Each year, I post on my personal site a list of possible ways to show your pastor gratitude during October (Pastor Appreciation month). Even with that list in mind, here are some things I would love to receive from members if I were pastoring again:
- Regular, intentional prayer. In our Church Answers’ Know Your Church report, our surveys over the years have indicated that many church members do not pray regularly for their pastors. We very much need and appreciate the prayers of God’s people, though.
- Sacrificial service. We call church members to serve God through the church, but it still remains the case that a few people do most of the work. Even one member who was to say to me, “Pastor, I’m stepping up to the plate to serve,” would make my day.
- Listening ears. Here, I’m thinking about the preaching event. I know it’s not always easy to pay attention (I struggle with it, too, when I’m listening), but it really is exciting when you sense from the pulpit that members are tuned in to the Word.
- Honest, helpful, face-to-face critique. My point with this request is simple: I don’t mind critique that helps me grow as a preacher and pastor; what I struggle with is critique that is uninformed, unkind, and sometimes unspoken (unspoken to me, that is, but not to others in the church). If you have concerns, give me the gift of speaking the truth in love.
- Global passion. The Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 demands that we make disciples of all the nations, yet 4 billion+ people still have little access to the gospel. Tell me (and show me) that the Lord has grabbed your heart for the nations, though, and I’ll rejoice. I want us to send our best to the nations.
- Humble patience. I’m not perfect—and neither is any other pastor I know. We all make mistakes, and we don’t always lead in the best way. To be honest, I still realize the need for more growth even at this stage of my ministry. Your ongoing patience, coupled with loving, godly critique when needed, is encouraging.
- Recorded testimonies. If you really want to bless me, record in 2-3 minutes the testimony of your conversion and send it to me. I don’t want to miss the stories of God’s work among the people He has placed in His local body.
- Evangelistic, outwardly-focused fervor. You may be aware of Church Answers’ The Hope Initiative—a simple strategy to turn a church outward a few people at a time. One of my joys is communicating with Hope Initiative pastors overwhelmed by the growing zeal of their members to reach their community. Our hearts leap when God’s people get the Great Commission vision.
Laypersons, which of these might you give to your pastor next month? Pastors, what would you add to this list?
Posted on September 26, 2023
Dr. Chuck Lawless is a leading expert in spiritual consultation, discipleship and mentoring. As a former pastor, he understands the challenges ministry presents and works with Church Answers to provide advice and counsel for church leaders.
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