Pastors. Whether they be young or old, male or female, boring or hilarious, one thing is for sure – they can make or break a church. When someone is considering going to a church, one of the first questions they ask is:
“What’s the Pastor like?”
There are as many different types of Pastors as there are ice cream flavors, but one thing is for certain – they need our help. Anyone who’s spent even a small amount of time will tell you that being in full time ministry is one of the loneliest professions on God’s green globe. No matter what you do, someone always thinks you could do better, or different, or more loud, or less loud…the list goes on and on.
Here are 9 ways for you to support your pastor.
Listen to their sermons.
This might seem obvious, but there’s few things more discouraging than to look out at a group of people you are preaching to only to see a mass of adults with the attention span of a 4 year old. When you listen or even go into the mythical realm of actually note taking – you are offering a sign of solidarity with the leader of your church. Your actions are saying that you believe what they have to say is valuable and worth your time. You just may encourage them in the process as well.
Give them feedback from their sermons.
If listening to a sermon encourages a pastor, can you imagine what hearing honest feedback does for them? If you didn’t understand how the truths being proclaimed connect with another seemingly opposing truth you’ve seen in Scripture, bring it up! If you liked how your pastor presented a point, then let them know. As long as you do it in an encouraging and helpful manner – feedback is great.
Remember that they are people too.
My grandparents had a ministry that basically went something like this: Get to know their pastor, and then be their friend. That’s it. They understood the drain and strain it was to constantly be “on”. Always being the leader, the guide, the one with all the answers is not only tiring, but it’s also unhealthy. Pastors need friends to laugh with, to cry with, and to help counsel them along their own spiritual journey.
How many volunteers does it take to run a church? No one knows, because no church has ever had enough. As ridiculous as that sounds, it’s not too far from the truth. Without people volunteering, a church will fold faster than you can say “Psalm 118”. Looking for volunteers to meet the many, many needs of a growing church takes up heaps of time for many a pastor. Save them some time and call them asking what projects could use a helping hand.
Say positive things.
As generic as that sounds, it’s very good advice. The old rule of “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”, could even go a step further and say, “if you think of something nice – then say it!” Most pastors hear at least one complaint every week about something. It might be about their sermon, the lights, the children’s curriculum, or even the color of the new carpet (no joke). A wonderful support for them is to simply tell them what you like about the church from time to time. Bonus points if you write it out in a card and leave in the office for them.
Invite people to church.
A church needs to grow. To do that, it needs to constantly be getting new people in the crowd. That not only energizes the body, but it also gives the church more options for ministry as a whole. But it also does something else – shows your pastor that you are listening. Even though every pastor and church has different points of emphasis – I am pretty darn sure it would please just about any pastor to see that you brought your work buddy, Jack, to the Christmas service. The Great Commission wasn’t only given to licensed ministers, after all – we’re accountable for it as well.
Lead a Bible study.
If you’re sensing a theme here, that’s for good reason. One of the biggest misconceptions about the role of a Pastor is that is their job to do all of the work, and our job to sit and watch. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. We all have much we can give, and many of us are qualified to lead a Bible Study in our home, or on an evening at our church. With the resources we have today, just about anyone can lead a Bible Study. You get bonus points for actually having a passion for the work as well.
Share your church posts on social media.
Times, they are a changin. Whereas before you could simply share information via word of mouth, now having a strong social media presence is quite important for a church to grow. If your church shares announcements or special events, or even your pastor’s sermons online, share those things to expose more people to your small community. It only requires a click from you, and reaps massive dividends for you pastor and church.
Allow them to rebuke you, it is their job after all.
Ah, the wounds of a friend. Although Scripture tells us that they are precious, it rarely feels that way. It is a wound, after all. Any good pastor will agonize over the need to confront one of their flock over behavior that is unbecoming or even dangerous to them. But, if they are wanting to fulfill their calling, they must do it anyway. If and when a pastor approaches you with love, kindness, and genuine concern for you, please listen. They are there to help you and to protect you from harm.
Being a leader of a local church is one of the hardest and most complicated jobs in the world. It requires extraordinary leadership, a deft hand at playing politics (every church has them), and a tender heart. No pastor can do it alone. They need help. Your help. This list is but 9 simple ways to help out a pastor, but it is by no means comprehensive. Far from it. The list could go on and on, because the list of a Pastor’s needs is long indeed. Anything you can do to let them know that they are not alone, and can rely on you is helpful indeed.