I serve as an Associational Mission Strategist and I have realized just how much pastors need a kind, encouraging word on a regular basis. Pastoring is a calling and one that is not to be taken lightly but is also a call that can be very lonely at times. Pastors have to balance their home life, church life, and their personal life. One or more of these can get lost trying to be all things to all people all the time. Why then do pastors need encouragers? The Bible (ESV) tells us in Proverbs 25:11a that “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Pastors need to feel connected.
In a meeting with the pastors I serve I asked the question; “How many of your churches recognize you during Pastor Appreciation Month, your birthday or your anniversary?” I was shocked by the lack of response. Surely churches appreciate the work of their shepherd. The endless hours of sermon prep, phone calls, visits, pastoral care, counseling, and an endless list of other duties assigned or implied. My point being that pastors need encouragement.
Let me offer up a few ways in which to be an encourager. It will spur those under your care to be intentional “Encouragers.” I have found the following ways to helpful.
- Text – scripture can be an incredible encouragement. In addition to scripture, you could send a brief prayer or acknowledge how the message has impacted your life personally. Every Sunday I personally text every pastor a passage from the book of Psalms letting them know I’m praying for them.
- Phone Calls – Leave a message letting your pastor know what a blessing he is to you and your family. Tell him how grateful you are for his leadership. Let him know you are grateful for all he does. Let him know his messages challenge you to be a fully devoted follower of Christ.
- Hand-Written Notes – it may be old-fashioned, but it still works.
- Gift Cards – to his favorite coffee shop, favorite lunch spot, date night, a bookstore or Amazon.
- Special Days – remember Birthdays, Anniversaries, or any day for no other reason than you just want to be an encouragement. Be the someone who takes the lead and ask Sunday School classes, discipleship groups, couples or even individuals to take a month, a week or a day to commit to being an “Encourager.”
Prayerfully consider being a partner in the ministry of your pastor by becoming an “Encourager.” He’s not perfect, he won’t do things the same way the pastor before him did them, he’ll make mistakes, he’ll want to quit but I can assure you no one is harder on a pastor than he is on himself. I have found this simple act of kindness to be just what a pastor needs. Be an Encourager because we all need a “word fitly spoken.”