Friday, March 1, 2019

Outdoor Object Lesson 89: Serving Your Pastor

Key Text

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,” Ephesians‬ ‭4:11‬ (‭NIV‬‬)


The harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) is a fascinating bird that at first glance, could be mistaken for an owl. The shape of it’s concave face looks uncannily like an owl’s. However, it is most certainly an eagle. It is native to the jungles of South and Central America. It is a very large eagle with an unusually short wingspan so it can easily fly between the dense trees. It builds its nest 90 or more feet (27 m) high in a tree. It can have claws as big as those of a bear! It is a fantastic hunter and a king of the jungle. It lives on large mammals, mostly sloths, monkeys, and opossums.

It’s an apex predator.1 Apex predators have a unique place in the food chain. They are at the top (apex) and therefore have no natural enemies. However, if the health of the ecosystem where they live declines or is threatened, so is the apex predator. As a result, scientists are able to determine when ecosystems are in poor health by looking at the health and numbers of the apex predator. They provide a good metric to determine when their habitat is threatened.

We can draw a parallel with the church. Pastors are usually in charge of a church. In some cases it may be a head elder. Either way, this person is at the top of the local church management. Pastors (and elders) are endowed by God with authority to lead His flock. This is because they have training and spiritual gifts to lead evangelism and facilitate other’s spiritual growth. Pastors (and other church leaders) are not better or closer to God than us. Only Jesus is the Head of the Church. But their leadership is important to direct the local church.

Like the harpy eagle, who’s health indicates the health of the jungle where they live, so the pastor’s, or elder’s, spiritual health is a good indicator of the spiritual health of their church. Where you find a thriving congregation, full of the love of Jesus, you will find a pastor who has a strong relationship with God. Wherever you find a pastor who is overworked, or preoccupied with this world, you are likely to find a church congregation that is unhealthy and dwindling.

How does this impact you? As church members we often take our pastor, and elders, for granted. It is easy to forget they are human too. We tend to forget that they are not there to do all the work in the church, to conduct all the evangelism and bible studies. When Paul compared the church to a body, he meant we all have a part to play. The pastor cannot do it all. So if you want to ensure that your pastor, and elders, maintain a healthy relationship with God. If you want to be sure that he or she is able to do their best work for your church, do what you can to help him or her. Pray for them, daily. Go to them and tell them you want to help. Ask what you can do to help the church and make their job easier. Seek ways to serve your pastor and help him or her keep a healthy relationship with Jesus.


What do you think a pastors most important job is?

What are some other ways you can assist your pastor and church elders?

What should you do if you feel your pastor is not doing a good job?

What steps can you take to make sure your work for God does not get in the way of your relationship with with God?


1: “Jungle Eagle: Harpy Eagle Fact Sheet.” Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) online. Retrieved on February 27, 2019 from

Written by David F. Garner
Photo credit: Bruno Gomes via