There are a few things you already know about your pastor that are worth bringing to light. Your pastor is imperfect. Your pastor doubts his or her abilities to really lead a church. Your pastor spends countless hours trying to find ways to make your picture of who God is and what God is like clearer. Your pastor wants your church to succeed more than anyone else. And your pastor needs encouragement.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and so I wanted to share the 5 things that really encouraged me when I was a youth pastor in hopes that you can encourage your pastor too.
1. Catch the vision for where the pastor is leading the church. There was nothing more encouraging than people who wanted to know the plan for the church, participated in making the plan happen, and shared the plan with others in the church with enthusiasm. If you don’t know the plan, set up a meeting with the pastor to hear it! Most pastors I know love sharing the vision for the church.
2. Respect the pastor’s time off. It’s easy to think that your phone call or text isn’t going to take that much time away from your pastor’s time away from work, but it could snap his or her mind back into work-mode for the next several hours. Unless it’s an emergency, let your question or comment wait until they are back in the office.
3. Treat the pastor (and their family) like flawed humans. Your pastor isn’t holier than you. God doesn’t listen to their prayers more intently than He listens to yours. Your pastor sins and needs grace. We’re really good at cutting others slack when they fail, but we can sometimes put pastors on too high of a pedestal. They aren’t Jesus; they just point to Him.
4. Show up. We’re all busy, and weekends fill up with activities and opportunities. On Sunday morning it’s very tempting to sleep in and miss church, but it can do so much for the pastor’s heart (and the church’s momentum) when you are there, ready to listen and grow.
5. Tell your pastor one thing you specifically enjoyed or remembered from their sermon. So many hours are spent in crafting messages and most often the feedback given to the pastor is, “that was good.” If a story spoke to your heart, share that! If a word encouraged you, talk about it with pastor. You would be amazed how hearing about what God did in your heart through a sermon will energize a pastor. You can’t do this enough!
Encouragement is vital for all of us. Give it abundantly to your pastor.