I love church. I really do. I love the Church with a capital “C”—the church universal that Jesus died for, filled with every tribe and nation and people and tongue. And I love our particular church that meets in a gym every Sunday and has so many new babies in the congregation that our nursery is overrun. I’ve written about it before, but I care about the church, and I believe that every person who follows Jesus is called to love and serve a local church body.
With my favorite pastor and our baby girl
One of the many things I have realized, since becoming a pastor’s wife, is that most pastors live in the simultaneous reality of 1.) loving what they do and 2.) being tired. Sometimes, they are just kind of tired. But other times, they are very, very tired. Getting to pastor the people of God is an incredible gift, but it is also a job that doesn’t have very clear start and end times. Ministering is messy; people don’t have important questions and life crises only between the hours of 8 am and 6 pm. Work and ministry and life bleed into one another. And yes, sometimes pastors need better boundaries. But sometimes life and ministry are one and the same thing—and that’s ok. But it can also be tiring.
I don’t know who your pastor is (unless you go to my church, and then I do! ::hi!::), and I don’t know what kind of season your pastor is in. But I can guarantee that every pastor appreciates encouragement. Your pastor probably loves pastoring, but is probably kind of tired on some level, too—as most of us are. Here are some simple ways to encourage the pastors in your life:
1. Say thank you. Say thank you on Sunday. Send a quick note of thanks to their office. Write an email thanking him or her for a something specific. This will go so, so much farther than you think.
2. Drop coffee–or food–off at the office. Find out when the weekly staff meeting is and drop by with donuts or coffee. You just made the staff’s entire week. They will know they are loved and thought of other than just on Sundays.
3. Invite the pastor’s family over for dinner. They may not be able to come, but either way they will feel loved. And, if they can come, great! Get to know each other a bit better.
4. Speak well of them behind their backs. There’s a lot of pastor-bashing out there, and every pastor knows it. Having someone who will say something nice about you to others–that’s a true gift.
5. Give your pastor a break. Was the sermon *not the best* this week? Did he seem a little grumpy after service? Extend grace. You never know what was going on behind the scenes. We all have rough days–or weeks–at work. It’s just that, as a pastor, lots of people expect you to be really good at what you do all the time. It’s not possible. Acknowledging that your pastor is a broken human gives him the space he needs to extend grace to himself, too.