31 Ways to Appreciate Your Pastor~ Day 1
Welcome to 31 Ways to Appreciate Your Pastor!
Perhaps you are having the same response my husband did when I shared this idea with him. Isn’t this a little bit awkward? You are the pastor’s wife. Don’t you think this might come across as self-serving? And what about our congregation? Won’t they feel like you are expecting them to do more?
To answer these questions… Yes, it is an awkward topic for any pastor’s wife! We do not want to make others feel uncomfortable or feel like we expect anyone to do anything for us. And yes. I am concerned that this will come across as me being selfish. As I have felt God laying this subject on my heart and impressing it on me more and more, I have had to let go of perceptions and to trust His purpose in this.
And as far as our congregation goes? Well, this has actually been THE THING that has pushed me to write this series. For the past 3 years, my husband has been serving as the senior pastor at Orchard Community Church in Rochester, NY. We came to this place in need of healing. Our experience here has been one of overwhelming encouragement, love and support. In the time we have been here, I have been amazed by the way our church family has loved us well. Seeing my husband appreciated is by far the best gift that anyone can give to me. The only reason I am able to write this series is because the people at Orchard have gone above and beyond in appreciating my husband.
Personal experience and discussions with many other pastor’s wives has shown me that this is not often the case. A fellow pastor’s wife shared these statistics with our group recently.
Do these statistics surprise you?
Close friends of mine suggested that I broaden the topic to include all service careers, like teachers, doctors and social workers. I pondered this for awhile, but reading these statistics again solidified my decision to focus on pastors. I believe that God calls his people to different careers and that there is no calling that is higher than another in God’s economy. Living our lives to bring glory to Him is all that matters. By writing this series, I am not suggesting that pastors deserve more appreciation than anyone else. On the contrary, I hope and pray that we are all appreciating everyone in our lives.
I am suggesting that pastors (in general!) need to be appreciated more than they are. The very nature of their jobs involves challenging people in their sin. To do this well is very hard and I don’t know a single pastor who gets it right every time. People will often say that being a pastor’s family is like living in a fish bowl. There are certain expectations of a pastor and his family that are biblical and should be expected. But it doesn’t change the fact that the pastor is a sinner in desperate need of God’s grace. The pressure this fish bowl living can cause results in the statistics you see above. It is incredibly easy in ministry to shift focus from seeking God’s approval to seeking man’s approval.
My goal in sharing this series is to encourage all of us to build up our pastors and provide them with a safe place to pursue God and His glory. These posts might surprise you and be different than what you expect. I will be sharing some practical ways to appreciate your pastor, some quotes from pastor’s wives about ways they have felt appreciated and ways they wish their husbands were appreciated, links to great resources and ways to appreciate your pastor that go beyond gifts and cards.
Two things that you should know:
1. The tradition I have been raised in is one in which the senior pastor is a male. This series is not meant to be a discussion on whether or not a woman can/should fill this role. I hope that if your tradition includes female pastors, you will be blessed by this series! But for the purpose of simplification, this series will be shared in the tradition of male pastors and their families.
2. This entire series is based on verses from 1 Thessalonians 5:12,13.
Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.
Scripture tells us that those who work among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you should be held in the highest regard. You may be in a situation right now where your pastor is not caring for you and is in fact hurting you. It would be naive of me to write this series assuming that every pastor IS above reproach and is faithfully carrying out their duties. I know this is not true. There is a great deal of abuse among church leaders. I hope to address those things throughout the series, so stick with me. But even if you are not “happy” with your pastor right now, I hope that you will see that if God has put a pastor in the position he is in, we are expected to love, no matter what.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month in the States. For the entire month, I will be sharing ways to appreciate your pastor. I hope you will join me on this journey!
Way 1: The first way to appreciate your pastor is to recognize that not only is it important, it is a command in scripture.
Way 2: The best way to appreciate your pastor is to love God most.
Way 3: Praying for your pastor is a way of telling him that you appreciate him.
Way 4: Ask your pastor “What’s your favorite?”
Way 5: Appreciate your pastor by making much of God.
Way 6: Listen to your pastor and talk about his sermon.
Way 7: Celebrate your Pastor’s strengths.
Way 8: Help your pastor in his weaknesses.
Way 9: One of the best ways to appreciate your pastor and his family is to get to know them.
Way 10: Appreciate your pastor by being involved in Bible study.
Way 11: Treat your pastor like family.
Way 12: Appreciate your pastor by showing grace, especially on Sundays!
Way 13: Love Your Pastor’s Kids
Way 14: Encourage your pastor to guard his time.
Way 15: Appreciate your pastor by not making assumptions.
Way 16: Write letters to your pastor.
Way 17: Love Your Pastor’s Wife
Way 18: Your pastor will feel appreciated when you pursue friendship with him.
Way 19: Celebrate your pastor with cake!
Way 20: Use your gifts for God’s glory.
Way 21: Appreciate your pastor by celebrating anniversaries.
Way 22: Encourage your pastor to attend meaningful conferences.
Way 23: Lovingly hold your pastor accountable.
Way 24: Rejoice and mourn with your pastor.
Way 25: Find creative ways to appreciate your pastor.
Way 26: Ask your pastor and his family out or over for lunch on Sunday.
Way 27: Your pastor will feel appreciated when he is celebrated rather than compared to others.
Way 28: Surprise your pastor with extra vacation days.
Way 29: Plan Pastoral Sabbaticals
Way 30: Appreciate your pastor by listening to his kids.
Way 31: Pastors will know they are appreciated when their focus is on “but with God”.