Tuesday, March 8, 2016

How to Encourage Your Pastor
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Every pastor needs encouragement. The man in ministry who faithfully invests himself in the study of God’s Word, in the counsel of God’s people, in the shepherding of his family, and the diligent-examination of his own heart is a man desperately in need of encouragement. When David ran for his life from Saul, Jonathan came to David and, at one point, encouraged him in the Lord. What a marvelous example for all of us to follow! Let us go to one another and encourage them in the Lord. But how, practically, can you encourage your local pastor-shepherd(s)?

1. Live out the Word
The first way that you can encourage your pastor consists of the simple truth of heeding what you’ve heard, doing what’s been declared, practicing what’s been preached. The servant of Christ who has preached the truth of God from the pulpit has worked hard in his study and in his proclamation. So it should be with every hearer. Every hearer should work hard at listening to the Word and in the diligent application of the Word. So, live out the Word and by you intentionally, deliberately, carefully doing this, you will encourage your pastor.

2. Pray daily for him
The second way that you can encourage your pastor is to intercede on his behalf and to bear him before the majestic Throne of grace regularly. As he meets with God in prayer, bible study, Bible-interpretation, exegesis, and sermonic work, he desperately needs illumination. Your pastor covets your prayers. He needs your intercession. Pray for faithfulness in his study and proclamation. Pray for purity in his own heart and mind. Pray for a fervent and singular love for his wife and her alone. Pray for faithful pastoring of his own ‘little flock’ in the home. Pray for his heart to be warmed by the tender love of Christ and the awesome communion with the Spirit!

3. Write a note of thanks
The third way that you can encourage your pastor may include writing a periodic note of thanks to him. And the more specific you can be, the better. That sermon that was preached at that time that covered that topic which convicted you of that sin which led you to implement change in that particular way is what you may choose to include in that note. This will encourage him beyond words. Seldom to pastors receive these notes. But, in the awesome and timely providence of God, He usually brings those encouragements to shepherds at just the right time. Perhaps God will stir you up to write him a note of thanks that will bless his soul, encourage him when he’s low in weakness that particular week, or full of sorrow because of a sinning churchmember. Lift him up! Bear him up! Bless his soul. A simple note can be used in tremendous ways!

4. Serve his wife & family tangibly
A fourth way that you can encourage your pastor is to creatively think of ways to serve his family. You may not think that serving his family serves your pastor but it does. He and his wife are a team in the ministry. They are joyful together and they mourn together. She helps him, encourages him, supports him, comforts him, and holds him in hard and trying times. Bless her and the children. Perhaps it’s coming over and cleaning the house. Perhaps it’s watching the children in the home for a few hours so the mother can get out and go grocery shopping, or go read her Bible somewhere without distraction, or perhaps it is to provide a date-night (once a week for a month), or better yet, gathering folks from the church to help provide date nights for the pastor and his wife regularly throughout the calendar year. Think of how you can encourage both your minister and his wife. She is the unseen blessing. She labors at home so he can labor in the pulpit. She labors in private so he can labor in public. They are a team -- working together in harmony and tirelessly. Find ways and think of ways to bless the family.

5. Intentionally focus conversations after sermons
A fifth way that you can encourage your pastor is to engage in good conversations at church especially, but even throughout the week with God’s people. Think about it, in faithful preaching: God has spoken! God has addressed His people through His mouthpiece, your pastor. This is no lightweight responsibility. We have heard from God Himself! The mouth may be that of your minister but the voice is God’s! So encourage your pastor by taking God’s truth, or a principle from the sermon, or a thought-provoking, heart-searching question and engage in faithful, Christ-exalting, sermon-applying conversations. Perhaps you approach the person sitting alone, or the visitor, or that quiet couple, or the lady sitting by herself who looks dejected, or the man who is a bit odd in personality and you engage them in good conversations. Perhaps you ask: how did God show you Himself in that sermon and in that text? Or, how did the Spirit convict you of your sin in that sermon? Or, where do you need to change in light of the truth just preached? Or, in light of what we just heard, provide for me one specific way I can pray for you right now and throughout the upcoming week. Be creative. Be thoughtful. Ask good, thoughtful, intentional questions.

6. Share what you learn with him
A sixth way that you can encourage your pastor is to follow Paul’s guidance in Galatians 6 and share all good things with those who teach you. Your pastor labors hard in the study. So share with him if you benefit from that laborious work! If God shows you a facet of His character in a message, share that with your minister. The more specific you can be, the better! The more thoughtful and heartfelt you can be in what you share, the better. If you learn something about Christ and the gospel-work that He accomplished at Calvary, share that with your shepherd! If you were studying the Word throughout the week and God blessed your soul with something specific from the Word, bless your pastor by sharing that truth with him. Perhaps it’s a hand-written note, or an email, or a text, or even a meeting with him for coffee just for the purpose of encouraging him in what you’re learning through God’s Word as he faithfully exposits the Scriptures. Be careful, however, that you don’t bombard your shepherd on Sunday one minute before he gets up to preach. His mind is focused and he has that terribly awesome conflicted feeling of excitement to preach and fear of speaking for the living God. Be thoughtful in when you approach him. But don’t let that stop you. Encourage him. Approach him. Bless him. Share specifically with him what you learn from him as God uses him as His spokesman to deliver the unspeakable riches of Christ! May God use you to encourage your pastor in this way.


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