Based on the emails, notes, and phone calls I continue to get, trust me… your pastor needs encouragement. He needs to know that what he does week in and week out means something to God as well as those for whom he labors. Here are 5 suggestions to accomplish this:
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, 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 shepherd their souls.
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.” Don’t underestimate how impactful just one thoughtful, specific comment about your pastor’s sermon can be to him… especially on Monday.
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 mean more than you thinking of him. Some of the most meaningful encouragement to me has been efforts like a card or gift to my wife and children thanking them for their sacrifice in allowing me to do what I do. My kids especially always remember those things.
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. The Lord can also use these words to help a pastor learn what he needs to change or adjust in the way he is preaching or caring for people.
5) Tell him how you specifically pray for him
Your pastor of all people should know the significance of prayer. The most meaningful thing 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.” Write your pastor a text or email today and tell him what you prayed for him or how you will be praying for him this 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… especially on Monday!
Brian Croft is Senior Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church. To find out more, please visit Practical Shepherding.