52 Ways: #41 – Invite them to a gathering with your friends

This week’s suggestion on one way to care for your pastor may be a bit tough for some people.  The thought of inviting your pastor and his wife to a party with your friends might cause you to break out in a cold sweat.  “What?  Introduce my pastor to my friends?  Are you kidding me?”  Hold on for a second and let me explain why I think this is a good idea.  (I won’t even mention the fact that if you’re hanging out with people you would be embarrassed to introduce to your pastor you might just be hanging out with the wrong people.  That would condescending, wouldn’t it? [insert wink and Mona Lisa smile here]).

We live in a dark world – the tiniest bit of light shines brightly in a dark room.  The tiniest bit of salt causes the whole glass of water to taste salty.  As salt and light in the world Christians can greatly influence those around them simply by showing up and loving people.  Not preaching.  Not sermonizing.  Not withdrawing.  But by being gracious and showing kindness to others.  Your pastor and his/her spouse can do that with your friends and family, perhaps in ways that you can’t.

Some people view pastors as other worldly, not like normal people.  Frankly that is probably because they haven’t been around many pastors.  When given a chance to get to know your pastor and your pastor’s spouse, a friend or family member just might make a connection that could eventually lead to, oh, I don’t know, your friend or family member’s salvation perhaps?

My husband and I have been adopted by a very large family.  We are invited to all of their family functions, even their family reunions.  Because we’ve been frequently exposed to so many friends and family members we’ve been able to greatly influence several people, even leading many of them to the Lord.  People who never attended church have sought out my husband when they needed advice, counsel, prayer, and premarital counseling.  He has been involved with this family from birth to death and everything in between.  He has baptized children and grandchildren in the ocean and in the family backyard pool.  He’s visited elderly parents in the hospital and officiated at weddings and funerals.  When the family patriarch got sick my husband would regularly visit with him in his son’s house and play cards with him (sorry to shock all of my Baptist friends!).  This old curmudgeon, who didn’t particularly like “preachers” looked forward to my husband’s visits.  He would be able to share his memories of days gone by while my husband listened.  His heart softened toward the Lord over the course of these visits and just before he passed away his daughter-in-law was privileged to pray with him to receive Christ as Savior.  She credits my husband with plowing the fallow ground and planting seed that she was able to harvest.  What a joy and honor to be a part of such a family!

Now, your pastor might not become as involved in your family as the story above.  That’s okay.  That’s not really the purpose of this suggested way to care for your pastor.  But he or she might!  What is important is showing your pastor that you care enough to invite him/her into your world, even if it is just for an afternoon or evening.  No one can predict where the Lord will take your relationship or what “coincidental” meetings (some call them divine appointments) your pastor may make while attending an event at your home.  Don’t be afraid to issue an invitation.  Besides, your pastor (and wife) may just need to get out and laugh at a fun gathering that isn’t church related.  Have you ever considered that?

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