Ministering to pastors

"Obey your leaders and submit to them,
for they are keeping
watch over your souls,
as those who will have to give an account.

Let them
do this with joy and not with groaning,
for that would be of no advantage to
Hebrews 13:17

On June 13, 2005, I wrote the following e-mail 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

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 collecting all the responses I get on this page. Please check out these
links and see how you can serve
your pastor:

  • Peter
    : "To me, the greatest encouragement in ministry takes
    place when people connect with what I am preaching or teaching. Seeing
    a group of people who are interested, alert, attentive—these things
    are what encourage a pastor the most.…That being said, here are a few
    tangible and non-tangible ways to encourage."
  • 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.
  • 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?"
  • Jason
    : "I do not want to come across as moaning about how
    neglected the pastor is. But I do understand that pastors need encouragement,
    too. And the more a pastor is encouraged, given that he is laboring for
    the glory of God and not self, the better he will carry out his duties."
  • Byron
    : "1) Be a friend to your pastor. 2) Ask me how I’m
    doing sometime. 3) 3. Once in awhile, tell me how something I’ve
    done has made a difference."
  • 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. "
  • Bowden
    : "For me, the no-agenda, our-treat, we-just-want-to-hang-out-doing-what-you-like
    dinner and a ball game was the best. I think too many pastors simply don’t
    have friends."
    part 2
    : "I said, "Be a friend". Now, Curt wants
    to know: how?"

    part 3
    : "Forget it’s the pastor, is this someone you would invite
    for coffee? Or, to play golf? Or, to just ‘hang out’? If yes, then pursue that
    friendship like any other."
  • Pat
    : "If you want to connect with your pastor, the overarching
    idea is don’t put demands on him. Instead, help him accomplish his mission.
    In that way, you will be part of his ministry instead of the object of
    his ministry."
  • 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"
  • Pastor
    : "Your pastor loves you. He cares about you. He
    prays for you. He works hard for you. Reciprocate those things and you
    will find that even as he ministers to you, that you are ministering
    to him."
  • 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."
  • David
    Wayne (aka Jollyblogger)
    : "1. Take your own spiritual growth seriously.
    2. Give your best to the church, not your leftovers. 3. Remind him that you
    are for him."
  • Craig
    : "Begin here, trust and respect, until we prove untrustworthy
    or unreliable."

I will share more responses as they come in. If you’re
a pastor who doesn’t blog or I didn’t include in my e-mail, please feel
free to send me
an email at happy-at-atimelikethis-dot-net so that I can include your
response here as well.