We Are All In This Together: How to Encourage and Advise Your Pastor
If Christians desire to radically transform their communities, it is essential that they be connected to a vibrant, thriving church. And a church community will only thrive when there is a healthy relationship between the congregation and its pastor. This means that a congregation must be mindful to encourage, challenge, and advise its pastor with grace and humility. As a pastor's daughter, I have seen the consequences of both graceful encouragement and hurtful criticism. Graceful, humble encouragement can both help pastors grow in their ministry, and strengthen their relationship with church members. On the other hand, hurtful criticism stifles relationships and poisons an otherwise vibrant church body. If you desire to have a strong relationship with your pastor and see your church grow, consider some of the following ideas.
The Power of Encouragement
In a society that openly and proudly rejects Christianity, discouragement is an ever-present reality for pastors. By simply expressing your appreciation for their hard work and spiritual guidance, you can have a profound impact on them.
There are three specific ways you can encourage your pastor as he ministers to you:
1. Affirm what he does. Simple words of affirmation can go a long way. Was his sermon especially impactful? Tell him. Did he minister to you in a special way? Let him know.
2. Serve your pastor in practical ways. October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Take a few moments to write him a card, thanking him for faithfully leading your church, and include a gift card so he can take his family out for dinner. Small acts of kindness will have a huge impact.
3. Pray for your pastor regularly. Ministry is difficult for pastors and their families. Let them know that you are praying for them and ask if there is anything specific you can be praying for.
Respectfully Advising Your Pastor
Like all leaders, pastors are not infallible. They make mistakes and will not always lead exactly how you would like. Constructive feedback can help them to grow and improve. Just remember to always approach your pastor with love, humility, and sensitivity. The goal is not to tear him down but rather, to build him up. To ensure you are advising your pastor respectfully, consider the following four questions:
1. Are you listening more than you are speaking? Most pastors make decisions for a reason. As you approach them to offer counsel or seek clarification, be sure to listen to their side of the story and show a genuine interest in seeking to understand the situation from their point of view.
2. Do you have all the information? If you don’t agree with or understand a decision your pastor made, consider that your pastor might have information that you lack. Always be open to a change of heart.
3. Are you supportive or combative? If you desire to have your pastor’s ear, it is best to develop a reputation for being supportive rather than judgmental and brash. They are less likely to hear you or take your advice if they feel attacked or backed into a corner.
4. Are you willing to back them up if they choose to act per your request? It is easy to offer advice. And sometimes offering your pastor advice is necessary and warranted. Just remember that if you ask your pastor to take a stand, you must be willing to stand with him. Make sure he feels supported.
Remember—whether you are encouraging or advising—the key is to build a culture of trust, open communication, and mutual respect within the church, allowing everyone to grow together in their faith journey. The goal should be to stand with your pastor, encouraging and supporting him through both good and troubling times. That’s how to build strong churches that transform communities.
My Faith Votes—is a nonpartisan movement that motivates, equips and activates Christians in America to vote in every election, transforming our communities and influencing our nation with biblical truth. By partnering with national faith leaders, My Faith Votes provides resources to help Christians Pray, Think, and Act to create an America where God is honored in the public square.