I’ve worked very closely with pastors for a long time (and I’ve been one myself) so I can tell you with confidence: Pastors are some of the most serving, giving, selfless and caring people I know. I know pastors can get a bad rap. They tend to get the brunt of the complaining when things don’t go the way we like at church.
But most pastors I know have committed their whole lives to helping you lead and love and grow in the areas you want to grow.
My pastor, Scott Wilson, is one of the people in this world I admire most.
And chances are, when you think about it, you are thankful for your pastor too. You might not know how to show it, though, which is why I figured I’d share a few ideas with you. You don’t have use them, but if your pastor has impacted your life as much as my pastor has mine, I think you’ll want to.
1. Be kind to his or her family.
A pastor’s family is not only the most important thing in the world to him—his greatest support system, his biggest cheerleaders—but they also tend to get the brunt of anger, judgement, criticism and frustration they don’t deserve.
A pastor’s kids are often picked on. His spouse is often snubbed.
So if you want to make your pastor’s day, be kind to his family. Support or encourage his kids in something they are doing. Treat his wife like the friend she is. Even offer to babysit so he can take his wife on a date. When you show love and support for your pastor’s family, you are showing love to him.
2. Focus on the positive.
There will always be things in a church environment that we don’t like. The music could be better. The sermon could be better. There aren’t certain classes or programs you would like. The coffee is bad. The pews are too hard. Whatever. I’m not suggesting we ignore the negative, or pretend like it isn’t there.
What I’m suggesting is this: If you really want to make your pastor’s day, focus on the positive.
Rather than sending an email about the one thing he said in a sermon that hurt your feelings, or that threatened your perspective, send him an email about the 10 things he said that helped you this week. Remind yourself that the work God is doing in him isn’t finished, and that he’s on the right track (and so are you).
3. Don’t let small things go unnoticed.
Pastors do a ton of little things throughout the week that you don’t notice. The sermon you hear on Sunday mornings is the result of months of faithful prayer and Bible reading. There are meetings, phone calls, coordination, hiring, firing, difficult decisions, visits to the hospital and a whole host of other things he won’t ever tell you about. He doesn’t need to.
But it would mean a lot if you noticed.
4. Thank him publicly.
There’s something so special about being recognized publicly, don’t you think? This is why we host award banquets and birthday parties, even for little kids. We do it for 5-year-olds and 30-year-olds, for the Grammys and the end of a T-ball season. There is nothing like being acknowledged in the midst of people we love.
If you feel thankful for your pastor, thank him publicly for all he does. He won’t ever ask for it, but this is one way you can make your pastor feel incredibly honored.
5. Serve him.
Pastors spend so much of their life serving that many of them forget how to be served themselves. In fact, if you asked your pastor how you could serve him, I doubt he or she would know. What if you paid close attention to your pastor—to his needs and wants—and tried to determine a way to serve him and his family?
He’s been serving you and your community for years and years. What would it look like for you to serve him?