I’m passionate about understanding how to love and support those who lead my church. But I have to admit, I’m not a heroine in this article. I’m still learning how to apply the Biblical principle of 1 Timothy 5:17-18.
“Elders who are leading well should be admired and valued. Double up on the honor shown them; care for them well—especially those constantly and consistently teaching the word and preaching. For the Scripture agrees, “Don’t muzzle the ox while it is treading out your grain,” and, “The worker deserves his wages.” ”
Paul knew that blessing the Pastor was remarkably important when he said these words to Timothy and now to us all.
A wise, incredibly humble Texan Pastor I interviewed yesterday said, “Some would think double honor sounds excessive, but the reality is no one fully understands the pressures on your Pastor at any given time as they carry with them the burdens of many in the congregation quietly and confidentially… This is not work that you can leave at the office, it weighs on you. I believe it is for this reason Paul calls us to double honor.”
1. Do the basics consistently.
The greatest way to bless your pastor is to be one of those faithful people who attends, serves and gives consistently. This gives such assurance to a Pastor and their staff.
One of the most well studied Pastors I know on church leadership said, “When people do the regular basics and never make a big deal about it, the other stuff you do for your Pastor is so much more meaningful. Some people try to bless their Pastor on their terms and they are loud about it. They don’t tithe… but hey Pastor-you can use our lakehouse with strings attached.”
Let’s bless our Pastor and his staff with the basics. Give gifts without strings. And don’t toot our horn about doing so.
2. Let go of the unrealistic expectations.
Almost every Pastor I talked to addressed the issue of inviting he and his family over for dinner. While it seems like something we’re doing for the Pastor, it usually isn’t the gift they need. More than spending time with my family, they need to spend time with theirs. Bless them with gift certificates. Or schedule to take them a meal and just drop it off- especially during those busy times of Easter and Christmas.
Of course, they will have friends who are close enough where a dinner with that family is completely comfortable and refreshing. But let the Pastor and his wife initiate this. Give them the freedom to have close friends and not feel guilty or exclusive in doing so. One Pastor’s wife said to me, “I think the thing that discourages me the most is people commenting on my friendships. Using the word clique to describe my friendships rather than just being happy I have a community is hurtful.”
Let’s bless our Pastor and his family with freedom. They need friends. And it’s okay if we’re not dinner buddies.
3. Love the Pastor’s wife.
One Pastor wrote and said, “Please give my wife face to face affirmation.” Another said, “When my wife hears negative things about the church or me-it crushes her.”
Another Pastor’s wife gave some interesting insight into how to greet her so she doesn’t feel like a heel for not remembering everyone personally. She said, “It’s hard when people say-Do you remember me? Instead just introduce yourself and remind me where we’ve met before.”
Let’s commit to our Pastor’s wife the gift of kind words. I know as a female leader, when someone commits to me that they will only say kind and affirming things about me, my ministry, and my family-it makes me feel so safe.
4. Don’t assume other people are encouraging your Pastor.
Send those notes of encouragement. Write the email where you tell him what a difference that sermon made in your life. Don’t assume they get plenty of positive feedback-because usually they aren’t.
Let’s commit to not just be someone who appreciates our Pastor in our hearts-but let’s let them know over and over.
5. Keep studying how to bless your Pastor.
Become aware of how your Pastor best needs to be blessed and step into that role. Make it a family mission to be one of those foundational families at church who stays out of the drama, seeks to give not take, and stays for the long haul honoring him all the way.
And don’t forget the other Pastoral staff who serve so faithfully as well.
What do you think? How can we best honor and encourage our Pastor and staff? The comments are open.