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Thursday, May 3

What Your Pastor Wants You To Know

Originally, I planned on titling this message, “5 Ways to Bless Your Pastor.” But as I started interviewing Pastors and their wives about this article, I realized blessing our pastor isn’t just about doing something for him. Sometimes the biggest blessing can come from what we don’t do.

So, I retitled this blog hoping to truly give insight into what our Pastors want us to know but can’t really announce from the pulpit.

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.”

So, how do we apply this? Here are some insights shared with me from Pastors and their wives all over the country:

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.

It’s Biblical. It’s good. And while I’ve got a long way to go, I’m committed to honoring my Pastors with much more intentionality. What about you?

Tell us how you plan to bless your Pastor this week. Pass a link to this article on to others in your church so the love can spread. Also, if you want more practical ideas, hundreds were posted on my facebook page yesterday. You can read those by clicking here.

Discussion

  1. 69
    Juli Danner says:

    Thanks Lysa for such taking the time to interview pastors and their and their wives all over and sharing what you learned with us.

  2. 70

    As a another pastor’s wife, i just want to shout, YES! YES! YES!
    I don’t think people know how much affirmation means to a pastor ( and yes, his wife) because most of what we hear is negative, negative, negative.

    And the one I identify the most with is the ugly things said about my husband or the work we are doing at our church. It is heart breaking!

    I REALLY needed to hear this today. Thank you!!!

  3. 71
    Liz Burgdorf says:

    We are planting a Harvest Bible CHapel in Greenville SC. YOu came ot our women’s gathering here at the BI LO center. Loved your testimony and info. Thanks for reminding me the specific things i could do to encourage our pastor and his family. .You rock!

  4. 72
    Wendy M. Glover says:

    Think of ways to bless and encourage your pastor rather than going to church once a week expecting him to bless and encourage you.

  5. 73

    As a pastor, Thank you for this. I hope every church member in the world reads it. My secretary forwarded it to my wife with a note of much needed encouragement!

    One point of slight disagreement, I am always open to a good meal with a church family–if time permits. Just don’t be hurt if we already have plans we cannot change, and PLEASE let us immediately schedule a rain check!

  6. 74

    Love, love this post. Since we joined our church thirteen years ago with only a congregation of 50 (we now have around a 1,000), my husband and I were able to become friends with our pastor and his wife over the years. Everything you’ve written is very true. One comment I’ve heard before is how difficult Mondays can be. He’s researched his message all week, then delivered it twice, but come Monday morning, the questions begin. Did the congregation understood/enjoyed the message? Will they return? Did he offend anyone? Etc. These aren’t his exact quotes, but you get the point. He puts his heart out there each week and it can be a lonely place come Monday morning if no one has encouraged you for your efforts. Even just a simple note jotted telling our pastors how God spoke to us through his words is helpful.

    Thank you for interviewing and sharing this information. It’s helpful to know how to continue to encourage him and his wife.

    Dabney
    dabneyland.com

    PS I recently read something in your Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl and posted a three paragraph excerpt on my site since the subject matter helped me greatly. I was unsure how to contact you to see if this was allowable for copyright purposes. If not, I can delete this information. Hopefully, someone will check out your book and be as blessed as I have by reading it. Thanks so much for being you and allowing God to use you for His glory.

  7. 75

    Thank you for this excellent post. My husband was a small-church single-staff pastor for 18 years. I was married to him for 15 of those, and those were some great years, and also some hard years. This message is so very needed in small churches, where the pastor has monumental expectations placed on himself and his wife and children. I was always grateful for the church members who expressed their appreciation to him for his hard work. As for the ones who chose gossip and backbiting and leaving the church instead of facing the issues head-on, they nearly crushed my spirit of service to God more than once.

  8. 76

    Thank you for bringing this super important issue to the forefront. I feel empowered to get out there and make a difference in my own Pastor’s ministry – and totally in an honoring way.

  9. 77

    Love the article! We have a wonderful pastor! We adore him and his wife. As a minister I love working under his leadership. Although as a minister in many different churches I see women who work so hard on staff (some paid and some volunteer) who have a Martha spirit. I have just began a study on this as I see it a problem for many pastors. Is there any words of wisdom for these women who are becoming bitter?

  10. 78
    Marion Gray says:

    If we would start with our pastors and leadership Gods church would be so much stronger and we would reap what we sowed. Thanks for posting that bro I needed the reminder. Marion

  11. 79
    Melissa says:

    Thank you for writing this, I am a pastors wife and very few people can share our hearts just as you did. Again, thank you!

  12. 80
    Cassie says:

    Thank you Lysa, for taking the time to share this! I have been a pastor’s wife for 5 years (married for 9) now and have been blessed with a wonderful church that loves and supports us. Some of them give us movie and dinner gift cards for Christmas each year! What a blessing! Still you hit the nail on the head with all of these! Especially the burden my husband carries, he is never done working. Sometimes I feel like I don’t get to fully see the man I married until we go out of town and the pressure is off. When we went to seminary, I had to accept that this is a life style not a career! I love what he does and who he is and I wouldn’t change a thing! Your blog was very insightful and thoughtful, Thank you!

