This is not self-serving. I promise you – it is not. Last week I wrote a blog post about Christmas cards over HERE. I was a little surprised when I looked at my blog information on Monday about how many hits that post had accumulated. Then upon further research, many of those hits had come from people searching the phrase, “what do I write in a Pastor’s Christmas card?” I guess people want to let their pastor know how much they care but have no idea how to do it. With that in mind, I am writing this post. Not so that people in my congregation will write me a lovely card, but so that all people in all congregations can give their pastor a nice card for Christmas.
So here are my thoughts on what I would like to hear as a pastor in my Christmas card.
- Tell the Truth. Be honest. Don’t exaggerate. Many people will write about how much they love their Church and their pastor and then only attend once a month. If you really loved me and my preaching, you would be here more often. Your Pastor knows the truth, and you do not have to lie and exaggerate your love for him and his ministry. Here is a line I like: “Every sermon I have heard is well done.” Or something like: “I can tell that you really do care about people.”
- Be Specific. It honors me that some people “enjoy all my sermons.” But I would rather hear someone tell me that they understand grace better since I speak about it regularly. Tell me which sermon or sermon topic you liked. Tell me what you have learned from me specifically. Tell me about the time I prayed with you. Tell me how much you appreciated that visit, and I said that one thing. You get the idea.
- Avoid Passive Aggressive Statements. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the things some people write. I have read things like, “I enjoyed that one time you visited with me, and I wish you would do it again.” I know that people are well-intentioned, but some cards are used as a backhanded way to tell me what they want. I once received a card with money inside as a gift, and the card then proceeded to tell me how I could use the money to purchase some nicer clothes to wear on Sunday. I appreciate the thought, but it also hurt me.
- Compliment My Wife. People often have nice things to say about me and are very complimentary. Well, my wife donates hundreds of hours to the Church each year just because I am the Pastor. It makes me feel like we are both loved when you mention her and her efforts in my ministry.
- Mention Your Prayers. Several times in the New Testament, Paul tells a Church or an individual that he is praying for them. Of those times, he often mentions specifically what he is praying for. He tells the Church that he is praying they will understand the fullness of Christ. He tells individuals that he is praying for their ministry. Obviously, do not lie (once again). But if you do regularly pray for your pastor, tell him. It is wonderfully empowering.
I know this is a short list and there are many more things that could be said. I beg you again not to think this is self-serving. You do not have to run out and get me a card and write all these things in them specifically. I hope that you will share this information with people in other Churches so that they can bless their Pastor’s life this Christmas. I also would say that many of these ideas apply to the elder or deacon you are sending a card. Any Church leader loves to hear about how they are appreciated for what they are doing for God. May your words be a blessing to those who serve in ministry.