3 things congregations should say to their pastors

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Last week, I shared three things pastors should say to their congregations. Today, I want to look at the same idea from a different angle—three things congregations should say to their pastors:

1. “Thank you for your faithfulness.”

This could even be shortened to “thank you.” From what I can tell, pastors rarely get positive feedback or encouragement. Ever. When a pastor gets an email from someone in the congregation, it’s too often just to tell him what he did wrong or left of the sermon that week. Is it any wonder the majority of pastors struggle with depression and more than half would quit if they could?

The role of a pastor isn’t just to sit with his books all week long, crafting his message. It’s counselling, visitations, dealing with conflict, addressing organizational issues, budgets… and yes, sermon prep, too. So maybe instead of sending an email about what you don’t like, how about just saying, “thank you for all you do”? It might go a long way.

2. “How can I pray for you?”

This might seem like an “I should hope so” statement, but really, is it? And even if you do ask—do you actually pray for your pastor? One of the things pastors need above all else is prayer. Ministry is difficult enough when a pastor has a large amount of people praying for him; without the prayers of the congregation, though, it’s impossible. So ask, stop what you’re doing and pray for him when you have the answer.

3. “How can we help you?”

You can ask a question like this in a lot of different ways. For example, if a pastor has a young family, maybe offer to babysit for free so he and his wife can get a night out. If his wife, like so many other pastors’ wives, feels left out or unappreciated by fellow church members, maybe ask if there’s something you can do for her that she’d really like. Look for opportunities to love your pastor and his family practically and then do it. By doing so, you’ll go a long way to helping him maintain a semblance of a healthy life-work balance.

What are your thoughts on this? What do you think congregations need to tell their pastors?

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  • don gilliland

    I sometimes go forward during the invitation and pray with my pastor for him and his family and encourage him that I love him and thank him for all he does. the time to pray for someone is when they ask for it. quite often our pastor asks if anyone needs to have someone pray with them and the Spirit prompts me to pray with/for my pastor right then. God bless all the pastors that are doing it right.

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  • aguest

    What a great reminder!! As a former youth minister, I can attest to the importance of the above. In a profession that centers around caring for others, it is imperative that pastors and ministers receive the same care and concern from others. It can be a tremendous strain on family life as well. Thank you and when I see my pastor tomorrow I hope I do one of the 3 things listed above! God’s blessings to you. :-)

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