Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ten Ways to Bless Your Pastor

Here's a little something I wrote over a year ago; it's been languishing in my files. This seemed like a good time to share it.

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Christmas can be both a joy-filled and extra-stressful time for those in ministry. It can also be a great time of year to show your pastor special love and support. Through the years, here are a few ways dear church members have blessed us, both at Christmas and all year long.

1. Be his friend. Guys, your pastor needs buddies just like anyone else. Invite him to go golfing or hunting with you. Kid around with him.

2. Befriend his family. Ladies, take his wife out to lunch or shopping. Support his kids. Go to their ball games or recitals, and remember them on special days.

3. Give him grace. Remember, he’s human, too. He will make mistakes just like anyone else.

4. Show hospitality. Invite his family to your home for lunch after church, or take them out to eat. Sundays are a crazy day in most ministry homes. Your pastor’s family will appreciate not having to worry about lunch sometimes, and they will also appreciate the social interaction.

5. Encourage him verbally, as well as with cards and letters. Be sensitive to the Spirit’s prompting and deliver encouragement when you feel compelled to do so. You don’t know what all he has had to deal with through the week, and often a word fitly spoken will give him the boost he needs to keep going.

6. Give practical gifts. Fresh garden vegetables, fresh game if you hunt, home baked or canned goods are usually welcome treats. One year a deacon’s wife made each of us a fleece blanket. Several years later, we still use them daily. Cash or gift cards are nearly always a good choice.

7. Let his wife be his wife. Remember that her first priority is to be your pastor’s help and support at home. Don’t expect her to act as an unofficial associate.

8. Watch for special needs. If he has unexpected medical bills, his freezer or vacuum cleaner bites the dust, or his couch is in tatters, look for ways to help. Not everyone will be able to do this, but if you’re blessed financially, helping to meet these larger needs are some of the best ways you can bless your pastor. Even if you don’t have an extra abundance to share, keep his family in mind when you have hand-me-downs to give away or when you’re able to give your pastor a good deal on something you’re selling which he needs.

9. Be a peacemaker. If you disagree with him or are offended by something he says or does, talk to him personally rather than taking it to others or leaving the church without seeking to make amends. This will help everyone avoid huge amounts of hurt and division, and it will promote unity in the Body.

10. Include his family in yours. Many pastors’ families give up the opportunity to live close to their relatives in order to shepherd flocks far from home. Often they aren’t able to spend holidays with family, and they miss out on extra grandparent help when they needs a hand with home improvement projects or a babysitter so mom and dad can go on a date. Look for ways to be the family of God to your pastor; be there for him when he needs it most, even in the simple things. Include them in your holiday celebrations. Adopt your pastor’s family and be a stand-in grandparent, aunt, or uncle. Love them at Christmas and always!

3 comments:

Rebecca said...

These are excellent suggestions, and timely! Thanks!

Because I didn't grow up in the church -- well, I mean the church I grew up in didn't really have "pastors" -- I don't have a pattern of how to relate to pastors. But I also don't have so many pre-conceived ideas (could be a good thing). But I fear I lack the "respect and awe" that I see in others. I see our pastors more as kind of members of the body with a special role.

The one thing I learned early on as a new Christian, and it has stuck, is not to depend on the pastor for any support which reasonably could be provided by another member of the body.

Charity Grace said...

Great thoughts.

LUsry said...

Such a great list! My husband is a children's pastor so we are in ministry, too, but we could really remember these things for our pastor!