Encourage Your Pastor
By Bryan Crotts
Do you remember the Timex watch advertisements from the 1980s? Perhaps mentioning the wristwatch taped to a sumo wrestler’s belly rings a bell? After a rough round in the ring, the referee removes the watch and shows the t.v. audience that it still works! Then, the unforgettable slogan: “Timex watches. It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”
I suppose this would be a good theme for pastors as well. After several rounds in the ring of church – unfinished ministry, board meetings, personal struggles, eternal slowness of committees, family hardships, a staff review that seemed to incorporate every unfair pot shot, back door critics, Monday morning quarterbacks, unfulfilled promises…pastors take a licking and keep on ticking.
At least you think they do. I’ve served the church for twenty years in ordained ministry. I grew up in a pastor’s home. My wife is a PK (preacher’s kid). I can tell you that the saying is true: “there’s no hurt like church hurt.” It’s painful, lasting, and often deep. But God is good! And Jesus says the way of the master is the way of the servant. “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” (2 Corinthians 1:5).
A couple of challenges for you church folks this pastor appreciation season:
First, stop criticizing your pastor. He has oversight from the elders of the church, that’s their job. Their relationship should be of such a nature that they have fellowship, friendship, and trust. If hard things are to be said, it should likely come from them. Your pastor is human, has shortcomings, and can’t possibly excel at everything. Church members should take concerns to the elders and let them work through the issues with him. Encourage others to do the same. Take a moment to read Jeremiah 20. This man of God was so beat up that he wished that he was never born. I know many pastors who feel this way.
Second, read 1 Timothy 4:6-16. Follow the duties of the “good servant of Jesus Christ” through the passage. Does your pastor labor in the Scriptures, toil in right doctrine (teaching), avoid unbiblical trends, strive for personal Godliness, conduct himself well, and work at his gifts? If so, tell him! Write. Call. Text. Perhaps a pastor appreciation campaign in the church would lift his spirits? All pastors need encouragement and few receive it.
Third, and in most churches it’s up to the congregation, make sure your pastor has good compensation and benefits. It is a very expensive time to live. A church with a pastor is a privilege and responsibility. In fact, the Apostle Paul says to the church: “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:18) Most pastors and their families quietly suffer as underpaid professionals. I’m not speaking of fancy things, only necessities for fulfilling their calling in your church, your town, your economy, and without worry for worldly cares. They need pay, pension, and health care too. And it’s not cheap. Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve showed them monetarily that you care for and appreciate them? Give a bonus. Ask the pastor and his wife what they need from the church. Most churches can afford to be generous, however, there are often too many other items cluttering up the budget. Taking care of the minister should be priority one.
Finally, pray for him (2 Thessalonians 3:1). Pray for his personal growth in grace. Ask the Lord to assist him in his ministry of the Word with heavenly blessings and Holy Spirit power.
Encourage your pastor! In God’s blessing him with these things, your church will be blessed.