Sunday, November 09, 2008

How to Support & Appreciate Your Pastoral Staff

This post is in response to a call from my buddy Rob. He listed several posts he would like to see from different people he knows and his request for me was "How to Best Support and Appreciate Your Pastoral Staff". In all fairness I must confess that he made this request a couple of weeks ago and I have been slow to respond. Why? For one, I knew he would call me out on it and I wanted to see what he would say. Two, I have been busy, how lame is that one? Three, it seems somewhat self-serving for me as a pastor to talk about how to appreciate me. Four, I am not sure I really know how to answer this one.

With all of those qualifiers I am sure that I have sufficiently lowered your expectations of this post, therefore I can now move forward.

I know it sounds like a cliche, but praying for your pastors is the best way you can support them. I mean to really pray for them, not just say it and think of it on Sundays, but to really pray for them regularly. Let them know that you are praying for them and even ask them if there are specific things that you can for in the coming week. Pray for their family relationships, their own spiritual condition, to be strong against temptation, to not get discouraged, to be wise, to have sufficient energy, pray for their family and for their times of study. When someone tells me they are praying for me it is encouraging, when they follow up later and ask how something they prayed for is going I am really pumped.

Allow them to talk about stuff other than church. Sometimes pastors just need to be regular people, they have other interests, hobbies, etc... They need to have some place and some people where they can be real. Find out what interests they have and encourage them to take time to pursue them. They will be more well rounded and healthier and you just might enjoy spending some time with them outside of church.

Remember that their families need them. Don' t make so many time demands on them that they cannot be what they need to be for their families. Allow them to be at their kids events even when they may be at odd times. Encourage them to spend time with their spouse and help make some provisions so that they can have some quality alone time.

Insist that they go to some quality training event, or events, every year. They need to challenge of these events and the connection with others who are in ministry. The change of pace is good and the training will benefit you and your church as well. Make sure that they are able to go without guilt about being away from the church.

Be sure that they take their days off and all their vacation time. I speak this from the experience of not doing that for too many years. There was always something pressing, something that I felt only I could do, I was wrong. But it helps to have lay people who check to see that the pastor takes time off. It shows that you notice and that you care for their long term well being. You would be amazed at how cared for your pastor will feel with someone who does this for them.

I am sure that I could go on, but I will let this suffice for now. There are of course special gifts, if they are connected to some of the above items they will be even more special. Also, if you give gifts that show you know them, their interests and needs they will be all the more special.

There you go Rob.


At 12:03 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Thanks...that's all great stuff! I agree with what you said...and seeing as you were the first pastor I took the time to get to know outside of the sanctuary, I can understand what you mean. Too often we expect our pastors to do and be everything to everyone, often at the sacrifice of their own families and relationships. I chose you because I imagined over the many years you've been in ministry, you've seen both ends of the spectrum. I'm sure there's been some things that truly were appreciated and touched you, and some you had to wonder "What were they thinking?!"

You and I both know how hard it can be to be in ministry, even as a lay leader. After my time in the barrel, I vowed that I would be more vocal and up front with the positive things I saw and face-to-face, one on one with things I didn't agree with. Thanks for sharing...and I'm looking forward to the draft this spring!! (I'm working on the song selection...Queen is so tired, don't ya think?....I'm leaning to "Baby's Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot.... ;^) )

Wow...this comment is way too long...but thanks for playing. Now, Nic is the tardy one in your family. Next time I tag you, it will be on why you insist on remaining a Cubbie after so much failure...


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