Sabbath School class has just finished listening to the video series “Honors Reward” by John Bevere. He has taught us what “Honor” is and the three aspects of a “Reward” when we do honor others. Those would be a “Full Reward,” “Partial Reward” or “No Reward.” He teaches about honoring civil leaders, social leaders, domestic leaders, church leaders, our peers, husbands/wives and children, and last but most important: God.

The one I feel led to share more about is “Honoring of Church Leaders.”

The foundational scripture for the study is Matthew 10:40-41: “He who receives (honors) you receives (honors) me, and he who receives (honors) me receives (honors) the one who sent me. (That is God). Anyone who receives (honors) a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives (honors) a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward.”

My question is: how does your church treat your pastor and church leaders? Do you honor them, respect them, pray for them daily, give them extra money from time to time, take them out to eat once in a while to show them you love them? Do you go over to their houses and help fix something that’s broken or help them do yard work? Do you stand up when your pastor comes into the room or put a glass of water on the pulpit for him on Sabbath morning? Did you know God’s word says we should be paying our pastors double?

I Timothy 5:17-18 says: “the elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” Wow! Some may debate about the double honor refering to wages — but think about it.

I know a great number of our churches are having a hard time meeting budgets and your response to those words are probably, “Are you crazy, lady?!” But what about taking up a special love gift offering once in a while for your pastor and wife — just to “Honor” them? You know what — God will bless you and your church for doing that!

Remember how we treat our pastor and his family is how you are treating God, who called them into ministry in the first place. John 13:20 (Jesus said) “I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send, accepts me; and whoever accepts me, accepts the One who sent me.”

This also applies to all our church leaders. How do you treat them? What’s your attitude toward them or your motives behind what you do or say to them? Are you talking negatively about them to others? Are you manipulating a situation to get things done your way? I Timothy 5:19 says, Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Hebrews 4:12 talks about the sword of the word judging the thoughts and intents of the heart.

John Bevere quotes in his book (page 120), “Remember, God says we come under a curse when we dishonor our father. Not only does this apply to our natural fathers, but spiritual fathers as well. I personally believe a lot of tragic mishaps could have been avoided if those involved would have developed true honor within their hearts and guarded themselves from offenses, especially in regard to their spiritual fathers and mothers.”

We also dishonor our pastors and teachers when we don’t show up to church on time, or mess with our phones, reading emails or Facebook, while he’s preaching — not paying attention to his sermon. Not to mention how it dishonors God. This isn’t meant to condemn anyone — it’s meant to bring to our attention the importance of treating our pastor and church leaders and teachers with the respect and honor that God expects of us. It will result in a great reward for our church and us individually.

After this particular lesson on pastors, teachers, and leaders, I asked the question in class — Do we honor our pastor the way we should? The answer came back “No.” In our discussion we realized that this could be the case in a great majority of our churches, thus resulting in small rewards.

Lets change that! Think about “Honor” and what that looks like to you and your church, and how that looks to God. Take a minute and ask God to forgive us for our lack of “Honoring” our pastors, leaders, teachers, and each other. Lets go out of our way to find ways to bless and honor them so we can receive a full reward.

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