So, you are a devoted saint in your local church, and support your pastor. You give happily into the church of your time and finances, and don’t cause any trouble. But still, there are a few things your pastor wishes you knew that would make his job easier and more enjoyable. If only you knew what they were! And as a pastor myself, I’m about to reveal those valuable secrets to you! Interested yet?
Hebrews 13:17 instructs us to, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” The first thing you should know as a loving saint is that your pastor wants to take joy in serving you… but it’s your job to help him do it. Here are a few things that will help your pastor enjoy his servant status in the church.
1. Notify him when you aren’t going to show up.
Whether you are in a position of leadership or not, you should notify him when you will not be at church, at a church social, or other event. Unless, of course, you are afraid your excuse for not being there is too lame. (ahem, ahem.) Put his mind at ease by giving him a quick phone call well in advance of your absence or tardiness.
2. Don’t talk him down to other saints.
This includes questioning his judgment and/or decisions. If you have a concern about your pastor, you should talk about it to no one but him. Otherwise, you are unwittingly (or purposely?) destroying the work he is trying to do in the church. I have watched seasoned saints destroy new Christians by eroding their faith in, and respect for, their pastor. I have also, over the years, watched the pastor’s authority questioned, overridden, and undermined by people in the church that he has trusted, and given responsibility and authority to. God forbid that this injustice should happen within the church.
3. Don’t allow other saints to talk him down.
Stand up for your pastor if other saints in the church begin to “roast him for Sunday dinner”. When I was a saint in my pastor’s church, I would vehemently protect him from slander from other saints. I would interrupt this enemy of the man of God and clearly remind them that Psalm 105:15 says, “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.”
4. Ask for advice _before_ you make a decision, not _after_ you have messed things up.
I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve watched people go to their pastor and ask for advice on how to fix their problem, when they could have completely avoided it by talking to him before it happened. Your pastor is there to give you guidance and wisdom, and help you avoid troubles. Why not invite him into your decisions and let his Godly counsel help keep you from costly mistakes? This will both keep you from unnecessary grief, and make his life a lot easier.
5. Give him some space
If you are a needy person who demands attention from your leaders, do your pastor a favor and find other outlets to help fill this need. You are not the only person in the church that has problems, needs prayer, etc. It’s perfectly fine to contact your pastor on occasion, as he is there to serve you, but if you constantly nag him, interrupt his dinner time, family time, personal social time, prayer time, or study time, he will begin to regret helping you. He will no longer be serving you with joy, but rather with grief. Give him a little space.
6. Don’t just point out problems, but offer to help fix it
This goes with both interpersonal problems within the church, and broken things in the building. Chances are your pastor already knows of these problems, but has not had a chance to solve them yet… What he doesn’t need is another person to remind him without offering to lift a finger to help.
7. Say, “Thank You”
This is a very valuable gift you can give your pastor that will not cost you a dime. Out of the blue, just tell him how much you appreciate the sacrifice he has made for the church… the late night prayers; the times he has sacrificed his own family time for the saints; the money he gives out of his pocket to help someone through a difficult time; the trips to the hospital, funeral homes and open houses. I recall many times I’ve helped people out with money, food, rent, resolving family fights, and more, and not received so much as a simple, “Thank you.” It’s true that we, as pastors, serve the saints as though we are serving the Lord, but sometimes the ungratefulness of those we help can really hurt. So, send your pastor a card, give him a phone call or an email, pat him on the back at church. You don’t have to over-do it, or even do it often, but just sometimes, it’s nice to hear those two magical words.
8. Preach with him
Do you agree with what your pastor is preaching? Then let him know. Don’t just nod your head as you’re falling asleep during his sermon… do it to let him know he’s connecting with you. It’s OK to say, “Amen” out loud when you agree with a point he’s made. This will both encourage him, and others around you. Feel like standing up and giving an enthusiastic fist-pump, coupled with a hearty, “Preach it!”? By all means, please do! He really likes that!
9. Treat his family with love and respect
Your pastor’s family sacrifices every time he leaves home to spend time with you… every time he runs an errand on church business, or closes the door to his study to seek God’s direction for the church. They put up with a lot so that you have a good place to worship. They sacrifice. Please treat them well. Pastors worry that their family will suffer for the sake of the ministry, and it is a great encouragement to them when the church helps take care of the ones he loves.
10. Take ownership of the church
This could be a book in itself, but I will simply offer these points… 1)Bring people to it, 2)Attend every service you can, 3)Keep it clean, 4)Give of your finances to it, 5)Give of your time to it, 6)Respect it, 7)Bring people to it (did I already say that?). I honestly think each of these points deserves an article, or book, of its own, but I will leave it at this for now. All of the above mentioned tips are merely the natural result of a love and respect for the man of God… your pastor.
My Dad gave me some good advice about cars a long time ago that I think fits well here. He said, “Jay, if you’re good to your car, it will be good to you.” Nicely put, Dad.