  13. 81
    George Davis says:

    Thanks for this (it was shared with my by a member of my church) – it moved me to tears. I am a pastor and have done much of my pastoring in a rural setting where friends are hard to come by. I am so conscious of the pressures & trials my wife faces in her role as ‘the pastor’s wife’ – your posting encouraged me. Blessings to you.

  14. 82

    So I mentioned this to my husband who is a pastor- and he actually said it from the pulpit this past Sunday- said a lot from the pulpit this week-end quite boldly- we are still there- PTL- haven’t heard negativity as yet. Anyways, the thing he discussed being committed to God- really committed. We live in a rural area and many people put a whole lot of emphasis on sports- it is there Idol- there God here- it is unbelievable and it has taken precedence over the church and serving God. He said he would like to see the youth and their parents stand up and say they were going to church- because they have a savior who died for them and choose not to go to games or week-end tournaments when Sunday or Wednesday night was involved. Or if there was a prayer meeting on a Monday or Tuesday or Thursday that was a for a Nation- national day of prayer- or soul harvest day or prayer at Easter or special times of the year that he would like to see people stand up and be a part of these things over sports. He said the thing that made him so sad most of all was that when people aren’t serving God they are missing out on the blessing God has in serving others and harvesting souls for Christ.

    For me as a pastor’s wife, I just want to know I am loved and appreciated. I just want to be myself and accepted for who I am in Christ. I am not a pianist but I am a prayer intercessor and warrior for Christ and for any one who needs prayer I am standing in the gap. I feel very alone most all of the time and like I cannot trust really any women at church. I hunger for relationships- geniune- real relationships/ great true friendships with soul sisters. For me I am not in a clique- there is no pastor’s wives cliques. My mom and my friends from the past are who I must call on in crisis. This is good but it would be nice to have cultivated some strong trusted friendships. Yall have a blessed one- I love being able to voice my heart on here. Thank you Lysa, I hope you are feeling better- been intercessing for you. Look forward to meeting you at She Speaks!!

  15. 83

    Your email touched me today as i am going through a rough time in my marriage right now. Please pray for us.

  16. 84

    As minister I am always failing at meeting people’s expectations. There are only so many hours in a day, and days in a week. Encouragement would be great, but even better would be if the people of the congregation prayed for me….

    Other things I would like as a single in ministry would be if people would invite me to go with them for Sunday lunch. I know there are groups of people that go, I sometimes see them as I sit alone in the restaurant, just ask me to join you, I’ll pay my own way.

    Thanks for helping people to think about this.

  17. 85
    Amber Rodriguez says:

    Motive–When the one you’re interested in makes decisions, are they thoroughly thought through all the way to the certain future effects or are they spontaneous, instant gratification choices??

    I WANT this book!! :)

  18. 86

    I know this is a little late, but hopefully someone will see my question and offer some input… So I mentioned to my husband about Pastor Appreciation, and asked what it looked like with his family when he was growing up. He says that his parents never did anything like that, then went on to say that he figures since our Pastor gets paid a 6 digit salary that is appreciation enough. I don’t know that I agree with him? I don’t want to start an argument with him over this but I feel like we should still offer our Pastor a special appreciation gift. Any thoughts??

  19. 87

    Great to-the-point article in the opinion of this pastor’s wife :)

    27 years in the ministry and if I had to pick ONE point in your article that could be underlined and boldfaced, it would be …

    4. Don’t assume other people are encouraging your Pastor.

    That’s a very sweet way of saying most pastors hear far more negative or nothing-at-all than positive comments. In the workplace, it’s often said it takes 3 positive comments to offset a negative – - – I would agree. I think churches assume Pastor’s are encouraged by many and are very fulfilled, but it’s common to hear pastor’s encourage one another to stay faithful in service despite the “silence of the lambs”. Pastors begin to question their effectiveness and their call when people are quiet – they are faithful to God, but the congregation is much like beloved to children to a parent who longs for healthy lovingkindness and relationships in the family. While some may really not like their pastor or his message and are biting their tongue, others are silent just because they’re not thinking about it, just not conscious of their ministry back to the pastor. Pastors are strong for the most part, faithful in their call from the Lord and service to the congregation and communities … but they are human and blossom with encouragement, too :)

  20. 88
    Heather says:

    I’m the pastor of a small rural congregation, and I mean small–20 would be a crowd. I think they’re disheartened by the numbers, but perhaps if there was more love and encouragment shown to the community, things could become different. I hear lots of criticism but my husband is adored. I’m glad that they like him but I’d like to receive a tad of appreciation on a regular basis. And ask us in for a meal–when I’m out visiting all day, there’s nothing I’d like better. And my husband who’s home preparing dinner would like it too.