by Ben Reed
Truth: “Hey preacher man, good sermon!” is nice…but come on, we can do better than that, right?
We can do better than the shoulder squeeze with the solemn look in the eye. We can do better than the slow head nod of approval—especially when we remember that our pastors spend hours each week pouring out their hearts on stage, ministering to and in our communities, and shepherding hard-heads like us.
The work of a pastor is often lonely, difficult work. We need your encouragement. And encouragement isn’t that difficult, but it takes being intentional.
Here are 10 simple ways to encourage your pastor:
1. Appreciate the work they do throughout the week, not just on Sunday. You know being a pastor is more than a Sunday gig, right? We don’t love that you-only-work-one-day-a-week ribbing, by the way.
2. Take notes on Sunday. This is a great way to encourage your pastor. At least act like you’re going to work diligently to remember and apply their teaching.
3. Email them on Tuesday. Let them know you’re still working through your notes from Sunday.
4. Deflect criticism on their behalf. Your pastor likely takes a lot of heat. Some may be deserved…much of it likely isn’t. Instead of joining in the criticism, stand up and show your pastor some love. Help others see the good side of your pastor.
5. Speak well of your local church. Your pastor takes great care and spends much effort to present and grow a beautiful local church. Speaking well of your church is a great way to encourage and honor the work your pastor has done.
6. Serve. I don’t mean that you should necessarily bring your pastor dinner (though that would also be cool), but you should serve others in your local church. This is unbelievably encouraging! Your pastor’s desire is not to be the only one who does ministry.
7. Pray for them. Often.
8. Speak well of their spouse. A pastor’s spouse is married to the ministry. They often do ministry themselves and end up carrying the burden of their spouse as they lead. It’s a tough spot to be in. Speaking well of your pastor’s spouse helps your pastor feel like you’ve got their back.
9. Start consistently feeding them fresh preaching points every day. By email. And phone calls. And text messages. And Facebook wall posts.
10. Give generously. This is a fruit of faithful, biblical preaching—people growing in their faith to the point where they’re generous with their financial resources. Give to your local church, yes. But give generously to others. “Don’t let your left hand know what your right is doing.” – Matthew 6:3
Not sure where to start? Then pick one for this upcoming week and bless your pastor. Your local church will be better because of your small investment.
Ben Reed is the small groups pastor at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tenn. He blogs regularly at benreed.net.