The progress of sanctification is typically slow for everyone. This is even more the case for the weaker brother (Rom. 14:1–2; 1 Cor. 8–10). Shepherding the soul of the weaker brother requires a lot of time and effort. It can become frustrating to have the same conversations over and over again. It may feel like no ground is being made in their struggle. Yet that may be what is required.
So then, patience is an essential quality for a pastor to shepherd the weaker brother in his congregation.
Patience is not only a part of the fruit of the Spirit, but is also an invaluable asset to the pastor as he cares for these individuals in the church. A lack of patience when ministering to the weaker in the congregation is not a confirmation they are not learning and growing, but an indictment on the pastor that his timeline is in contrast to God’s timeline. Pastors are never guaranteed that growth in their own life and the lives of those they shepherd will happen at a certain rate.
The most empowered and victorious Christian still battles sin, the flesh, and the devil every day of their life in this fallen world. The disheartened and the weak are in the same battle. They just appear to have fewer weapons in the fight. A pastor who remembers this spiritual reality will be a more patient pastor. If that doesn’t increase his patience, just remember how patient God is with each of us. God is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, even when we are most undeserving of it. Remembering the patience of a kind God towards us will always be the right fuel to cultivate patience towards others.
Brian Croft is Senior Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church. To find out more, please visit Practical Shepherding.