Tag: lonely

10 Simple Ways to Encourage your Pastor

Truth: “Hey preacher man, good sermon!” is nice…but come on, we can do better than that, right?

We can do better than the shoulder squeeze with the solemn look in the eye. Better than the slow head nod of approval. Especially when we remember that our pastor spends hours each week pouring out their heart on stage, ministering to and in our communities, and shepherding hard-heads like us.

image credit: Creative Commons user ThisIsAGoodSign

The work of a pastor is often lonely, difficult work…we need your encouragement.

Encouragement isn’t that difficult, but it takes being intentional.

10 Ways to encourage your pastor:

1. Appreciate the work they do throughout the week, not just on Sunday. You know that being a pastor is more than a Sunday gig, right? We don’t love that you-only-work-one-day-a-week ribbing, by the way.

2. Take notes on Sunday. This is a great way to encourage your pastor…at least act like you’re going to work diligently to remember and apply their teaching.

3. Email them on Tuesday and let them know you’re still working through your notes from Sunday.

4. Deflect criticism on their behalf. Your pastor likely takes a lot of heat. Some may be deserved…much of it likely isn’t. Instead of joining in the criticism, stand up and show your pastor some love. Help others see the good side of your pastor.

5. Speak well of your local church. Your pastor takes great care and spends much effort to present and grow a beautiful local church. Speaking well of your church is a great way to encourage and honor the work your pastor’s done.

6. Serve. I don’t mean that you should necessarily bring your pastor dinner…you should serve others in your local church. This is unbelievably encouraging! Your pastor’s desire is not to be the only one who does ministry.

7. Pray for them. Often.

8. Speak well of their spouse. A pastor’s spouse is married to the ministry. They often do ministry themselves, and end up carrying the burden of their spouse as they lead. It’s a tough spot to be in. Speaking well of your pastor’s spouse helps your pastor feel like you’ve got their back.

9. Start consistently feeding them fresh preaching points every day. By email. And phone calls. And text messages. And Facebook wall posts.

10. Give generously. This is a fruit of faithful, biblical preaching…people growing up in their faith to the point where they’re generous with their financial resources. Give to your local church, yes. But give generously to others. “Don’t let your left hand know what your right is doing.” – Matthew 6:3

Not sure where to start? Pick one for this upcoming week, and bless your pastor. Your local church will be better because of your small investment.

image credit: Creative Commons user ThisIsAGoodSign

 

10 Personal Observations I learned through preaching

I had the chance to preach at Grace this Sunday.  It was a great experience communicating with my church family.

image via Flickr’s NotAshamed

And I learned a few things about myself through the preparation and delivery of this sermon as I reflected on it.  Things that seemed more tangible than other time I’d preached.  See if there are some here you’ve experienced if you’ve ever preached.

10 Personal Observations I learned through preaching

 

1. Preaching causes me to pray more.

I was on my knees more this past week than I have been in a long time.  I needed a fresh word from God, fresh insights, and a message that was True.

2. Preaching causes me to study more.

I can’t just pull a message out of thin air.  I have to study the Scriptures a lot in order to prepare a message.  It was a rich time for me.

3. Preaching humbles me.

a) Knowing I’m preaching the Scriptures and people are learning them through that preaching…that’s both humbling and intimidating.

b) Knowing I’m being prayed for…that’s humbling, too.  I can’t tell you how many people I heard from directly offering an encouraging word of prayer.  It was powerful.

4. Preaching causes me to worship more deeply.

I felt a deeper dependence on God than on normal weeks, and I consequently felt a deeper level of worship.

5. Preaching causes me to be more aware of God’s presence

As I was working to craft my message, I was processing it throughout my days.  As I went about my normal activities, I felt more aware of God’s presence as I was consistently ruminating over deep truths.

6. Preaching stretches me.

I’m used to writing blogs and articles.  A blog is typically less than a page of typed notes.  An article is 2-3.  I had 10 pages of single-spaced, typed notes, for my 30 minute sermon.

7. Preaching refines my thoughts.

I’m an external thinker.  Which means that, in order for me to make sense of my thoughts, I need to express them externally.  Typically, that clarity for me comes through writing.  Preaching is another way that I externalize, and refine, my thoughts.

8. Preaching gets me fired up.

The more I meditate on the Scriptures, and what I’ll be communicating, the more I get fired up about sharing the Truth.  I was pumped, not nervous, when I came out on stage.

9. Preaching reminds me that pastors can be lonely people.

The role of a pastor can be lonely.  I studied by myself, prepared the message by myself, and delivered the message by myself, alone on stage.  Afterwards, I criticized myself for things I should’ve done differently.  A pastor may be in the spotlight, but there has been a lot of alone time leading up to that sermon.

10. Preaching drains me.

Preaching takes a lot of energy, because not only are you spending extra time during the week preparing, you’re also pouring your heart and soul into speaking.  I put a lot of emotion…not banging the pulpit though, mind you…into my preaching.  I was exhausted last night.

Have you ever preached?

Do any of these observations resonate with your experience?

 

 

 

Mostly Forgotten

I go to your church, but you don’t know my name.

I sit in the back.

I slip out early.

I’m there every week…almost.

I try to follow God, but I’m not perfect.

You give me a smile and a handshake, but you don’t know my story.

You don’t know what I do for a living.

You don’t know my passions.

My struggles.

My plans or goals.

My past failures.

You’re happy I’m at church…you tell me every time I come.

But you never follow up throughout the week.

With an email or a phone call.

I’m not in a small group.

I’m haven’t been on a mission trip.

I’m not serving others.

I’m not on your radar.

Or your potential leaders lists.

But God’s gifted me.

And those gifts were meant to bless others.

Including you.

Our church needs my gifts.

And I need to use them.

But I need you.

I need your encouragement.

I need you to believe in me.

To breathe hope into my life.

Show me that I matter.

That God cares.

That I have a part to play.

That my story matters.

But until then…

I’m mostly forgotten.

 

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