How to Love Your Pastor
Did you ever think about how you can express love to your pastor? Is it even necessary? I am a pastor and know many pastors. There are many reasons to step up and support your pastor in love and there are many ways you can do this.
7 Reasons to Express Love to Your Pastor
- Being a pastor is hard work. It takes much study and discipline. Experts tell us that mental work is harder than physical work. I believe them. Hours of study in my life are always frequently interrupted because I need a break.
- It is stressful. I spent 20 years in the Navy. I served in hostile fire zones and spent weeks and months at a time away from my family. Being a pastor is more stressful. Pastor’s deal with people’s problems like they are their own. We carry the weight of people’s failures and suffering with us all the time. And there is the added pressure of hearing from God and then clearly communicating to the people a message that has transformational power.
- Your pastor gets discouraged. Because the people he (or she) leads fail and fall away, he can easily feel that as a personal failure. When people are unresponsive and resistant, it hurts. It takes real fortitude to continue.
- A pastor will suppress his emotions. I can’t tell you how many times I would like to lash out at people. I don’t necessarily mean people in the church but people all around me. Any follower of Jesus faces these provocations and must keep himself in check but there is an unspoken expectation that a pastor is so exemplary that he never fails to live a life like Jesus (or even better than Jesus – if truth be told)! It’s tough to suppress all the time.
- There is incredible temptation. There is temptation that is magnified when you begin to serve as a pastor that is unknown to others who are not serving. The temptation in my life seemed to get ten times worse after I left the Navy for full time pastoral service. The Devil fights hard against those who are proclaiming the gospel and making disciples.
- Pastors frequently feel isolated. To most everyone around him, he is the pastor. People act differently around the pastor. There is a natural aloofness and formality in relationships that can’t seem to be overcome. Many pastors report having no close friends outside of family.
- He really needs to be loved! Everyone needs it but pastor’s frequently feel no love outside of family. He could really use some intentionally expressed love all the time!
10 Ways to Express Love to your Pastor (in no particular order)
- Encourage him. Find ways to express encouragement. Here are 20 suggestions!
- Join the work. Don’t just cheer him on. Ask what tasks are the most challenging for him or what he is least gifted to do and then ask if you can do those things! There are many pastoral expectations that can be taken care of by a lay person.
- Pray for him. I mean really pray for him. Go strongly to the throne of grace and plead for his health and strength, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
- Tell him you love him. In person, by letter or email or text, by phone. Make it an unconditional statement. Not: “I love you pastor, I was wondering if you could…”
- Be generous with him. It’s really tough to pastor and even harder when churches don’t pay you. I know of pastor’s who have gone without pay, had 10-20 thousand dollar annual pay cuts. That is an incredible blow. I always believe that if we are doing God’s will he will supply all our needs not just individually but as churches. Being generous with your pastor pays long term dividends.
- Apply what he teaches. I heard a pastor once say that he should preach the same sermon every week until people really put it into practice. He thought that he wouldn’t have to write many new sermons! When you hear a sermon or listen to a lesson that your pastor has worked hard on, take some notes, listen to how God wants you to apply it, then do it! And, for a bonus, tell him how it went!
- Ask him spiritual questions. I love to talk to people about their spiritual lives and scriptural truth. When we elevate our conversation to this level we frequently enter the spiritual level where the love of God invades our talk and our lives. This is a powerful blessing!
- Don’t criticize him. I really mean that. Very rarely is criticism warranted. More than 90% of the criticism I receive is personal in nature and has nothing to do with my teaching or ministry. If there seems to be a short-coming in his life, pray for him instead. Perhaps those shortcomings exist because of the seven reasons I listed above.
- Support his family. Encourage them, help them and find ways to lift them up. Accept them as they are and don’t impose expectations on them based on tradition – ‘the way we’ve always done it here.’ Make sure his wife and children experience unconditional love as well.
- Listen to him. Not just when he preaches and teaches. Listen to his life. Do you best to understand his likes and dislikes, his interests, fears and frustrations. This will help you encourage and pray for him!
A Final Word
So, what is the biblical mandate for this (or am I just being self-serving)? I would love for everyone to adopt this verse as the attitude that they will have towards their pastor: Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. (Hebrews 13:17 – NIV)
When your pastor experiences love from you, it changes his life and ministry. The joy of that experience will impact you as he works in such a positive environment.
Call to Action
Take one of these ten suggestions (or more) and do them right now for your pastor. It will surely brighten his day!