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?