When I served on staff in a church in Arkansas, I had the joy of coordinating events for our senior adults. On one of our first outings, I used the traveling time to get to know some of the saints. As I chatted with one particular lady named Brenda, I asked her about her service in our church and what she specifically enjoyed doing. I’ll never forget her smile and genuine heartfelt words, “I just want to be a blessing to my pastor.” I was a little stunned. Growing up in a pastor’s home, and then serving on staff at churches, too often I had experienced the opposite attitude: “I just want to be a thorn in my pastor’s side.” So Brenda’s words were like a fresh breeze. And she backed them up. She truly was a blessing to our pastor, and to all of us on staff.
I wonder how different a pastor’s ministry would be if every member had Brenda’s attitude? Perhaps it is your heart to be a blessing to your pastor, but you’re wondering how you can do that. Here are a few tips:
- Be a prayer warrior for your pastor.
Perhaps the best way to bless your pastor is to intercede for him. But don’t just throw random “Bless our pastor” prayers toward heaven. Instead…
- Pray specifically. Ask your pastor how you can pray for him and his family. Write down his requests. Then follow up.
- Pray intentionally. Too often we say we’ll pray for someone, then never get around to it. If you tell him you’re going to pray for him, then pray for him. Mark it down. Set a time. You might do this daily, but at least weekly.
- Pray holistically. You may lean toward praying for the seen needs of your pastor and his family – their health, safety, schedules, physical needs, etc. But I encourage you to also battle in prayer for the spiritual needs of your pastor – that he would hear clearly from God, have clear vision for the church, be diligent in preparation and bold in preaching, and so forth.
One more note about praying for your pastor: When you’re praying for him, it’s hard to be critical of him. Praying for someone keeps our heart tender toward that person and helps us see them through the eyes of Christ.
- Show your appreciation.
There are ways you need to tangibly encourage your pastor and show him your appreciation.
- Write it. Appropriate texts and emails are great ways to communicate your appreciation. But I encourage you to put pen to paper and write him a note. A handwritten note speaks deeply. I personally have a couple of files full of encouraging notes that people sent to me during my years as pastor. Many times those notes came at just the right time – in a stressful time of ministry, a difficult time in my personal life, or a troubling time in my family. Many times they followed a time of harsh criticism. Refresh his heart with a note.
- Give it. What are some appropriate gifts for your pastor?
- gift cards
- tickets to sporting events or the arts
- free baby-sitting
- treat he and his family to lunch out or a meal in your home
- a sack of groceries or vegetables from your garden
- Speak it. What are some words you’re pastor would love to hear? How about… thank you, we love you, we appreciate you, we’re praying for you, what can I do to help, and more. Verbalize your appreciation.
- Love his spouse well.
One of the most meaningful things you can do to be a blessing to your pastor is love and encourage his wife. How?
- Don’t put unreal expectations on her. Not all pastors’ wives can play piano, sing, or teach … but all are gifted. So…
- Affirm her gifts. Allow her to thrive in the places she’s called to. Encourage her in this.
- Don’t hold her at arms length. Be a friend. Invite her to lunch. Discover her needs and pressure points and help find ways to meet those needs.
- Watch your words.
You have the opportunity to speak life or death over your pastor and his ministry. Choose life.
- Don’t be an originator or channel of criticism, gossip, or slander about your pastor. Just don’t. Nothing good comes of it.
- Squash the harsh words that you do hear. If you hear someone criticizing or gossiping about the pastor, ask if they have discussed this with him, and if not, encourage them to stop talking about it until they do.
- Talk to him. Pastors aren’t perfect. There will be times you disagree with him and need to share your heart in a serious conversation. Please do so. Just do it in the right spirit, with the right words, at the right time. Shouting at him during a public business meeting is not it. Neither is pulling him aside between Sunday School and worship. Set up an appointment and go visit with him.
Most pastors are God-called, Spirit-led, men of integrity who love Christ and love the church. They bear a tremendous weight in leading God’s people on His mission. Come alongside him in this effort. Love him, encourage him, and be a blessing!
Mike Wakefield served for more than 20 years as student pastor, associate pastor, and senior pastor in churches in Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee. He currently serves as a content editor in Adult Publishing at LifeWay Christian Resources. He and his wife Tricia live in Spring Hill, Tennessee. They have two young adult children, Hannah and Joshua.