20 Ways to Encourage Your Pastor
When was the last time you let your pastor know how much your appreciate him?
God did not intend for marriage to be painfully endured. He intended it to be wonderfully enjoyed. It was not His plan that it would be a burden. He wants it to be a blessing. In order for us to experience maximum marriage satisfaction, it is essential that we grow to know each other.
Men and women are different in many ways. One area in particular is in the area of needs. Women have needs that are significantly different than those of men. How has God put a woman together? What does she need from a man?
In marriage, a man shows love to his wife by learning to meet seven basic needs that are the essence of who his wife is.
1) She needs a spiritual leader. A woman longs to follow a man of courage, conviction, commitment, compassion, and character. She wants a man who can be both steel and velvet. He can be a man’s man, and at the same time he can be gentle, tender, and approachable. Such a man will be a spiritual leader in the home. He will take the initiative in cultivating a spiritual environment for the family. He will be a capable and competent student of the Word of God, and he will live out a life founded on the Word of God. He’ll encourage and enable his wife to become a woman of God, to become more like Jesus, and he will take the lead in training their children in the things of the Lord.
2) She needs personal affirmation and appreciation. A man who loves a woman will praise her for personal attributes and qualities. He will extol her virtues as a wife, mother, and homemaker. He will also openly commend her in the presence of others as a marvelous mate, friend, lover, and companion. She will feel that to him, no one is more important in this world.
I remember telling men in a conference that one of the ways they show their wife appreciation is by picking up the phone and calling her during the day to see how she is doing. He is not to call to ask what came in the mail or what’s for supper! The following night a sweet young lady came up to me to tell me that her husband had obviously listened to what I had said the night before. She informed me that they had been married for a number of years and that her husband had never called her during the workday until that day. On this day he called her five times!
At first I was proud of the impression I had made on the man, but then a frightening thought entered my mind. I asked the lady, “Well, what did he say in each of those conversations?” She informed me that he said not much at all and that each conversation lasted no more than a minute. I began to apologize to her for the fact that things had not worked out so well. She quickly interrupted me, “Oh no, Dr. Akin, it was wonderful. Just the fact that he thought to call means everything. We can work on the words later! However, if he doesn’t call, we have nothing to work on.”
3) She needs personal affection and romance. Romance for a man means sex. He cannot imagine romance without having sex. Romance for a woman can mean lots of things, and sex may or may not be a part of it.
Romance is basically a game. It is a specific game. It is a game of “hide-and-go-seek.” She hides it and you seek it. If you find it, you will indeed agree that it’s good! On the other hand, if you don’t find it, you have one of two options. First, you can get nasty, mean, and bent out of shape and just be a miserable old grouch for the rest of your life. I have met a number of men just like that. Or second, you can remind yourself, it’s a game. Sometimes I win, and sometimes I lose. But that’s the fun of playing the game.
But there’s a second part to this game, and this is not fair. However, we dealt long ago with the fact that some things aren’t fair; it’s just the way they are. Guys, you must understand. What is romantic to your wife, say, on Monday, may not necessarily be romantic on Tuesday. Indeed, women are adept at moving the romance on a regular basis, sometimes even hiding it in places where they can’t even find it. When you go searching for romance in the place where it used to be, but now you discover that it is no longer there, don’t be surprised if looking over your shoulder is the woman that God gave you, and with her eyes she says something like this, “Yes, my darling. I moved the romance. It’s somewhere else now. And I’m going to wait to see if you love me enough to look for it all over again.”
Now again, guys, you can get angry, mean, and bent out of shape, or you can remember, it’s a game. And games can be fun. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. But it’s all a great game. Men, if you will approach romance in this way, not only will you find it fun, but you will also get better at it along the way.
4) She needs intimate conversation. A woman needs a husband who will talk with her at the feeling level (heart to heart). She needs a man who will listen to her thoughts about the events of her day with sensitivity, interest, and concern. Daily conversation with her conveys her husband’s desire to understand her. Wise men learn soon after marriage that women are masters of code language. They say what they mean and expect you to know what they mean, and the particular words really don’t matter. Unfortunately some men are simply ill prepared and a little dense at this point, and it often gets them into serious trouble.
5) She needs honesty and openness. A woman needs a man who will look into her eyes and, in love, tell her what he is really thinking. He will explain his plans and actions clearly and completely to her because he regards himself as responsible for her. He wants her to trust him and feel secure. He wants her to know how precious she is to him. Growing openness and honesty will always mark a marriage when a man loves a woman.
6) She needs stability and security. A man who loves a woman will firmly shoulder the responsibilities to house, feed, and clothe the family. He will provide and he will protect. He will never forget that he is the security hub of the family for both his wife and his children. She will be aware of his dependability, and as our text indicates, so will others. There will be no doubt as to where his devotion and commitments lie. They are with his wife and his children.
