Six Ideas to Help Your Pastor

Pastoring is a unique calling and unlike other vocations. While some glimpse into the minister’s life, many don’t fully appreciate the complexity. Recently I transitioned to a new ministry. It’s been a God thing since day one, an incredible ride. This post isn’t necessarily a reflection of my current context. It is however a reflection of having worked with hundreds of pastors during times of transition in ministry since the late 1990s. I think there’s stuff we’d like people to know, but hesitant to share. So, if you’ve ever wondered how you can help your pastor, here are a couple of suggestions. No matter your church home or geography, these work well in most settings. So here’s my list of six ideas to help your pastor.

Give time to create. This is the time to dream, vision, and seek. It’s time to listen, grow, think, ponder, contemplate, and meditate. A pastor desperately needs time to dream, vision, and create. We need time to hear from God and His leadership. Too often we’re caught up in the details of ministry – meetings, appointments, emails, calls, and obligations. While this stuff of ministry is important, nothing can substitute for creative time. Without these extended moments, we become stayed, complacent, stale, and bored. Give your pastor time to create!

Give space to unwind. We all need time and space to unwind. While personality often drives how one refuels, allow your pastor sufficient time to refuel from the often exhausting demands of ministry. While ministry is a calling and we’ll run until the tank is empty, we need time to refuel. Rest and renewal are essential in our role. An effective shepherd is a fueled shepherd. Give your pastor down time – encourage it and even require it.

Give effort to connect. Every pastor needs a friend(s). We need people conversation, laughter, adventure, to be known, and to know. While the pastor may know a lot of people, he or she is rarely known. We can’t be best friends with everyone, but we really need a few good friends. While we need friendships with fellow ministers, we especially need friends that are a part of the church.

Give a lot of breaks. Every pastor needs a break. I’m not talking about a vacation (even though important), but about some free passes from time to time. Churches are diverse organizations including their expectations. We only have so many hours in the day to accomplish a mile-long list. Chances are your pastor won’t live up to all of your expectations. Well, I’m pretty certain we won’t. We’re not going to get to everything and everyone even though we’ll try. Ease up on the expectations and extend grace. We’re busy, sometimes late, always on-call, and periodically forget. That’s our reminder that we’re only human and could really use a break.

Give way to change. With every leader comes a dream – a vision planted upon the heart. It’s a drive and a consuming passion. Help your pastor process and create meaningful, significant, and timely change. Heritage is to celebrated, history is to be outlived. Allow your past to shape you, don’t let it define you. We’re to make an impact on this generation and the generations to come. Change is rarely easy, but it is essential for transformation.

Give support in prayer. Every pastor needs prayer for this is a spiritual work. We’re facing a spiritual battle day in and day out. We need people praying for protection, wisdom, strength, and focus. Please pray for the pastor’s family too. I can’t overemphasize the importance of prayer for your pastor. Pray for him or her often throughout the week. Pray daily for your pastor. Believe it or not, we know when we’ve been prayed for by the church family.

5 thoughts on “Six Ideas to Help Your Pastor

  1. Darlene P.

    I hope these thoughts were shared with our leadership (and not just on your blog), Brad. I agree with the needs. In order to help us, the congregation/leadership/staff understand this, it needs to be communicated and PLANNED. When it’s being done and we are unaware, problems arise…all we’ll see is the withdrawal or absence of a pastor. Even Jesus had to get away to focus on the Father…so, of course, you need it, too!

  2. Janet Thompson

    Great thoughts. Dr. Tuck had some similar suggestions for us before you came. Thanks for reiterating them.

  3. alison shay

    Thanks Brad for sharing these insights. As a member of the congregation I find myself conflicted about how to support you as our pastor without encroaching on your time or family. Not until I was able to have a more personal relationship with a pastor did I realize that you all are human too. I appreciate your genuine authenticity and your fresh, speak from the heart approach to ministry. I will keep praying for you and your family and thank God daily that you were lead to Cool Spring.

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