Today, I have a question for you….
Have you ever thought about what Pastors, Ministers, Missionaries, Evangelists, and Teachers must feel on a regular basis… to pour out everything they have into every sermon, every service, to spend hours praying, reading and studying scripture, formulating the words to get the message into hearts in a way that is loving and hopefully receivable while preaching truth, trying to encourage and strengthen each person sitting in the congregation and helping them grow spiritually… all while trying not to cry, trying not to allow discouragement to weigh them down so much that they quit, choosing to use up their strength and fight their fleshly desire of wanting to yell, scream, shake, slap, or curse us with our blank stares, our crossed arms, our yawns, our rolling eyes, our zoning out moments, our “side conversations”, our getting up and down and causes of disruption, our looks of disapproval, having to hear our complaints or our suggestions on how something should be done or said, the constant judgment they receive, having to hear others opinions about everything, hearing unsolicited advice, being criticized, seeing someone they love choose to leave the church, hearing about how someone is offended about something, being asked to pray for someone for the third time about the same thing the person has continued to deal with for months, having a sermon prepared that they are excited to share only to see half the congregation missing, etc., etc., etc.?
Our Pastors, our spiritual leaders, they pour their hearts and souls out every single service, every single time, week after week, month after month, and they do it because they love each and every one of us and they want to invest in us.
They deal with more than we think they do. For crying out loud, they have to deal with us!
Can you imagine, just for a moment, how discouraged they must feel from time to time (if not every service)? Can you imagine how exhausted they must feel after giving everything they have in a service, plus using up all of their strength in maintaining composure and love toward us? I’m telling you they are saints. SAINTS.
They aren’t “just” our Pastors or our spiritual leaders, they are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and they are human too. It’s not enough that we take one Sunday a year or one month out of the year and tell them we appreciate them. I mean, for real, how would you like it if you only received a word of encouragement or a sign of appreciation one day out of 365 days, or one month out of twelve?
We need to pray for our Pastors, Ministers, those in ministry and in leadership EVERY SINGLE DAY.
We need to encourage them WEEKLY.
We need to tell them at least MONTHLY that we appreciate them, and we need to share with them something specific that we appreciate about them.
We need to put the word into practice and start living it out. They preach it to us, let’s apply it, and then actually tell them how we did and how fantastic the result was.
We need to share with them our praise reports.
We need to tell them how they have blessed us or encouraged us or how God used them to give us a word at just the right time.
We need to help them by getting involved in the Helps Ministry. Every church has, or at least should have, a Helps Ministry… There are opportunities to serve every service. You can serve on the Worship Team, as a Greeter, in Housekeeping, in the Children’s Ministry. Pray, ask God where He wants you to serve. Ask yourself if you have a passion for any of the departments. Choose one. Serve. Even if it’s only once a month, serve.
We need to watch our mouths and what comes out of them. Let’s speak life over our Pastors, over our churches. Let’s be careful not to voice our opinions or suggestions in a critical manner or attempt to provide correction or express disdain when others are around (or even at all).
We need to guard our hearts against offense and open our eyes to the ploys and schemes of Satan and not allow him to have any wiggle room in our lives or in our churches.
We need to link our faith with the Pastor’s, especially when it comes to his or her vision for the church or the ministry.
We need to support their choices and follow their leadership.
We need to make it a priority to show up at church (not just to encourage them, or to learn, but to show God we love Him). Those who show up are the ones who grow up. We can’t grow spiritually if we don’t give time to God, and if He has placed you at a church and/or blessed you with a church that you call home, then show God thanks by actually attending the church every chance you are able to.
We need to engage ourselves with the word of God. If the Pastor is preaching, listen, maintain eye contact, smile, laugh, say “Amen”. Don’t sit there like a bump on a log, or like you’d rather be anywhere but there. Don’t make your Pastor have to resist the urge to smack you!
These are ALL ways that we can encourage our Pastors and Ministers. Encouragement is needed, every day. Let’s do our part to be encouraging rather than discouraging. Every moment we have a choice… every service, we have a choice. Choose wisely. Choose to honor God and to bless God by honoring and blessing your Pastor(s) and Ministers and Teachers and Leaders. Choose to be encouraging and edifying. Choose to do ALL of the “we need” ideas. And, start them TODAY!
And, if you’re a Pastor and reading this, I want to say “thank you” for all that you do every day for the ministry. You ARE a blessing, and you ARE appreciated. Whether you are a Pastor, an Evangelist, a Missionary, or work in Children’s Ministry, do Worship, or you lead in any way, THANK YOU.