Friday, June 29, 2012

Encourage Your Pastors

I realize this may seem a bit self-serving, but since the Scriptures command church members to relate to their leaders in such a way that they find their ministry a joy (Hebrews 13:17), I figured I'd take that risk.  Brian Croft (who has an excellent blog for pastors) writes of five ways to encourage your pastors:

1) Share appreciation for how hard he works.  Maybe the most hurtful words a pastor and his wife can hear are not, “Bad sermon” or “that was a dumb decision” or “I don’t like the way you do that.”  Rather I submit words that imply this message can be the most hurtful, “You are lazy.”  Because of this, some of the most encouraging words a pastor and his wife can hear are words of gratefulness for how hard he works to preach faithfully and care for God’s people.

2) Give specific feedback to a sermon.  I’m not talking about the slap on the back, “Nice sermon” comment.  Instead be specific…”that insight into the text was really helpful, or that application really met me where I am struggling.”

3) Acknowledge the sacrifice of his family.  This will encourage his wife and children, but it will also be very meaningful to the pastor.  The pastor knowing you are thinking of his family can often times mean more than you thinking of him.

4) Reveal how you have spiritually grown under his ministry.  This is one thing a pastor labors to hear and hopes is taking place all over his congregation.  Stop keeping him in suspense and tell him so he knows.

5) Tell him how you specifically pray for him.  Your pastor of all people should know the significance of prayer.  The most meaningful things I hear isn’t, “I prayed for you” but, “I prayed that your sermon would be powerfully preached and eagerly received, or I prayed God would protect you and your family from the enemy through this important week.”

If not in these ways, find some way to encourage your pastor this week.  Never underestimate how meaningful and well-timed it can be when God would so lead you to do so.

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