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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  • “Pastor, I have started reading 3 chapters in my Bible every day.”

  • Tim Hayes says on

    Thom, would you be willing to do a blog on the things a pastor should do when first assuming a church? I just received a call to a new pastorate and would love to hear from your practical mind what the first things I should do upon coming in. I’m thinking particularly from a recent podcast where you said the first thing you would do when assuming the pastorate is get in contact with community leaders. I’d love to hear more of some of the first things you would do walking into a new pastorate.


  • #2 for sure… But mean it. Don’t get frustrated/irritated if the pastor takes you up on that offer.

  • Cheryl C. says on

    My pastor agrees on some of the points above in the article. Especially the one- where I will be at church with no excuse etc. He also agrees on he would appreciate-pray for him and his family and also not being compared to a previous pastor. I think is a great article. It’s lets us know how other pastors feel.

  • #11 – I will post to Facebook this list without my pastor’s knowledge or at his request.

    Thanks to one who did just this! ????

  • Linda Chapman says on

    I will continue to welcome and talk to every new member.

    I will try to be a good listener to members and share joys and sorrows with you if they are willing.

  • Tony Watson says on

    Right on the mark, brother! If people would embrace the fact that the results are most often better after encouragement, there would be less tension in churches.

  • As a denominational executive, I appreciate hearing many of these as well. After all, there is a sense in which I am a pastor to pastors. Perhaps a subject for a future post would be the top ten things Ministry Leaders Love to hear from their Local Pastors. Thom, if I had wrote this blog, number 10 might have been moved to the top of the list. This happens in ministry leadership too often, regardless of the position. I’m about ready to label such comparison as a cardinal and grievous sin. It’s too bad that we all feel the need to compare one another’s various giftings.

  • Phil Hoover says on

    I make it a point to always remember something that was said in a recent sermon…and I often tell the pastor how it encouraged me, edified me, or reminded me…

    Pastors have enough critics–usually in their own mind–and they don’t need one sitting in the pew.

    HOWEVER, a confidante in the congregation (that is not a family member, or in a position of authority) who can “shoot straight” with the pastor, is a real gift indeed. I’ve been that “confidante” before, and everything that was discussed remains exactly that: confidential.

  • I would love to hear, “From now on, deacons’ meetings are going to be focused on ministry instead of “maintenance.”

  • As pastors, my husband and I love to hear these words, most often expressed through actions: “Since my reason for being here is to serve others and not my own interests, I am here for the long haul.”
    (And “serve others” can mean something as simple but vitally important as reaching across the aisle to a visiter and welcoming them. That is huge.)

  • Eric Price says on

    Regarding #7: A few months back, the elders at my church presented the proposed annual budget to the congregation and asked invited comments/questions. The only criticism of the budget was that the pastor’s salary was too low and he deserved to be paid more! It made me very happy to know the pastor is so well cared for by the congregation.

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