I’m going to tell you some things about your pastor that he will probably never tell you, but probably wants you to know. It may be presumptuous of me to speak on behalf of your pastor, but I think you will both benefit from my third party perspective.
1. Your pastor needs your respect as much as your love.
Respect is a currency that is invisible, but not intangible. For example, pastors are not sure what to do with people who communicate love to our faces, only to disrespect us behind our backs. Some churches have created a culture of honor (1 Timothy 5), while others seem to have a predatory disposition toward pastors (1 & 2 Corinthians).
Pastors love to be loved, but need to be respected.
2. Your pastor works very hard.
Early in my ministry I dropped hint-bombs to members about all of the ministry I was doing. I was vainly trying to justify my ministry to my members and myself. It took a few years to settle into the reality that most church members cannot fully understand my job any more than I can theirs.
In a recent study by LifeWay Research, 84 percent of pastors said they’re on call 24 hours a day. 80 percent expect conflict in their church. 54 percent find the role of pastor frequently overwhelming
Some members assess performance in terms of office-hours, but do they really want the kind of pastor who camps out in the office all week? Neither do they want one who is unreachable. At the end of the day, your pastor needs to be given the benefit of the doubt about his whereabouts and work ethic.
3. Your pastor is trying to lead well at home and church.
Pastors sometimes aspire to be all things to all people. The problem is it doesn’t work. Ever. More than a third (35 percent) of pastors say the demands of ministry prevent them from spending time with their family.
We all have to prioritize our time and tasks, but if pastors are not putting their families first, they’re not qualified to even be in the ministry. Church members can help by encouraging their pastor(s) to spend time with their families.
53 percent are often concerned about their family’s financial security
48 percent often feel the demands of ministry are more than they can handle
21 percent say their church has unrealistic expectations of them
A pastor with a healthy family is in a good position to lead a healthy congregation.
4. Criticism hurts your pastor’s family.
Pastors are public figures, and thus the biggest targets for criticism in the church and community. What members may not know is how much this criticism affects the pastor’s family. Social media has given a voice to every moron in society, and every word can be a weapon which causes collateral damage in the pastor’s home.
When you hear someone criticize your pastor or staff member, stand up for him or her behind the scenes. Be a voice of encouragement to your pastor’s family when negativity strikes.
5. Your pastor needs positive feedback.
Pastors don’t always receive feedback when they are doing a good job, but they always get it when they mess up. Perhaps the applause of heaven should be enough for us in theory, but not in theology.
Point out something you like about your church to every person on your staff and enjoy the smile you will get in return.
Encourage your pastor “in season and out of season.” Every pastor needs a pastor in his life and ministry. Treat your pastor(s) like a friend or family member, because he is both. Provide a listening ear and safe place for your pastor to share his dreams, as well as his nightmares.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).
6. Your pastor cares about your attendance.
My married daughter worked very hard this year to prepare a Christmas feast in her home. What if our family decided to skip out and eat at IHOP instead? She’d have been hurt and discouraged.
Pastors spend about 10 hours on a sermon, and members can tangibly affirm them with their presence, countenance, and seating proximity. Pastors feed off of real-time feedback, so bless (and shock) them by showing up consistently and sitting close enough where they can see your smile or nod.
7. Your pastor loves you.
LifeWay Research released an encouraging new study which concluded most pastors love their ministries and are not likely to quit any time soon. Trust me on this, pastors don’t serve because their job is easy or lucrative. Their primary motivation for serving is a genuine love for Jesus and the individuals who make up the church – the beautiful, dysfunctional, irreplaceable bride of Christ.