An Encouragement to Encourage Your Pastors
I’m not a pastor, but I know enough pastors to know that they have it rough. They fill their time with counseling sessions, elders’ meetings, and sermon prep. Then they then get to hear the occasional jokester say, “Don’t you just work one day a week?”
As one who “aspires to the office of [elder]” (1 Tim. 3:1), I have a special place in my heart for pastors. In particular, I’m thankful for mine: Randy, Justin, Paul, and Paul. My aim here is to encourage these four men and, in the process, to offer some general counsel on how you can encourage your pastors.
1. Take their sermons to heart.
Though preaching isn’t the whole job, it’s usually what excites pastors the most. I’m sure that’s not universal, but it’s more common than not. This isn’t surprising. Why wouldn’t they enjoy something they spend so much time doing?
In light of this, what’s the best thing you can do? Take your pastor’s sermons to heart. Be attentive. Listen to what they say. We’re blessed to sit under faithful teaching and preaching. Week in and week out, we know our pastors will preach a faithful message from the Bible. This doesn’t mean their sermons are perfect, but it means they’re always meaning to please God in their sermons.They preach “Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2) with no apologies!
2. Don’t despise their correction.
Though I’ve never been put under church discipline by my church, I most certainly have been rebuked by my pastors—and rightfully so. Why? Because I am sinner and sometimes I say or do things that are unwise. As a result, I was lovingly put in my place. It wasn’t a great feeling, and I didn’t always respond well at first. But it was necessary for my growth not only as a Christian but as one who aspires to pastoral ministry.
I’m thankful to sit under pastors who are willing to have these tough conversations with both humility and affection.
3. Check in on them—see how they’re doing.
Your pastors are human. They sin just like you do. They have struggles, pains, and shortcomings. Pastors aren’t super-Christians, but have simply been called by God to be under-shepherds. So we should check on them—often.
Pastors are not excluded from temptation. They’re still susceptible to discouragement and depression. We need pastors. But you know what? Pastors need their congregants.
I’ve heard it said a million times: pastors’ most difficult days are Mondays. They preach and sometimes feel like garbage. That’s a perfect time to call them or send them a simple text message. Find creative ways to affirm how much you value them. Don’t do any of this just to appease or flatter them. The goal is their encouragement and edification, not yours.
Your pastors—hopefully a plurality of them!—take great care in watching over your soul, as the author of Hebrews says (13:17). It’s a job, sure. But more than that, it’s a divine calling. Not just anybody can be a pastor. Not just anybody can be an under-shepherd. Not just anybody has the God-given capacity to preach and teach, counsel and shepherd, model and lead.
Friends, if you’re in a healthy church—and I hope you are—every now and then take time to text, call, or meet up with your pastor. You’ll never truly understand how much it means for them to hear your encouragement.