Ten Things Pastors Would Love to Hear from Their Church Members

It is a simple question.

What do you hear from your church members that gives you the greatest encouragement?

The responses from the pastors were amazingly similar. In fact, I was able to focus on ten specific areas. Here are summary statements of those areas.

  1. “I pray for you every day.” This statement was the most frequent. Read it carefully. It’s not just prayer; it’s daily prayer. The pastor understands ministry is spiritual warfare. The pastor understands prayer is one of the greatest weapons in the warfare.
  2. “I want to help your family any way I can.” Most pastors are stressed and stretched. So are their families. When a church member offers to support and help the family, the pastor feels like shouting for joy.
  3. “I want you to know specifically how God spoke to me through your sermon.” The key word here is “specifically.” It’s not a lot of encouragement if a church member says perfunctorily “good sermon.” Let the pastor know the specific meaning and application to you from the sermon.
  4. “I am ready and willing to take on that ministry task.” Pastors take great joy when a church member understands that ministry is to be done by the members, that the pastor is not the hired hand to do it all.
  5. “I see my role as an encourager.” Pastors need numbers of people who will take on the Barnabas role. The critics will always be there.
  6. “I see my role as one who will confront the bullies and the perpetual critics in the church.” I have heard from countless pastors that it’s not the critics who bother them as much as the “friends” who will not speak up and to the critics and church bullies.
  7. “I will make certain your family has an adequate income.” One of the great stressors on pastors is financial worry. It is such a relief and joy when a church member takes the role of financial advocate for the pastor.
  8. “I am available to babysit your kids.” Pastors with young kids relish a husband-wife date night. Many of them are unable to go out because they can’t find or afford babysitters.
  9. “I will be in church with no excuses unless providentially hindered.” Pastors hear plenty of excuses. It is a refreshing change for them to hear from a no-excuse church member.
  10. “I will never compare you to a previous pastor.” Yep, pastors cringe when they hear, “Pastor Bill used to do it this way.” Let your pastors know they have their own identity, and that previous pastors are not a scorecard against which they are measured.

I would love to hear from church members, church staff, and pastors how they could add to this list.

In my Wednesday post, I will share “Ten Things Church Members Would Love to Hear from Their Pastors.”

I look forward to our discussion.

Posted on August 8, 2016

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • Victor Coopet says on

    Number 4 is at the top of my list!

  • Please tell me what to say to the pastor who consistently refuses when help is offered, even with simple tasks like coming early to turn the lights on. And it doesn’t matter who is offering. What’s going on here?

  • “Pastor, I’m meeting regularly with a friend to disciple him/her. Can you recommend…” OR “Pastor, if you ever have a new believer who needs someone to disciple them, let me know. I’d be happy to help.” (As long as it’s a person whose life is worth emulating.)

  • Beth Pyles says on

    “Yes, Pastor, I’ll be glad to get rid of that mouse while you’re on vacation.” Actually said, actually done, this past week and I’ve got the photographic evidence to prove it! Acts of love, just all those acts of love.

  • “Pastor, I was reading my Bible and I had a quick question….”

  • Yes sir! As a Senior Pastor I would love to hear any of those. But also as a senior pastor, I read those 10 points, nod my head in agreement, but then the reality hits that most of (probably none of) my congregation will ever read that list of 10 things. Unfortunately, they aren’t frequenting blogs like this, but instead are watching youtube videos, or trying to catch all the pokemon, or reading the tabloid news on yahoo… a few might actually dig into pintrest to find a religious quote, or repost a religious sounding quote on Facebook…
    Going on 17 years in the ministry and I think I’ve only heard one or two of those things said in honesty during that time. What’s a pastor to do?

  • Elizabeth says on

    I am so grateful for this article! I will share it with my ladies–we meet on Mondays for Bible Study and we do something called, “The Envelope of Encouragement”. I have a pad of paper out and a manila envelope. We write how the Lord used our pastor the previous week — particularly through his sermon and give him the envelope. He doesn’t need to respond to us, the point is, we really want him to be encouraged that the Lord does use his ministry and we are very grateful.
    This article is a great way for me to let them know other things they might mention if they are at a loss for words. Thank you so much, Mr. Rainer.

  • David Miller says on

    This is a good list. But I was shocked that none of the ten had to do with evangelism. — Don’t you think every pastor would be encouraged to hear his people say, “Pastor, I just shared Christ with someone!!” Or “Pastor, this week I led my friend to the Lord.”

  • Number 8 would have meant the most to me. I moved around to places where my nearest family was 3 1/2 hours away, and we were totally at the mercy of the church folks accepting our family and their willingness to treat us like family. Sadly, I only had that 3 1/2 years of my 10 years in full-time ministry.

  • As a former Sr. Pastor, I compare serving the church, using a Biblical comparison, as serving the Bride of Christ. Like most marriages, the encouragement, helpfulness, volunteers, even prayer are all there early in the marriage. But time “can” take a toll. Pastors become taken for granted and even love becomes more that of tolerance. I say “can”, because like being married, the relationship needs effort and lots of prayer. Through the grace of God, my wife and I will celebrate our 50th this year. I often asked: Did you pray for your church this week..for your Pastor..those on the prayer list..specifically for this service asking God to move in the service and use this Pastor to bring forth the Word He has for us..and prayed for your heart to receive His blessing? It turned the responsibility on the congregation more than on my message. I entered the ministry late (age 50) and loved preaching(really more teaching), and being a shepherd/servant to the church. I miss it and miss God.

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