10 Ways To Encourage Your Minister Today

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Did you know that ministers and church leaders get discouraged?

You are the members of churches.  You are the ones that talk about the ministry with a sense of awe and appreciation.

They are the minister, pastors, clergy, and church leaders. They often feel discouraged and unappreciated.

appreciate pastor

Here is what they say:

Is this the ministry?  To be misunderstood, unappreciated, alone, and misquoted with no hope of correction?  This is a painful, lonely business. (David Fisher, 21st Century Pastor).

Often the overriding sensation ministers feel is loneliness. One pastor put it this way: “There are times when I feel alone in the church, with no apparent encouragement or support from the congregation. I’m the pastor and I’m supposed to keep everything going. The attitude seems to be You feed me; it’s your job, and I do not have to help you. I’m supposed to give, give, give — until finally there is nothing left.” (Kesler, J. (1988). Vol. 13: Being holy, being human : Dealing with the expectations of ministry. The Leadership library (31). Carol Stream, Ill.; Waco, Tex.: CTI; Word Books.)

In the 21st Century Pastor, David Fisher notes:

Focus on the Family study that claims that 70 percent of the pastors they surveyed wonder if they should remain in ministry.  … low self-esteem is the number-one problem pastors face.  Why?  We are in a high-demand, low-stroke profession in a culture that does not value our product or our work.  We labor among people with unrealistic expectations, and deep inside we [church ministers] expect far more from ourselves and the church.

Moreover, the book Leaders: Learning Leadership from Some of Christianity’s Best says:

The pastor is not precisely like any other leader — not CEO, not physician, not attorney, not social worker. The pastor rightly marches to a different drumbeat.  And that’s the challenge for pastors who lead. They cannot march lockstep with the methods of corporations and secular nonprofit organizations. No one outside the pastorate fully understands its own unique cadence.  (Myra, H. L. (1987). Vol. 12: Leaders : Learning leadership from some of Christianity’s best. “A Leadership/Word book.”. The Leadership library (183). Carol Stream, Ill.; Waco, Tex.: Christianity Today; Word Books.)

William Willimon in his book, Pastor, lists reasons why some pastors call it quits:

  1. The work of the church is never done.
  2. The church does not give us a clear picture of the expectations and tasks that we are to fulfill.
  3. The church is a haven and refuge for people in great need.
  4. People in ministry must function as a “persona” (term by Carl Jung indicating a mask).
  5. Pastors may be exhausted by failure.
  6. The church and its ministry are not valued by the surrounding culture.
  7. Serve in institutions that are declining.
  8. Much of the church and its ministry is a “head trip”.
  9. Poor time management wears down many in the church.
  10. Ministry is often a mess.
  11. Pastors and laity must be in general harmony.

So are you convinced that your minister or pastor might need a little extra encouragement?

10 Ways to Encourage Your Minister Today

  1. Buy a favorite book for them.  Most ministers have a geeky appreciation for strange theological books so ask another minister to suggest their favorite book.  Send a spy to see if it is already in the minister’s office.
  2. Write a positive and encouraging letter – make it personal and specific.  For example, I really appreciate the time when you ___ because ___.
  3. Encourage your church to review your minister’s pay package.
  4. Ask your minister, “What are two things we could be doing differently as a church to minister to you?”.
  5. Pray and let them know you are praying.
  6. Force the minister’s family to take a weekend away.
  7. Volunteer to watch the kids so husband and wife can have a night out.
  8. Don’t joke about their occupation.  There is nothing worse than giving your heart, body, and soul to a job and jokingly being told you only work one day a week.
  9. Encourage church leaders to attend seminars and conferences where they can be ministered to instead of doing the ministry.
  10. Send a gift card.

Photo by woodleywonderworks.

What do you do to encourage your minister?  Any more suggestions?


    • says

      I’d say that it doesn’t matter where you minister the emotions are the same. There are of course, different stress triggers, but the same fundamental struggles.

  1. says

    Great post, Craig. As a minister, I definitely identify with the causes of discouragement and greatly appreciate the genuine encouragement that comes my way.

    btw, did you happen to have Dr. Gupton’s Congregational Ministry class at HUGSR? I did, and that’s where I ran across David Fisher’s book. Great class.

    • says

      No I didn’t take Dr. Gupton’s class, but since moving to PNG I order books that current grad teachers are suggesting. I think it was actually on a list for an ACU class.

      Thanks for sharing a little bit from the side of the minister.

  2. says

    I needed to read this. I all too often take my minister for granted. One thing I do is pray for him regularly and tell him I am doing so. But this post raised my awareness level several notches. Great tips and very do-able. Thanks!

  3. says

    I’m going today to a credentialing interview and will likely start as a pastor in November. Thanks for sharing this, Craig! It helps me see what some of the dangers are in terms of burnout and will give me a resource I can share with others in the church – not just for helping me but also for our other pastors. I can see how I’ve not done the best job supporting pastors in my church, so I’ll be using this to improve as well.

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