For the last couple of days I have been thinking of all the advice I want to give my friend as he begins a new ministry position as preacher in a new Church. But last night I began thinking about how to flip that over. What advice would I give a congregation who was getting a new preacher. Here is what I would want them to know (so far):
1. Attend Every Week – Nothing makes a preacher feel appreciated more that showing up to listen
2. Show the new preacher around – Take the new preacher to the best restaurant. Show him the parks where his kids can play. Take him to school functions and not just to show off your child. His new surrounding will feel like home sooner if he knows the area.
3. Don’t expect too much from their family – A congregation is wise to never pressure the preacher’s spouse of kids. It will build walls very quickly.
4. Be open to new ideas – Your new preacher brings a new set of ideas and experiences. Some of them may not work here, but some will. Stay supportive even when things flop, or you think they will.
5. All help is very appreciated – It doesn’t matter if you help at Church or help get a car fixed. It makes a preacher feel loved and appreciated when you do things for him. If you ignore him and his needs you are also sending a message.
6. It’s okay to have loved a former preacher(s), but don’t rub it in their face – In two of my ministries I felt like the last preacher could do no wrong and I was his second-rate replacement. I was told how they did things and how nice they were and how they …. and on and on. It created a distance between myself and the congregation.
7. Pray for your new preacher – You will never know the struggles they are facing. This move may have had huge financial and emotional set-backs. Most preachers I know will never share those struggles out loud. Your prayers will be the support they need.
8. Invite others to attend – One of the biggest compliments you can give a preacher is to invite your friends to hear him. This is a sign of appreciation that goes deeper than mere words. Besides, your friends need to know Jesus anyway.
Those are my initial thoughts. What would you add to my list?