I wrote the following e-mail yesterday and sent it to about 50 blogging pastors:
I’m writing to you and other blogging pastors because I have a question only
a pastor can answer. I’ve been growing increasingly aware of how difficult
the job of pastor can be. I know that pastors often receive a lot more criticism
than encouragement, and that can lead to all sorts of bad feelings. I think,
though, that most congregations truly love their pastors but don’t understand
how much encouragement is needed or how to practically provide that encouragement.
I also think that pastors are generally and understandably reluctant to ask
such encouragement or display any human weakness at all.
I personally love my
pastor, and I’m keenly aware of many things that beat him down in his ministry.
Most of those things are entirely out of my control
influence. I would like to provide encouragement to him myself and incite others
to do so as well. But I know enough to know that I have no idea exactly what
issues a pastor faces that members of the congregation could alleviate. I just
don’t know what to do or how to go about providing the most effective encouragement
My request to you is that you respond with a blog post (or a link to
a post if you’ve already written one) listing some practical ways a congregation
their pastor. If you’re reticent about revealing that sort of thing on your
own blog, I would be happy to post something you write on my blog and remove
name from it–sort of an "advice from an anonymous pastor" kind
of thing. I really want to know this, and I want the flock to stop being
of their shepherd’s humanity and needs.
If you decide to write a post about
this, please let me know so I can read it and link to it.
The Happy Husband
This is really weighing heavily on me right now. Being a Godly pastor must
be the most difficult job in the world. CEOs of corporations must weather attacks
from competitors, and leaders of countries must deal with other countries’
leaders as well as politicians within their own countries, but pastors have
to protect themselves, their families, and their churches from attacks by Satan
himself. The fact that so many pastors get little love and support from their
congregations goes a long way toward explaining why so many pastors resign
I’m going to set up a permanent page on this site with links to pastors’ blogs
where they offer advice on how to encourage your pastor. I have already received
a few responses as well as a few promises. Check out these links and see how
you can serve
Pedersen: "My Pastors’ Prayer Group met today on a 30 foot
sailboat.…I asked the guys a question to start off our conversation:
How can a congregation encourage their pastor? The guys on the boat responded
with these ideas…"
Bolsinger: "If you ask any of my executive staff, they will tell you of
how many people have come along side them, joined them in ministry and cared
for them personally. And it is my confidence in this community of people that
allows me to promise my staff that together we will all aim to have ‘a
great ministry and a great life.…‘
Van Der Hurst: "What has my church done to encourage me? I have shared
this with several pastor friends and have had a blogger ask for some ideas
to encourage his pastor. So, here is my experience/feeble attempt at talking
about a time OUT.…"
Williams: "Begin here, trust and respect, until we prove untrustworthy
Buzbee: "Churches can be like middle school. Or like playgrounds beset
by a handful of bullies. It only takes one or two kids on the playground to
stand up to the bullies and say ‘Stop! No more!’ God just may be
calling you to be one of those kids to stand up and speak out; but while it
is scary to defy a bully in your congregation (and even a best friend could
be one) if you don’t, then who will?…"
- Noel Heikkinen:
"For me, [this question] takes more the form of ‘Things I Wish
People Knew.’ I
think if these things were realized, more encouragement could happen organically. …"
I will share more responses as they come in, and I’ll keep adding them to
the permanent page once I build it. If you’re a pastor who doesn’t
blog or I didn’t include in my e-mail, please feel free to respond in
the comments or in an email to happy-at-atimelikethis-dot-net.
Update: I have created a permanent
page with a link in the
sidebar. I will post further responses on that page alphabetically rather than
continually updating this post.