I am blogging all week about what I think as a preacher. I know this is very subjective and I am sure many preachers do not feel the same way that I do. I also know that many preachers do, so for them and their congregations I hope this is helpful.
Today I want to simply give you ways to encourage your preacher.
1. Attend Church every week. – Many preachers (like myself) try hard not to evaluate their ministry based on Sunday morning attendance, BUT we all feel defeated when people do not come to Church. One of the greatest ways for me to know you care about Jesus and his Church and even me is for you to attend.
2. Invite your unchurched friends to Sunday worship – It is a great feeling when you invite your friends who do not go to Church to come to worship – which includes listening to me. I find it flattering beyond words.
3. Get involved in ministry – If you think I am doing a good job and you like the direction of the Church then jump in and help out. Telling me you liked my sermon is not nearly as encouraging as you stopping by to copy CD’s and put them on the internet for me. Saying you love our Church is not nearly as encouraging as stepping up to teach a kids class.
4. Be nice to my family – All of my family are volunteers. They are here because I am here. Talk nice to them, ask about their lives, listen without criticizing and treat them with respect. That means more to me than how you treat me.
5. Remember me in little ways – I feel connected and encouraged when you text me about a big sale that might interest me or when you save pictures of my family from the newspaper. It means more to me because that means you are thinking about me and my family as a friend and not just your preacher. You don’t need to by me anything, because simple actions speak way louder than gifts.
Finally, I want to say something that may only apply to me, but it needs to be said. Please, please forget that Focus on the Family wants October to be Pastor Appreciation month. I mean that with 100% honesty. For me it feels very forced and very fake. I have been a part of a couple of congregations and at the end of October they called me on stage and gave me some gift. I appreciated the thought, but the gifts usually indicated how little people really knew me or how cheap they were in their gift giving. Giving me a “nice pen” and notebook was not a great gift. I know people mean well, but I am truly encouraged when you remember me on a random Sunday or even more random Tuesday.
Through the years people have tried in numerous ways to encourage me. I appreciate every attempt very deeply. When I am feeling down and discouraged I open up letters I have been given. I look at pictures of good times I had with Church people. I look around my office at some of the memorabilia from trips with people. Some days those are the simple reminders that keep me going. Thanks for everything – all of you.
I do not write this because I am looking for a pat on the back. I write it because it is very likely that your preacher needs a little encouragement. I hope these are helpful.