7) She needs family commitment. A woman longs to know that her man puts the family first. Such a man will commit his time and energy to the spiritual, moral, and intellectual development of the entire family, especially the children. For example, he will play with them, he will read the Bible to them, he will engage in sports with them, and he will take them on exciting and fun-filled outings. Such a man will not play the fool’s game of working long hours, trying to get ahead, while his spouse and children languish in neglect. No, a woman needs a man who is committed to the family. She needs a man who puts his wife and children right behind his commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.
When a man loves a woman, he makes it a life goal to meet seven basic needs of his wife. When a husband is committed in this way, and when a wife has the same commitment, it is not surprising that both husband and wife have a smile on their faces and joy in their hearts. This is the way God intended it from the beginning. As persons committed to God’s plan for marriage, we should settle for and expect nothing less.
Peter Drucker, a leading authority on management, once made a profound observation on what he believed were the four most difficult jobs in America today: The President of the United States, a university president, a hospital administrator, and a pastor of a local church.
Does this surprise you? Many people might respond, "You've got to be kidding!" A few people may even think a pastor's job is one of the easiest.
Maybe something else will surprise you—pastors may soon be an endangered species! Every year thousands of pastors are leaving the church and terminating their ministries. Exhausted and emotionally threadbare, many are leaving either because they are discouraged or because they have fallen into a baited trap of the enemy. It is a fact that there are fewer churches today than in 1900 . . . and even fewer men to lead them.
Why is this so? Especially now? Isn't a preacher supposed to get his strokes from God and not look to receive them from men? Well, I have a hunch that the enemy of God, the devil, has created an incredible climate of skepticism and cynicism toward those who represent God. Satan is constantly hurling feelings of unappreciation at the man who has poured his life into others.
So with all the negative press printed about preachers over this past year, I have decided to use the power of the press too, and press you to some positive action for your pastor. The need for action is a 2000-year-old problem—look at what Paul writes: "But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work" (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
I want to encourage you with is a list of ways on how to appreciate and esteem your pastor.
- Surprise him and his wife by taking them out to a nice place to eat. Talk with them about something other than your problems.
- Schedule a Sunday (well in advance) when the laymen take the Sunday services and give him a long weekend away with his wife (Friday 'til Monday)—arrange babysitters, too.
- Find out from his secretary what books or periodicals he's been wanting for his library; order a few and sneak them in after he's gone.
- Over lunch, ask him how many free evenings he has each week to be with his family. If it isn't enough considering the age of his children and the needs of his wife, engage in some straight talk about the pace he keeps.
- Perk him with a two-week study time at a seminary during early January or in the summer. No major corporation in existence spends less on the continued training, education, and care for their staff than does the church.
- Force him and his family to take a one-month authentic sabbatical at least once every 3 years. No ministry. No giving. Just pure fun with the family, refreshing time off to read and re-vitalize his relationship with Christ.
- Give him and his wife free sessions with a financial planning consultant, who will help him budget and anticipate college education for children and retirement.
- Write him a hand-written note of appreciation for who he is and how God has used him in your life. Be specific; avoid broad generalizations.
- Pray for him daily. Then call him and tell him you're doing just that and ask him for his prayer requests—pray for his wife, too.
- Offer to meet him at his house on his day off to help fix things around the place. Some ministers are all thumbs when it comes to working with their hands ... (like me). Others are too busy to take the time!
- Occasionally send him a clever cartoon or joke that mirrors a point he made in a sermon—just so he'll know that you're listening!
- Do a "This is Your Life" program at church one Sunday evening—don't roast him, but refuel his spirit with testimonies and a fun time. He'll be embarrassed, but that's okay! It is biblical to receive rewards on this side of eternity (see Mark 10:28-31).
- Find out what problem in the church that, if solved, would move the church forward in the coming year. Then, roll up your sleeves and offer to help the leadership solve it.
- Help him get some exercise by either meeting him 3 or 4 times a week at a health club or jogging with him in the morning.
- Clean his car while he's at the church office one day. (One of the pastors at our church even told me where he leaves his keys!)
- Call and express appreciation to the pastor who started you on your spiritual pilgrimage, or who helped you at a critical time in your life. Be specific about how he helped you.
- Let him know that you appreciate the load he carries: the pressure of caring for sheep, the pace of a growing ministry and the daily sacrifices he makes for ministry. Communicate that you understand he does more than just show up and preach.
- If you're an elder or deacon, then why not schedule annual job performance evaluations, walk through his year and express appreciation for a job well done. How about a bonus if he's really been effective ... and a raise! After all, just think how much a raise encourages you.
- Go to your pastor and ask him where you can assume a position of responsibility. As one pastor put it, "A position in the church where I can learn the fellowship of Christ's suffering—you only suffer for what you care about and you can only prove you care by taking responsibility" (See Philippians 3:10-11).
- And don't forget your pastor's wife. She makes many sacrifices too in giving up her husband to ministry opportunities. Send her notes of appreciation, flowers or a gift certificate. Express gratitude for the part she plays in the teamwork of pastoring your local church.
Why not take some time right now to consider how you can esteem your pastor? Then do it.
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