3 ways to encourage your pastor

Being intentional during Pastor Appreciation Month (and every day)

October 29, 2019

As the apostle Paul neared the end of his ministry, he faced great discouragement. According to 2 Timothy 4:9-18, Paul longed for Timothy, his “truth child in the faith,” to come to him soon because the majority of his other companions had either abandoned him (like Demas) or left for other ministry assignments. At this point, Luke the physician was the only person left, and Paul was in need of encouragement. 

While Paul’s discouragement did not reflect the Lord’s absence in his life and ministry (2 Tim. 4:17), it was still very real. In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul spoke candidly of the “daily pressure on him from his anxiety for all that churches,” which was in addition to the constant trials and threats on his life. The man who encountered the risen Christ on the road to Damascus dealt with the grief, frustration, heartbreak, and anxiety that all true ministers face. No minister, not even Paul, is exempt from discouragement. 

Obviously, discouragement in ministry is nothing new. All faithful servants encounter daily difficulties and trials, which many in the congregation do not understand or simply do not perceive to be real. The occasional office drop-in criticism, lack of participation, or general pettiness of a church member can quickly leave the strongest of ministers feeling depressed, isolated, and unappreciated by their congregation. Confusion and uncertainty about their calling as a minister can begin to slowly creep into their minds, causing them to feel more like an employee with dozens of bosses rather than an ordained servant of the risen Christ. When ministers feel this way, their churches suffer as well. According to Hebrews 13:17, ministers that are able to lead “with joy and not with groaning” because their congregation “obey and submit” to their leadership are a blessing to the church and pleasing to the Lord. 

Pastor Appreciation Month is simply an intentional time set aside by Christians all over the United States to come alongside their ministers, encourage them, and let them know that they are loved, wanted, and appreciated. If the Apostle Paul needed the encouragement of Timothy, then your ministers need encouragement as well. Don’t miss this opportunity to refresh their hearts in Christ by sacrificially demonstrating your appreciation for your church staff.

If the Apostle Paul needed the encouragement of Timothy, then your ministers need encouragement as well.

Here are three ways that churches can demonstrate appreciation for their church staff:

  1. Write a note: Pastoral ministry can be very isolating at times. A well-timed note of prayer from a church member can completely change a pastor’s week. Strive to be specific in your prayer for your pastoral ministry team, and let them know that you are praying for them.
  2. Meet a need: In addition to the stress of ministry, financial strain can become a dark cloud that hovers over many families in ministry. A thoughtful gift card to a pastor’s favorite restaurant so that he can enjoy a date night with his wife, an offer to watch the children, or a homemade meal can make a huge difference in the life of your pastoral ministry team.
  3. Be engaged: Finally, make it a point to be engaged and supportive of the ministry in your church. When your pastoral team is leading the church in a biblical direction, encourage them with your words and your presence. Come to the meetings. Voice your support. Promote unity. Invite others to church. 

As Pastor Appreciation Month draws to a close, my prayer is that Southern Baptist churches will make October a month to remember for its ministers. Happy, appreciated ministers are a blessing to a church. By resolving to be intentional in your appreciation, you are not only demonstrating the love of Christ to your ministers, but you are also promoting the health of the church of Jesus Christ (Heb. 13:17). If you do these types of things listed above, your pastors will be encouraged, and God will be glorified.

Casey B. Hough

Casey B. Hough is lead pastor at Copperfield Church in Houston, Texas, and a Ph.D. student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He also blogs regularly at Casey and his wife, Hannah, have three sons and two daughters.  Read More