1. Show him how God has used him to help you grow in Christ.
Nothing will inspire your pastor more or give him more joy than to see how you are growing in Christ. Tell him how God has used him in your growth. Be specific and tell him whenever it happens. When people are silent, pastors wonder if they are making any difference at all.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.3 John 1:4
2. Praise God for him in his presence.
Ask your pastor to pray with you, then spend the whole time praising God for your pastor. Invite others to join in. Again, be specific. General statements can feel like you’re just being nice. Specifics tell the pastor that you mean what you are saying.
3. Invest in his prayer life.
Ask your church to give the pastor regular time away for prayer. I recommend one day each month and two full weeks each year (one week each quarter would be better). Send him to a place that will teach him how to spend time alone with God. The Transforming Center and BroomTree Ministries are great places to start. Ask your denomination what else they recommend.
4. Buy him a gift.
Buy your pastor something he will appreciate. One suggestion is to give him tools to study the Word of God. Commentaries are incredibly expensive but they are of great value to most pastors. Ask your pastor to make a list of commentaries he would like. Recruit families in the church to buy one commentary each. Have each family deliver their own gift with a note of gratitude. Best Commentaries can help you decide which ones to buy.
5. Set his family free and love them well.
The pastor’s wife and kids often feel like there are extra expectations placed on them. Make every effort to remove these expectations. Tell them to serve wherever they feel called. Respect their choices. Take a few Sundays each year to specifically bless your pastor’s family.
6. Give him some Sundays for his own spiritual refreshment.
When a pastor preaches more than 45 Sundays a year, the week-to-week grind can be spiritually draining. Your pastor needs spiritual refreshment too. Ask the elders to fill in a few times, or make the fifth Sunday in the month a special service. Tell him on these Sundays he has no responsibilities other than to let the church bless him. Make sure the congregation gets the message too! Vanderbloemen Search Services recommends that pastors preach no more than 40 times per year!
7. Invest in his marriage.
Arrange babysitters for his kids once per month. Or give your pastor a gift card to a nice restaurant. Send them on a special marriage retreat or just give them a weekend at a bed and breakfast.
8. Raise his pay.
Most pastors are underpaid for their level of education. On top of that, they often use a good portion of their income for ministry (buying lunches, books, or gifts for people). How you pay your pastor is an expression of how much you value the gospel (Galatians 6:6-10).
9. Become his friend.
Many pastors have few friends. It’s not easy to be a pastor’s friend because we see their struggles and pains more often. Invite your pastor over for a fun evening – no ministry allowed! Get to know him and his family as people. Create a safe space for them to be real human beings.
10. Pray over him.
Periodically gather a few people to pray over your pastor. Pray for his spiritual vitality. Pray for protection from Satan’s attacks. Pray for his family by name. Read books about how pastors struggle and use them to inform your prayers for your pastor.
Tomorrow I’ll share 10 more great ways you can encourage your pastor.
What would you add to this list?
Please, leave a comment below. I personally read all the comments and I try to respond within a day. Or we can interact on Twitter (@PastorsSoul) or on our Facebook page.
© Sean Nemecek, 2018. All rights reserved. Request permission.
Sean Nemecek, (M.Div. Grand Rapids Theological Seminary) is the director of The Pastor’s Soul, and pastor at First Baptist Church in Tustin, Michigan since 2001. A third-generation pastor, he grew up listening to pastors and their families talk about the realities of ministry. Now he wants to use this knowledge to bless the church. Sean is married to Amy, a poet and freelance book editor. Together, they have a 17-year-old son.