Ministering to the ministers

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
for him.

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.

Curt Hendley
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
every day.

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
your pastor:

  • Steve
    : "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"
  • Tod
    : "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.
  • Mark
    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."
  • Craig
    : "Begin here, trust and respect, until we prove untrustworthy
    or unreliable."
  • Glenn
    : "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
with a link in the
sidebar. I will post further responses on that page alphabetically rather than
continually updating this post.

6 thoughts on “Ministering to the ministers

  1. Fantastic subject, Curt. I applaud you for really getting out there and looking for input on this. Coming from a church where years ago the Pastor took a lot of criticism but withstood it through the encouragement of those who shared his vision, I have seen firsthand how a congregation can rn down a leader, and how a congregation can lift that leader up.

    At Christian City Church-Long Island, we really love our pastor. I look forward to sharing the ideas of other pastors on how to encourage him so we can lift him even more.

  2. This is great- thanks, Curt. Until last year I was employed by a conference center owned by the United Methodist Church. My role brought many, many pastors from all over Texas into my life. All too many of them are consistently beaten down by the needs of their congregations and find themselves in the helpless position of trying to please everyone. We all know that this is impossible. After this realization, I began to send thank you cards to our pastor and members of the church staff on a regular basis. It was amazing how this small gesture touched them. Given how often we are touched by our church- it’s sad how few church members stop to appreciate the people who help fuel our spiritual fires.

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